Friday, 30 September 2011

Rich Cherry Cake

The year when I got married and came to live here my Mother in Law gave me this Cooking Book from Good House keeping as a present, well she went to one of her shopping trips to London with her girlfriends ( they used to do that a lot, go for shopping weekends to a European City) and then as it was really difficult to get English cooking books in our town she saw this book and bought for me.
The baking section in this book is my favourite as it is full of traditional Brittish baking recipes which I love.
And this is one of the cakes I made in the begning of my baking.
And i am really surprised that I have not posted this one as I make this cake often .
When ever I make this cake Hans always says she is making Mrs Lipton's cake :-) Don't know if you all are fan of You Rang M' Lord we used to love each and every episode and every time when they show the show again we watch it,  and there was this cook who always made cherry cakes and her name was Mrs Lipton :-)
What i learned from this recipe is the best tip for not sinking the fruits to the bottom.
You wash them in warm water ( in the recipe they say water but i use warm water) and you drain them. I usually do this in the morning if I am planing to bake in the late afternoon. So that the fruits are fully dry and then I don't have to use kitchen paper towels as i think when the fruits are still wet and you drey them in a towel they stick to the paper.

Now to the recipe.
225 gm glaced Cherries halved ( recipe say 225, but i always use 250 the extra i just layer them on top)
150 gm selfraising flour
50 gm plain flour
3 tbsp of almond powder
3 tbsp of corn flour
175 gm butter softened
175 gm sugar ( I just add 120 gm)
3 eggs beaten
6 suagar cubes

Grease and line an 18 cm (7inch) round cake tin.
Wash the cherries and dry throughly
Sift the flours and corn flours together.
Stir in the ground almonds and cherries.
Cream the butter and sugar untill pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the dry ingridients.
Turn the mixture into the prepared tin, making sure the cherries are not grouped together, and hollow the center slightly.
Roughly crush the sugar cubes with a rolling pin and scatter these over the cakes.
Bake in the preheated ovenat 180°C (350 ° F) mark for 1 - 1 1/2  hours, untill well risen and golden brown. Mostly mine take lesser than the time mentioned ( i have given the recipe from the book) if the top gets too brown i cover with foil so that it won't get tpp dark)
Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings

I have been lazy to write new post , edit pictures etc for the last days.
I have been thinking for few days , this is how it goesin my head
Inside my Head : Should edit the picture
Me : No too lazy
Inside my Head : Should start writting a post
Me : Too lazy
And yesterday while Skyping to my sis, she asks how come there is no new post in your place....
and this goes one for few days untill me give in and here I am sitting thinking what to write.
Ok now to what is happening here at home, Shyama is gone back to College after three months of holiday, not that I should moan tha she is not home as I am lucky that she will come home every weekend.
And this is her second year so not that much worry as she knows the place , shops, and have a good bunch of friends in her place so in a way I really should not moan.
Now to the recipe when I make this chicken wings, everybody loves it, it gets finished so fast that these days when I make them I make a bigger bunch.

500 gm Chicken Wings ( i always remove the skin as none of us like the skin)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp light soyasauce ( I didn't had so i used dark)
3 tbsp cornflour mixed with a bit of water.
Few tbsp of corn flour
4 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soya sauce
3 tbsp tomato Ketchup
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp garic finley chopped
1 tsp ginger finley chopped
Couple of sprin oions finley chopped
3 to 4 chillie pepers sliced
1 tsp seasame oil.
Oil for deep frying

Wings are fried crispy

Sauting the onions etc...

Add the sweet and sour sauce

Marintat the chicken wings with light soysauce with 1/2 tsp salt for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes mix the wings with the cornflour water mix. Then just roll each chicken wings in corn flour.
Heat the oil in a wok and deep fry the chicken wings in batche till tehy are golden brwon and fried.
It will take almost 8 minutes to fry each batch. Unless if you have a hugs wok and you can fry them once unlike me.

Now while they are frying, make the Sweet and sour sauce.
Heat the vinegar in a medium fire in a pan add the sugar and stir , add the rest of the soya sauce and tomato ketchup and mix well.
Heat in a another wok 1 tbsp of oil, add the onions, gigner, garlic and whillies? And fry tem for few minutes.
Add the sweet and sour sauce if it is too watery just add a bit of corn flour mixed with water to make it a it thick.
When the sauce begins to buble up add the fried chicken wings and mix every thing well, just make sure each wings are coated with teh sauce. Lastly add the seasame oil and serve hot.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Cherry Clafouti

Yesterday while I was busy in the kitchen, I was saying loud , that it is ages ago I baked something sweet anf I heard someone ( hubby) loudly saying from the living, thank god for that.
Yeah he is more a savoury fellow that a sweet fellow, well foodwise ;-)

So I thought I will post this Cherry Clafouti which I made 2 months back and forgot to post .
This is one sweet hubby loved as it is not that sweet and I served with whipped cream which he loves.
Clafoutis, sometimes in Anglophone countries spelled clafouti, is a baked French dessert of black cherries arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. The clafoutis is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm.

A traditional Limousin clafoutis contains pits of the cherries. According to baking purists, the pits release a wonderful flavor when the dish is cooked. If the cherry pits are removed prior to baking, the clafoutis will be milder in flavor.
Info thanks to Wiki

The Original recipe I got from here

1 pound fresh Bing cherries, pitted
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar ( I added less sugar)
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Kirsch (cherry brandy) or Amaretto
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


In a small bowl, toss the pitted cherries with 2 teaspoons of the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the Kirsch. Set aside.

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest shelf and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round Pyrex baking dish.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the butter in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, cream the mixture until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and egg, 1 at a time, at 1-minute intervals, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low. Blend in the almond extract and the remaining 1/4 cup kirsch. The mixture will look curdled.

Mix the flour and ground cloves and add all at once, scraping the sides of the bowl again. Increase the speed to medium low and mix until the batter is smooth, approximately 30 seconds longer. Take care not to overmix. The batter will have the consistency of thick cream.

Place three-quarters of the cherries and their juices in the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the batter over the fruit. Arrange the remaining fruit on top.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and puffed, and a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Cool in the baking dish on a rack. Serve warm with whipped cream.
I made them in individual pans.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Nasi Goreng

One TV Cook I love is Rick Stein. I have watched all his food programmes and I love that he is so passionate about the food he makes and the new food he tries in his trips when he make is TV programmes.
Unlike some TV Cooks he really take good mouth full of food and eat before he says if it is nice or not, I dislike those tv cook who just take a tsp of food they make and then say hmmmmmmmmmm Delicious.
And I am like did he /she tasted what they made.

To be honest I have watched his cooking programme Far Eastern Odyssey ( first shown in BBC) a couple of times, every time they show in a channel I watch and each time I love it.
And as you can see in his show, when the locals are making a certain dish he has this tiny note book and he will be noting all the ingridients they are adding so I know this will be nearly authentic as the original food is.
Another recipe I trried from the same book is Thai Yellow Curry with Shrimps

Nasi goreng, literally meaning "fried rice" in Indonesian, can refer simply to fried pre-cooked rice, a meal including stir fried rice in small amount of cooking oil or margarine, typically spiced with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), shallot, garlic, tamarind and chilli and accompanied with other ingredients, particularly egg, chicken and prawns. There is also another kind of nasi goreng which is made with ikan asin (salted dried fish) which is also popular across the country.
Nasi goreng is considered the national dish of Indonesia.
There are many Indonesian cuisines but few national dishes. Indonesia's national dish knows no social barriers. It can be enjoyed in its simplest manifestation from a tin plate at a roadside warung, travelling night hawker's cart; eaten on porcelain in restaurants, or constructed at the buffet tables of Jakarta dinner parties.
In 2011 an online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International chose Nasi Goreng as the number two of their 'World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods' list after rendang.
Source thanks to Wiki

For the Indonesian stir-fried rice

300 gme long grain rice ( I used basmati rice)
100 gm fine green beans, cut into 2.5 cm piece ( I didn't use it as i didn't have them at home )
2 tbsp vegetable oil
125 gm skinned and bonless chicken, cut into small bit size pieces
125 gme large raw peeled prawns.
200 gm shallots thinly sliced.
20 gm garlic finley chopped
2 medium hot red chillies seeded and finley chopped ( I didn't deseed the chillies)
1 red bird's eye red chillies sliced
1 mediul carrot thinly sliced
3/4 quantity of Balinese Spice paste ( see below)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp Kecap manis
1 tbsp light soy sauce
8 spring onions chopped
To serve
2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 large free-range eggs
¼ cucumber, sliced
2 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced
ready-made prawn crackers
spiced pickles
Crispy fried shallots ( I used stor bought one)

For the Balinese spice paste (Base gede)
You only need 3/4 of the below paste, I freeze the rest of the paste and use it when I make grilled chicken.

¾ tsp black peppercorns
¼ nutmeg, freshly grated
25 gmcandle nuts, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts or roasted peanuts
1 tsp sesame seeds
60g shallots, peeled, roughly chopped
25 gm fresh root ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
40 gm galangal (or extra ginger), peeled, roughly chopped ( try to get this as the flavour is totally different)
15g fresh turmeric, peeled, or 1 tsp ground turmeric
3 fat lemongrass stalks, hard outer leaves removed, core chopped
20 gm garlic
2 medium-hot red chilli, seeds removed, roughly chopped
3 red bird's-eye chillies, roughly chopped
1 tsp shrimp paste ( I didn't use)
1tbsp palm sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lime, juice only

For the Balinese spice paste, grind the peppercorns, nutmeg, nuts and sesame seeds to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, then add the remaining Balinese spice paste ingredients and blend to a very smooth paste.

Cook the rice according and let it cool.

Drop the beans into a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, refresh inder cold water and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok. When it is really hot add the chicken and prawns and stir fry for 1 minute. ( I then take out the shrimps as I dodn't want it over cooked and I add them in the end) but you don't have to you can just leave in the wok together with teh chicken.
Add the shallots, garlic, chillies and carrots and stir fry for a futher 2 minutes untill the carrots is just tender.
Add the 3/4 of the Balinese pasteand stir fry for futher few minutes.
Add the tomaot puree, kecap manis, cooked rice and green beans and stir fry over a hugh heat for 2 minutes.
Add the Spice paste and spring onions and toss together.
Femove from the heat and keep hot.

Heat the oil in a large frying  pan, crack in the eggs and fry for a couple of minutes, spooning hot oil over the yolks as they cook.
Spoon the Nasi goren onto the plated and top each one with fried egg.
Over lap the cucumber and tomato to the side of each plate.
Sprinkle the crisp fried shallots over the eggs and fried rice and serve with prawn crackers and achar pickles.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

There are some blog s you visit once and then you would be there for hours and hours looking to all the delicious recipes and pictures and then you realize that you go to that blog so many times.
The blog Rasa Malaysia from Bee is one of those blogs I go often I visit from the time I knew about it.

So a year ago when she wrote in her place if bloggers want to test the recipe for her upcomming book I jumbed at teh chance.
So she send me the recipe for a mango pudding, and I had to test it and tell her what I thought about it etc.... I made the dessert and my family loved it.
So when I heard the book was out there to buy, I preordered it and two weeks back I was delighted when I received the book.

I must say It didn't disapoint me at all.

For each recipe there is a beautiful picture. I love buying cooking books with photos as I know how the end result looks like don't you ??
If I could I would have made all the recipes in one go as all of them looks so so good and delicious.
But alas my expanding waist line doesn't allow me to do that :-) so I thought why not start with one.
And that is exactly what I did two days back.
One of the best thing about buying the book is that she shared this super clever tip how to tenderize the meat.
Oh boy and I have to say I have been cooking for years chinese dishes but my chicken/Meat as never been so so melt in your mouth by using this technique.

I would say you like to cook Chinese food then this book is a must have book.
Yhe aroma whe I made the schiuan pepper oil is so so good. That I have been sniffing for 2 hour :-)
It is a spicy dish and this is what Bee has written in her book when she had the first taste of authentic Kung pao chicken- explosivley fiery, numbing, with a strong vinegary note. Oh and I totally agree with it.
And this is one dish which is going to appear in my dinner table very often.

Now to the recipe:
8 oz (250 g) skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size cubes
1 tsp Chinese rice wine or sherry
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Sichuan Pepercorn oil ( recipe below)
1 clove garlic thinly sliced
One 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
10 to 15 dried red finger length chiliies, deseeded and cut into 2 inch lentghs.
3 heaping tbsp of roasted peanut
1 green onion ( scallion) trimmed and cut into small rounds

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese black vinegar ( I didn't have so i used cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp rice wine or sherry
1 tsp sugar
3 dashes of white pepper
2 tbsp of water
1 tsp cornstarch

Treat the chicken according see below: This is an optional step, but please do your chicken will be so yumm.

Marinate the chicken with the rice wine or sherry and cornstarch for 10 minutes.

Mix all the ingridients for the sauce in a small bowl , set aside.

Heat 1/2 tbsp of the oil  in a wok over hight heat and stir fry the marinated chicken pieces untilly they are half cooked or the surface turns opaque. Dish out and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil and the sichuam pepper oil in the wok. Add the garlic and ginger and stir quickly with the spatula bfore adding the dried chillies. Stir fry untill you smell the spicy aroma of the fried chillies.

Return the chicken to the wok and stir quickly with teh spatula.
Add the sauce and stir continiously untill the chicken meat is nicley coated with it.

Stir in the roasted peanuts and green onions, combining them throughly with the ingridients in the wok.
Dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.
How to Tenderrize the meat :
250 gm chicken breast
1 tsp baking soda ( soda bi carbonate)
1. Cut or slice the chicken breast per the recipe instruction. Make sure it is cut or sliced into uniform pieces.
2. Mix the baking soda with the chicken.
Make sure the chicken breast is evenly coated with the baking soda. Set aside for 15 minutes.
3. Place the chicken in a colander and rinse throughly with cold running water. Rinse a few times if desired. (I did that ).
Pat dry with paper towels. The chicken is now ready to use according to teh recipe.

Sichuan¨Peppercorn oil.
Makes 1/3 cup (80 ml )

1/4 cup ( 10 g ) sichuan peppercorns
1/2 cup ( 125 ml ) oil.
Place the sichuam pepercorns in a small bowl.
Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat untill it reaches the smoking point.
The oil is ready when you see a swril of white smoke comming out from it.
Add the oil into the sichuan peppercorns. Stir the sichuam peppercorn oil immidieatley to help to relese their aroma and flavour.
Let it cool for atleast 2 hours to devolope the flavour.
Drain the peppercorn oil into a glass jar. Discard the peppercorns. The oil is now ready to use.

I do have step by step pictures but I was so excited to share this dish with you all that I didn't wanted to wait.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Chocolate Caramel Bars

Two weeks back we had friends for dinner, she is from Vietnam and he is from Belgium and they have been married for a while and have a teenage daughter.
When ever we ask them I make India food as both of them live Indian food and this time when we invited them I decided I will do a thali dinner, which to our delight they loved it, especially when I brought the tali plate filled with various kind of dishes and she really love papadoms.
My thali evening :-)

So when they came home they gave me a gift packet and to my delight it was a baking book, I was really pleased about getting a baking book as a gift.
And two days later I made these super delicious Caramel Bars and took a whole bunch to our friends place as she loves sweets .
I must say if you make this, share with your friends it is a rich bar.
We loved it but then in small portions :-)

                                                           Dough is pressed to the tin 

Melting everything for the filling

                                                                  Keep on stirring
                                                          Pour over the baked crust

                                     Pouring the chocolate over the hardened (soft but firm) caramel

                                                          Chocolate layer is spread.

120 gm butter, plus extra for the pan.
175 gm flour
60 gm sugar
For the fillling
175 gm butter
120 gm sugar
3 tsp golden syrup or if you don't have this you can use honey
400 ml sweet condensed milk
200 gm pure chocolate

Prepare the tin ( 23 x 23 cm) I rubbed with a bit of butter and then used baking paper and overflowed the paper a bit so that it will be easier to take it out from the tin. I didn't had the above measurment pan so I used my tin which I use for making brwonies.

Preheat the oven to 180° c
Mix the butter, flou and sugar in a food processor till it gets to a ball.
Take this ball mixure and spread into the pan. Bake this for 20 to 25 minutes, till the top is golden brown.
In the mean time make the filling.
Heat a pan in a low fire add the butter, sugar , syrup and the condensed milk and heat it till teh sugar is dissilved.
Then highter the heat and bring the whol mixture to boil, loved the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, till it is thick.
Pour this mixture to the baked dough ( the baked dough should be cold)  and let it get hard by keeping it in the fridge. This will take 2 hours or more.
For the chocolate layer, melt  chocolate in a MW and pour over the hardened layer of caramel and leave thie chocolate to get hard in the fridge.
When you want to slice into bars, just lift everything using the baking paper and slice them according to the size you like.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Cyprian Bread with Olives and Corriander

Is there double love than just love, that is what i think I will say , I double love to make bread :-)
All the kneading and shaping just relax one and not to mention the super delicious smell which comes from your kitchen and fill up the whole home.
If my hubby and daughter read this ( well no worries they never read my blog) they will sure call me weirdo ;-).

The recipe is from Paul Hollywood a brittish bread/pastry Chef.
According to him this bread originally is from Koikilia a place in Cyprus. He also said we can eat this bread with hummus, tsatziki, roasted meat and salades etc....
But I have to say the first time I made this bread last week it was almost finished the day itself, we just sliced , buttered each slice and ate just like that as it was so delicious.
And then two days later I made them again, so you can imagine how delicious this bread is.
The second time I made the bread I added white onions as I didn't had red inions at home but I woudn't do that anymore as it is far better with red onions.

The recipe given below is for 2 bread but I halved the recipe and made one bread.
Please if you make this bread use good quality olives which are not too salty.
Click the image to larger picture.

2 Breads:
500 gm White Wheat flour plus extra for dusting (I didn't had so i used white bread flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt ( I added less as the olives are salty enough)
2 tbsp olive oil
30 gm fresh yeast
300 ml warm water
150 gm Greek olive ( buy good quality ones and check that they are not too salty ) pitted and halved
75 gm red onions finley chopped
hand full of fresh corriander leaves chopped ( i used less as inlike me my other family memebers are not too wild about them)
3 tbsp Bran ( in the recipe this in not added, but I add to all my bread mix as they are healthy)

Add the flour in a large bowl and add salt and oil.
Dissolve the yeast in a little warm water and add in the bowl.
Slowly add hot water as you mix by hand until the dough is smooth.
Put the dough onto a floured work surface and kneed for 8 to 10 minutes, put it back into the bowl and leave covered in a warm place for resting 1 hour.
After one hour, Knead the olives, onions and corriander to the dough and divide into two portions.
I made the bread in a round tin, so butter each tin, sprinkle flour.
Shape the portions of dough in to ball shape and keep in the prepared tin.
Sprinkle each bread with a bit of flour and take a knive and carve a cross in the top.
Cover with butterd plastic foil and leave it to rest for another 1 hour in a warm place.
Preheat the oven to 220°c . Bake the bread for 30 minutes till they are golden brown.
Let it cool and then enkoy each slices with butter :-)
Depending on your oven it might take less or more time.
Tip: If you think the dough is a bit too wet just had a little bit more flour, that is what i do, you just have to feel it.
Sending the delicious bread for Yeast Spotting.