Saturday, April 9, 2016

Creme brulee



I am obsessed about making new desserts whenever I get a chance. Having a sweet tooth doesn’t help it either. When I plan a dinner party first thing I think about is the dessert and most of the time I will go for a new dessert and my guests become the Guinea pigs J I do revisit some of the classic desserts, especially for blogging purpose and this crème brulee is one such. I have tried this before but I didn’t have a blow torch then, so for this year’s Mother’s day  when  I got a blow torch ( upon demand ) I knew I will be making crème brulee soon. So when we had friends over this time I planned cream brulee . I even got S ready  to click a shot when I caramelise sugar with blow torch! I took the dessert out and pressed the button..nothing happened. I was so frustrated beyond words. Asked S to check it, he looked it over few times and but he couldn’t fix it either. After all that planning,it was so disappointing. I had no option rather than using the grill again. Grill does a decent job, only thing is you have to watch like a hawk or you might burn your caramel. I stood by the oven door and evenly caramelised it. I didn’t bother to take any picture yesterday after that. When I served this yesterday to my guests, they all loved it so much, so I saved one bowl of crème brulee for today to click it during daylight.

This is such an easy dessert to make but at the same time an elegant one.

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
Double cream- 450 ml
Milk – 150 ml
Egg yolks – 8 number
Caster sugar – 75 gm
Demarara sugar – 6 tbs
Vanilla bean – 1

Method
  • Place 6-8 clean ramekins in the fridge for couple of hours before you plan making it or put in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  • Measure milk and double cream in a thick bottomed saucepan .Slit a vanilla bean into it and heat it until it’s about to boil. Remove from fire when it is about to boil.
  • Place the egg yolks in a large bowl, add sugar and beat it. Add the warm milk – cream mixture to it very slowly while it’s beating.
  • Wash the saucepan quickly and pour everything back into the pan and cook on a low flame stirring continuously for about 10 minutes or until custard thickens.
  • Pour the custard into the chilled ramekins and when the custard cools downs a bit put in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set.
  • Take it out of the fridge and sprinkle demarara sugar on top of the custard. If you have a blow torch caremelise it using a blow torch.If not, place it under a hot grill until the sugar caramelises evenly. Be careful not to burn it.

 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Paalak dal /spinach dal/ parippum cheerayum


Dal/Parippu is an absolute comfort food for all of us here. Even when we go on holiday the first thing I want to eat when we get back is some steaming hot rice with some dal. It’s pure bliss.

Many years ago when we set out to Switzerland for  our first holiday together I was so excited to see the places and to try new food. I enjoyed the food the first two days, trying out new food was really great but after that it became a bit less enjoyable and  I was desperate to eat some rice.So out we went for an indian  restaurant hunt but couldn’t find any restaurant nearby but instead found a Chinese. I didn’t even want to look at the menu , all I wanted was some rice. I can never forget the pleasure I got from eating that bowl of rice. Rest of the days we were automatically drawn towards that restaurant . After our holiday we came back hungry and tired, still I didn’t want to order a take away or eat out. I dragged myself to the kitchen and cooked some dal and rice. The taste of that dal and rice is still in my mouth, it was a pure comfort meal and we ate as if we haven’t seen food in many days J



Ingredients
Green gram lentil/ Mung dal – ¾ cup
Onion – 3 medium
Tomato – 2
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 4
Cumin seeds – 1 heaped tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ stp
Spinach – 100 gm
Coriander leaves – few (finely chopped)
Oil
Salt

For tempering/ tadka ( optional)
Oil/ghee
Mustard seeds
Whole red chilli - 2
Garlic minced – 1 1/2tsp
Curry leaves

Method
  • Pressure cook the dal adding enough water.
  • In a pan add oil and sputter cumin seeds.
  • Add chopped onions and saute until light brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute until raw smell goes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, green chillies and cook for few minutes until tomatoes are mushy.
  • Add turmeric and saute until raw smell goes.
  • Finally add cooked dal, chopped spinach , add enough water and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove from fire and add chopped coriander leaves.

Tempering/tadka
  • Take oil in a small pan and sputter mustard seeds.
  •  Add minced garlic and fry till  it’s brown.
  • Finally add split whole red chillies and fry until dark. Add in curry leaves and to tadka and remove from fire.
  • Add the tadka to the curry

Friday, April 1, 2016

Gingerbread man cookie



I have a 3 year old Nephew who is crazy about this gingerbread man story. He likes to tell this story to everyone he knows which meant every time he comes on skype we get to hear the story too, he has his own version though, which changes every day. One day during our skype call I promised him that when they visit us next time I will make him some ginger bread men. He couldn’t hold in his excitement. He couldn’t wait to board the plane to visit us. He started counting days. Every morning when he wakes up he asks his mum “ Are we going to London today ?” bless him ! Days passed and his fascination for ginger bread man grew stronger every day. Finally the day came and I baked it well in advance to welcome him. Even before he stepped inside our home he asked for ginger bread man!  The expression on his face when I gave him one was really priceless!

 The next day we were going on a road trip to Devon and I packed this for us to munch. It was a long drive and even before we got there half of them were gone. It didn’t last the whole trip so when I came back I promised him that I will make more for him. Poor little one fell ill with high temperature when we came back so I didn’t bother to make any but yesterday when he was clinging on to his mum just to cheer him up I asked “shall we make some ginger bread men” ? I couldn’t believe that it was the same boy crying on mum’s lap who jumped out and said “yes”! He walked before me to the kitchen. He sat on the chair and even helped me in measuring and mixing. He couldn’t wait to put it in the oven. When we opened the oven he came running. I asked him“ Is it going to run” ? He was anxious too. We opened the door and out came the ginger bread man! Before it ran he wanted to eat one J . I had to blow on it to cool it slightly and he happily gobbled 1-2 straight away. I have to say this is the best thing I have ever baked!




Recipe source – BBC good food

Ingredients
Plain flour – 350 gm
Salt – a pinch
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
Ground ginger – 2 tsp
Egg – 1 large
Golden syrup – 4 tbsp
Softened butter – 125 gm
Light brown sugar – 175 gm

For icing
Icing sugar - 1 cup
Milk - few tablespoon
Vanilla extract - 1 /4 tsp

Method
  • In a bowl measure flour, add in baking soda, salt, cinnamon powder, ground ginger and sift.
  • Add softened butter and mix /beat until it resembles bread crumbs.
  • Add sugar and mix well.
  • In a small bowl break one egg and add golden syrup. Slightly beat them.
  • Add this to the flour mixture and mix/ beat for a minute or so and then using hands knead until it’s a smooth dough.
  • Wrap it in cling film and keep it refrigerated for 15-30 minutes.
  • Roll the dough dusting some flour( if required) and cut ginger bread man ( 1 inch thickness) with cutters.
  • Place the ginger bread man in a baking tray leaving space between them and bake it in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 12-13 minutes. 
  • To make icing,mix icing sugar with milk and vanilla until it fall likes thick ribbon. Add more sugar/milk to get the consistency right. Pour it into a piping bag and ice the cookies.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hot cross bun


It’s officially spring now! Weather in this part of the world is still chilly but we are getting more daylights which make it feel a lot like spring. Alarm doesn’t go as siren waking me up from middle of a deep sleep, In fact some days I am up before alarm ! Ah the joys ..Such small small things definitely make me happy :)

Every year closer to Easter I see Hot Cross buns floating around in the blogs. So last weekend I decided to bake some with my little baker. He enjoys every bit of baking, sometimes a bit over enthusiastic which drives me crazy! He did pretty much everything expect the kneading. Waiting for the dough to proof is something we need to work on as he kind of lost interest after that. I baked it in the night and went to bed letting it to cool down and next day morning it was ready to get iced with a cross. It was a special weekend treat for our breakfast and we enjoyed every bite of it!
Before signing off let me all wish you a Happy Easter and a Happy Holi. It’s Easter break for us for the next two weeks so hopefully I will be back here soon with another post soon, until then bye!


Recipe source- Joy of baking
Plain flour - 500 gm
Instant yeast – 2 tsp/7gm
Granulated sugar – 1 tsp
Milk – 400 ml ( luke warm)
Light brown sugar -  ¼ cup (55gm)
Ground cinnamon – 1 tsp
Ground cloves – 1/4 tsp
Ground nutmeg – ¼ tsp
Ground all spice – ¼ tsp( optional)
Salt – ½ tsp
Melted butter – 70 gm ( 5 tbsp)
Egg – 1 +1 (large)
Candied fruit and peel – 1 /4 cup (80 gm)
Raisins – 1/2 cup( 100 gm)
For glaze
Icing sugar – ½ cup /60 gm
Milk/cream – 1 1/2 tbsp

Method
  • Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk. Add a teaspoon of sugar and keep it aside for 5 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl measure the flour. Add the spice powder, sugar and salt. Mix until combined.
  • Add the yeast solution to the flour and mix until moistened.
  • Gradually add the melted butter and mix.
  • Lighlty beat an egg with fork and add it to the dough, mix /beat until it’s incorporated.
  • Add the raisins and candied fruit peel and mix. Knead the dough until it’s soft.
  • Place the dough in a slightly greased bowl and loosely cover it with a cling film (greased) until its double in size. Takes might take about 2 hours. It depends on how hot your kitchen is.
  • Punch the air from the dough and divide it into 14  -15 equal size balls in a baking tray leaving enough space between them.  Allow it to prove for another one hour covering it with a cling film.
  • Before baking make an egg wash with 1 egg and I tablespoon of milk and brush it on top of the buns.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees until its golden brown or a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Allow it to cool completely.

For Glaze
  • Combine icing sugar and milk until smooth (it should be thick). Pour the glaze in a piping bag and pipe a cross on top of each bun.





Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fish Molly/ Kerala fish molly/ fish stew



Back home fish was a daily affair, the only dilemma we had was which fish to buy .The fish here lack that flavour we grew up eating with. From eating it daily we went down to eating it only maybe fortnightly. 
One cold January morning during our normal grocery shopping weekend, we came across this Asian shop which sells fresh Indian fishes. It was quite an accidental discovery and we were very thrilled. The options were also  quite impressive. Being fish lovers, me and my hubby were like kids in a candy shop. We usually end up buying a lot more than we need and some weekends I would prepare three different dishes with fish ! Anyway we have been buying regularly from that shop and enjoying our fish ever since. When I found some fresh Pomfret last week, I bought it with the plan of making this fish molly, a Kerala special fish curry. I paired it up with Appams and it went down as a treat for us.
I really wonder how this curry got the name Fish molly. Molly is a female name quite common in Kerala, perhaps it was one Molly who developed this recipe :)


Ingredients
Pomfret / kingfish / or any firm fleshed fish – 500 gm
To marinate
Salt
Pepper – 1 ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Lime juice – 1 tbs

Cinnamon stick – 1 small
Cloves – 3
Cardamom - 3
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Bay leaves – 2 ( fresh or dry)
Onion ( medium) – Thinly sliced
Tomato – 1
Ginger minced – 1 1/2 tsp
Garlic minced – 1 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 2-3 sprigs
Oil preferably coconut oil
Very thin Coconut milk - 1 cup (  if using tinned coconut milk dilute 1/4 cup  coconut milk with 3/4 cup water)
Thin coconut milk – 1 cup (½ cup tinned coconut milk with ½ cup water)
Thick coconut milk – ½ cup
Fried onions – 2 tbs (optional)

Method
  • Marinate the fish with ingredients mentioned under to marinate and keep it aside for ½ an hour.
  • In a pan add some oil and shallow fry the fish on  medium flame until ¾ th done by flipping both sides, takes about 7 minutes.
  • In another pan add some oil and sputter fennel seeds.
  • Add in cinnamon sticks, bayleaves, cardamom and cloves and when nice aroma comes out add the sliced onions and  few curry leaves.
  • Saute the onions until soft.
  • Add minced ginger and garlic and fry until raw smell goes.
  • Add very thin coconut milk and few  curry leaves let it boil.
  • Add the fish along with thin coconut milk and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Finally add the thick milk and chopped tomatoes when it starts to boil remove from fire.
  • Garnish with fried onions. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hydrebadi Mutton/lamb Dum Biriyani


One post a month, that’s my goal now. It’s almost the end of February and I can’t let this month go without any recipe so here I am with a family favourite lamb biriyani which I make often when I have friends over. This biriyani is something you can prep a day ahead which makes your job easier next day. If I am cooking it for Sunday lunch, like I did today, I do all the marination part the previous night so next day all I have to do is half cook the rice, layer and dum. All you need for this biriyani is some raita but if you have time make  Mirch ka salan with this and it is a match made in heaven J That’s one Sunday lunch sorted for you and  maybe even Monday and Tuesday too ! This biriyani freezes well and I freeze it straight away once it comes to room temperature and it comes as a life saver on days when I am too tired to cook in the evening.

Recipe source - here

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
Rice – 3  1/2cups 
Lamb /mutton – 1 kg
Meat tenderiser (optional) – 1tsp
Onion – 4 large ( fried) or 2 cups fries onions
Mint leaves
Coriander leaves

To Marinate
Shahi jeera – 1 tsp
Yogurt – 2 cups
Lime juice – 1 ½ tbs
Fried onion – ½ of it
Mint leaves – 1 small bunch
Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbs
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
Cumin powder  - 1tsp
Green chillies – 4 -5
Crushed pepper – 1 tsp
 cinnamon stick – 1 small stick
cloves – 6 number
cardamom – 5
fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Salt
Oil

Method
  • Marinate the lamb with meat tenderiser for 1/2 hour
  • Meanwhile soak the rice for an hour.
  • Add all the ingredients under ‘To marinate’ and keep it for another 1 hour.
  • In the meantime boil some water adding salt. Add rice and cook until its half done. Drain it and keep it aside.
  • In a big pot, tip the marinated lamb and spread it evenly.
  • Add one layer of rice on top and sprinkle some reserved fried onions on top. Add some chopped coriander leaves and mint as well. Repeat layering until all rice is used up.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and seal the edges with a plain flour dough/chapathi dough.
  • Place the pot on top of another flat plan and cook it on a medium low flame for about an hour (Placing  the pot directly on the flame can burn your biriyani on bottom hence always  place the pot on top of another pan ) 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Malabar mutton curry/ Varutharacha mutton curry


We don’t buy Mutton/ lamb at home often, even when we buy it’s usually for biriyani so if you check my blog I don’t have much mutton recipes, but during this holiday time we have been entertaining a lot and I  have been cooking with mutton too. For my last party I promised my friends Keralan food so when I bought mutton, the first thing which came to my mind was this varutharacha mutton curry which my amma used to make a lot. To be honest I was never a fan of varutharacha curry back then so I rarely made it myself.

My hubby did ask me whether I am sure I want to experiment  as this is not something I cook often, usually when he say something like that I lose my confidence and give up on that dish and go for my tried and tested recipes but this time I was determined. I am glad that I didn't listen to him  as this curry turned out  super delicious. My friends loved  it too !

In this recipe I have added a leaf ( ramba leaf ) which was very new to me until my friend who is from Srilanka introduced this to me, something which they add a lot in Srilankan cooking usually to flavour rice. It’s readily available in Indian/Asian groceries here.You can read more about the leaf here. It's an optional ingredient so please don't bother if you don't have it. 


Recipe source – Amma and my own

Ingredients
Mutton/Lamb – 1 kilo
To marinate
Chilli powder -1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
salt
Ginger garlic paste – 1  tbs

Onion - 6 medium
Tomato -3 small
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbs


To roast
Grated coconut/ ചിരണ്ടിയ തേങ്ങ – 1 ½ cup
Shallot/ചെറിയ ഉള്ളി – handful
Coriander seeds/ മല്ലി – 2 tbs
 Cinnamon /പട്ട– 1 stick
Cloves/ഗ്രാമ്പു– 4-5
Cardamom/ഏലക്ക -5
Star anise/തകോളം
Fennel/പെരുംജീരകം – 1 tbsp
Peppercorns/കുരുമുളക് – 1 tsp
Whole Red chilli/ വറ്റല്മുളക് – 3
Curry leaves/കറിവേപ്പില – 5-6 sprigs
Poppy seeds/cuscous/കസ്കുസ് – 1 tbs
Ramba leaf/ രംഭ ഇല /  ( optional) – 1 small piece

Coriander leaves/ മല്ലി ഇല
To temper
Coconut pieces/തേങ്ങാ കൊത്തു1 tbs
Shallots/ ചെറിയ ഉള്ളി  -4 thinly sliced

Curry leaves/ കറിവേപ്പില– few

 Method
  • Marinate the mutton with red chilli, turmeric, salt and 1 tbs ginger garlic paste for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • In a pan add some coconut oil and add the whole garam masala (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel,star anise) and when nice aroma comes out add grated coconut, coriander seeds, whole red chillies, curry leaves and roast for few minutes. When it start to turn change colour, add poppy seeds and carry on roasting until golden brown. DONOT roast beyond this point.


  • Once it’s cool grind it adding very little water into a smooth paste and keep it aside.
  • In a pressure add coconut oil and add chopped onion and saute until light brown.
  • Add in the rest of the ginger garlic paste and saute until raw smell goes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, few curry leaves and cook for few minutes.
  • Add in the marinated mutton, 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 4 -5 whistles or until mutton is cooked.
  • Once the pressure releases open the pressure cooker and add the ground masala paste, curry leaves, ramba leaf and boil everything for 5-10 minutes. 
  • In a small pan add coconut oil and fry the sliced shallots, coconut pieces separately until brown, throw in some curry leaves along with them before you remove them fire and add it to the gravy.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves and garnish.