Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Butter, sugar, flour and eggs...Volume 2.

These are the cookies I baked for the Eid, just got some of the pictures taken today

Almond Tuilles

Ghee Biscuits

Frosted Coffee Biscuits

Cheese and Curry Biscuits

Cheese Fingers (Kaastengel)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Simple Foods: Carrot Biryani, Tuna Cutlets and Raita

I actually have a love hate relationship with rice, once I have a meal with rice, I keep on thiking about the rice, about how I feel like having any meal again with rice, be it white rice with side dishes, biryanis, pilaus or what nots. The hate part you might ask, is just that I cannot and am not allowed to have rice other than lunch. Well technically, I hate meal times!

The recipe below, was part of my experiment with long grains. The thing is, if you have ever noticed, biryanis in shops tends to have the beautiful long elongated i-do-yoga look. So, if you were to use basmathi and cook it at home, like myself I still do not get the results of the gorgeous long grained rice , how it is supposed to be. But this time round ( hence my readiness to part with the recipe) I might have nailed it about 60%. Yayy!

The Carrot Biryani has a subtle cardamom aroma, with more subtle hints of cloves and cinnamon and a beautiful amber color. I was tempted to use the saffron my Uncle Prabh gave my mum, but resisted because, I did not think my experiment was worth the saffron strands and two, did not think it would work!

The dishes I choose to go with the biryani are simple, nothing too spicy or overwhelming. I made tuna cutlets, a stew of butter beans and cabbage and raita. The Simple Foods quest continues! So enjoy preparing this, trust me , it is well worth the prep time, this true comfort food, perfect for a cold day.

Carrot Biryani

A 1 1/2cups basmathi rice (rinsed 2 times, then saoked in water for 10 minutes, then drained)

B To be sliced thinly

1 inch of ginger
6 shallots

C 6 cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, bout an inch

D To be processed in a paste

1 large onion
4 garlic cloves

E 6tbs ground cashews (optional, will add a creamy taste to the cooked rice)

4 tbs ghee
1cup water
1cup milk
3tsp salt
F 1C of coarsely grated carrots


1. Prepare the rice.
2. Add the ghee to a pan. Add B. Fry till aromatic.
3. Add C. Fry till aromatic.
4. Add D. Fry till slightly colored.
5. Add E. Fry for a bit, the add rice. Stir around for two minutes before adding the liquids. Add F in now.
6. My techinuque is to transfer all that into a rice cooker and press the button and the rice will cook beautifully, without a crusty bottom. Alternately, you could continue cooking the rice the pot, lots of caution and stirring required.
7. After its cooked, fluff the rice in the pot with a fork. By the time you serve, the rice will look gorgeoues.


Fried raisins
Fried Shallots
Roated almond slivers and
Chopped corriander

Butter Beans and Cabbage Stew

some cooking oil

A 1 big onion, diced
6 garlic cloves
1tbs chilli puree, cili boh

B 1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can butter beans or garbanzo
1 cup water
200g cabbage, finely sliced

corriander, tied in a bunch
1 bay leave
salt to taste


1. Put oil in pan.
2.Put A in, fry till aromatic.
3. Add B and 1 tsp of salt, corriender tie and bay leaf and let simmer until liquid reduces to half. Taste again, may add salt if you think its needed.
4.Pour in dish. Scatter corriander leaves,chopped on top.

Tuna Cutlets

A 500g potataoes, cooked and mashed

B 4 cans tuna chunks

C 5tbs vegetable oil
onions finely chopped
ginger, about an inch, finely chopped

D chives, fresh , chopped

salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste
1 egg for coating
more oil for deep frying


1. Fry B in oil till aromatic. Turn off heat. Leave in pan.
2. Add tuna and chives and seasoning. Then add mashed potatoes.
3. Shape the above in balls. Flatten them slightly. Dip in beaten egg. Fry in oil. Continue process.


This makes about fifty one mouth cutlets, halve the recipe if you must. I shape and flaten the cutlets all together before I start frying, unless you have another set of hands to help!

Onion Raita

1 large yellow onion
6tbs plain yoghurt
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in bowl. Mix well. Stand overnight if time permits, will taste better a day after.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"bubble bubble, toil and trouble..."

My bouquet of fudge rady for trick or treaters!

Top of my wish list during this post is a CANDY THERMOMETER. Try making fuge, without one and you will know. This time round two bubles exploded on tiny hot hot hot bits of it flew onto my fingers. Ouchh!

But definitely, as all experiments and hoo-haas in the kitchen, it was worth the time (and pain)!

Wrapped my fudge which slightly set in glass paper for slight festive look because the stationery shop did not have the orange ones. Bought also red and green ones for Christmas and gorgeous blue one.

After a bite, the fudge I had them cut in pieces which will allow anyone to put the whole thing in the mouth, or as the demonstration down below, 2 bites.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Butter, sugar, flour and eggs...

About two days back, I told my mum, "Mummy, I'm not going to bake for another 2 weeks...", and then her so-so response was not even verbal, but she gave me the 'Yeah right!' look, straight to the eye! Well, as always, mothers knows best, and I baked the next day!

I just celebrated Hari Raya ( the Eid ) four days back, and this will be my first entry since my last post a month back! I was terribbly busy preparing for the Eid. For the first time in my whole existence, my dad gave strict instructions to my mum not to order any cookies from anyone or anywhere! With much enthusiasm, I started flipping through books and blogs for recipes that might interest me. Trust me, massive planning is needed for Raya baking. Unlike commercial bakers, I like my cookies fresh, meaning I like baking when its the closest time possible to Raya. In the name of freshness of course! So, over ambitious me came up with a list of family favorites, some of my grammas recipes, and some of my 'retro' cookies ( the ones I had when when i was 8 or 9 years old). I did my test runs and it was alright. Then I multiplied the recipes for my massive baking session the week before the EId.

Another reason for the massive planning was one of my closest friend ( very sibling like actually) had her wedding reception on the 6th of October and the after party was to be held in her hometown, lucky me, I crammed a vacation during my freaky hours( I freaked out every time I looked at the calender, Eid was on the 13th, I was scheduled to return on the 9th) ! I volunteered to bring some baked goods ( what else!) and it all turned out smoothly and I had a smashing time! I did mention planning was crucial right?! I brought cream cheese crusted red-bean paste pastries, flourless chocolate cake and coffee caramel slice. The good things in life are sweet.

So on the 9th, I started my baking, still too slow for my standards, but I did start. And I ended up with seven types! The day before the Eid, I baked all my slices , tangy lemon squares, chocolate honey almond squares, date and almond squares, and lotus paste and sesame crust squares.

When Eid came, it was nice to see 'them' out on silver trays, (which i forgot to take pictures of) ready for my guests to sample after my Mum;s hearty Raya spread!

So all in all, what was my Raya about? Butter , flour, sugar and eggs..