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

  • 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

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)

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

  • 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.

  • 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

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

  • 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.