Wholewheat bagels


Do you ever wake up and suddenly remember something delicious you had months ago and feel the sudden need to recreate that moment or eat something similar? I’d ordered a bagel sandwich while out for brunch and though the sandwich was pretty lacklustre, the bagel in question was extraordinary and so it stuck and one day I woke up craving a bagel.

Bagels aren’t as easily available where I live and so it’s better and more entertaining to make some yourself which is exactly what I did and these came out pretty good, though I do intend on tinkering and tweaking a bit more with the recipe.

Whole wheat bagels with absolutely everything on top, fluffy on the inside and chewy on the out!

The premises are the same as any leavened bread. Start with some risen whole wheat dough. Recipe here. You also need some sugar, baking soda, and a mixture of whatever seeds or toppings you’d like on the bagel. It could be as simple as salt and sugar or a mixture of poppy, sunflower, black and white sesame seeds as I have here.

Divide the dough into equal sized dough balls. I made a total of eight from a kilo of dough for medium sized bagels. Each dough ball is 125g. You can make larger fewer bagels or smaller.

Make even sized balls

and let rest covered for 25-30 minutes.

Once they’ve slightly risen poke a hole in the centre and stretch the dough around to create a doughnut shape which is essentially also the bagel shape.

Like so.

Bring some water to the boil and add in sugar and baking soda.

Once the water comes back to a boil slowly drop in the bagels

and let boil for a couple of minutes on each side

use a long spoon or chopstick to flip them over.

Fish them out of the boiling water once you see them floating, cover generously with the toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200ºC until crisped and browned at the top.

Enjoy!


Ingredients and recipe instructions for whole wheat dough.
Ingredients for bagel

Wholewheat bread dough: 1 kilo
Sugar: 1tbsp
Baking soda: 2tsp
Poppy seeds: 1tsp
Black sesame seeds: 1tsp
White sesame seeds: 1 tsp
Sunflower seeds: 1tbsp


Recipe Instructions

Make the whole wheat dough a day before and let rise overnight in the fridge. Let rest at room temperature for an hour before dividing the dough into eight equal sized portions.

Roll each portion into a ball and let rest once again, covered, for 25-30 minutes.

Poke a hole in the middle of each dough ball and stretch around the hole to create a doughnut like shape.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in the sugar and baking soda.

Once the water comes back to a boil slowly drop in the bagels carefully, not spilling any water. Let boil for a couple minutes on one side before carefully flipping using a chopstick or a long spoon and boiling on the other for the same time.

Fish out onto a baking tray and sprinkle over the toppings.

Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes until the top has browned.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. The outside should be chewy and the inside fluffy, and since these are whole wheat bagels the texture within will be a bit denser than the usual refined flour ones, but they will be just as delicious.

Green coriander chutney


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It’s an amplification of harmonious flavours put together in a way as to extract the maximum potency of their parent ingredients is what chutney I believe is and this recipe extracts, exaggerates and emboldens every flavour that found itself in the making of this luridly green almost viciously spicy and flavour festooned green chutney.

Chutneys are of course not meant as a solitary treat because of their main purpose in life as an enhancer, that is they upgrade any dish from their current pedestal and double as dips, dressings even spread and this particular coriander chutney especially works hard to earn its keep not least because it’s an old recipe using few readily available in season ingredients.

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The spice levels on this depend on the creator but it’s good to have it on the not so mild side of the spectrum and keep them a bit on the more tear-jerking levels, not to be vulgar or anything but because that’s really how this stuff works and it’s meant to. Ingredients are few and simple. Coriander, green chillies, garlic, dried red chillies, salt, cumin seeds and dried mango powder.

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It’s just a question of blending everything together. So along with the coriander leaves and the stalks which contain most of the flavour

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add the garlic and chillies, halved or chopped to convenience

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the dried red chillies

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and the spices that are cumin, dried mango powder and salt and blend

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until you have a somewhat smooth paste. Make sure that all the ingredients have been incorporated and that there aren’t any large chunks left. Add a little water but not too much and use a spoon to clamp down the leaves and chillies to avoid too many air pockets.

And that’s it. Your green coriander chutney is ready.

I especially love it sandwiched between two slices of bread with lashings of butter and a dollop of this chutney. But really, over rice, in salads, as a dip for anything fried, this chutney is where it’s at!


Ingredients

Coriander: 100g

Chillies: 3-4 (use fewer for a milder taste)

Garlic cloves: 2-3

Cumin seeds: 1 heaped tsp

Salt: 1.5tsp (or to taste)

Dried red chillies: 2-3

Dried mango powder: 1tsp heaped



 Recipe instructions

Wash the coriander well and rinse under running water until no grit or dirt remains and add to a blender with green chillies, garlic cloves, salt, cumin powder, dried red chillies and dried mango powder.

Blend to form a smooth paste. Add a tablespoon of water if it feels too dry but do not add extra because it can make the resulting chutney watery. Clamp down with a spatula or spoon for even blending.

Remove to a clean container and store in the fridge. It will stay fresh for at least 3-4 days.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instant chilli pickle


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For when you want to add a little something-something to a dish that doesn’t taste just there yet or feels flat or maybe you just want a tiny spice kick and spicy texture to enhance and complement the food then this is the pickle of instant dreams because it adds that fresh zing and unique flavour that you could have been looking for but didn’t know where to find.

It’s quick in that it’s instant and depending on the chillies you put it can vary from anything naughtily mild to demonic hot.

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Doesn’t hurt that it’s full of ingredients really good for you and how they come to marry in perfect harmony to form this delicious pickle.

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Chop and dice the green chillies into smaller than bite-sized pieces and remove any seeds if you want. These chillies though large in size are rather tame in taste, in fact, they’re almost sweet and so I didn’t much bother with deseeding them.

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Crush the yellow and black mustard seeds till some are fine dust and some still intact.

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Find a suitable bowl for mixing the pickle.

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Add crushed mustard seeds to the chopped chillies

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followed by salt and turmeric

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In with apple cider vinegar

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mustard oil

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and lemon

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give everything a thorough mix

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until spicily combined

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This is ready to be eaten immediately. Alternatively, you can cover and keep for a day for the flavours to mingle and mellow before transferring to a clean jar. This will keep well for several weeks or you can transfer to a fridge after a few days.

(Note: the flavours will intensify with each day and the mustard seeds lend a pungent spiciness of its own which is most desirable in such pickles.)

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You can add this to rice, slices of bread and anything you feel could do with a boost. I have tried mixing it with boiled pasta during days of lazy inactivity and loved every morsel of it.


Ingredients

Chillies: 250g

Lemon: 1

salt: 2tsp

Turmeric powder: 1tsp

Mustard seeds (crushed): 30g (you can use either all black or all yellow or a mixture of both)

Mustard oil: 70mls (or use olive oil if mustard oil is unavailable)

Apple cider vinegar: 60mls



Recipe instructions

Crush the mustard seeds until some are pulverized and some whole. Chop chillies into small pieces and add to a bowl.

Mix in the mustard seeds, turmeric, salt, oil, vinegar and lemon juice.

Cover and keep for a day or decant into a clean jar to be eaten immediately.

Note: The addition of vinegar increases its shelf life and this pickle can be stored for several weeks, however, you can store this in the refrigerator after a week as well.

 

Garam masala


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I know, I know, a garam masala recipe when you can just buy one in a pinch so why bother etc, but here’s the thing, this isn’t just any other garam masala. No sir! this is garam masala with its party hat on. It’s the kind of all-inclusive, multi-purpose, dangerously fragrant aromatic that should replace any scented candle inside your home. This deep earth coloured spice melange has a disco-like quality to it which makes each dish that it’s added to get up and sing in full swing and make your taste buds dance.

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The ingredients list though long isn’t out of the ordinary to make something so extraordinary. Black and green cardamom pods, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried bay leaves, star anise, black peppercorns and cloves.

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Ordinarily, you’d only need put these spices in a processor and whizz to a powder but to amplify the flavours and have them announce themselves on a megaphone we need to roast these a bit, only until the oils of all the spices wake up and lose their subtlety. A few minutes on medium-low heat on a hot pan until the combined fragrance hits you. Steadily stir to keep them from catching.

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Once they’ve cooled down we can grind them to a fine powder. It’s best to do it in short burst of pulses.

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There shouldn’t be any lumps.

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Transfer to an airtight container.

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and add it to curries, gravies, roasts, cakes.


Ingredients

Cinnamon sticks: 8gms

Black cardamom pods: 5g

Star anise: 1 in nos

Dried bay leaves: 4-5 in nos

Nutmeg: 1/2 Tsp

Black peppercorns: 15gms

Green cardamom pods: 10gms

Cloves: 10gms



Recipe instructions

Roast the whole spices on a medium-low flame for a minute or two until fragrant. Keep stirring to avoid burning and let them cool.

Process to a fine powder and store in an airtight container.

This multipurpose spice blend can be used in many sweet and savoury dishes for a spicy kick.

 

Wholewheat hamburger Buns


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There’s no reason why you can’t just run to the nearest food store and buy a packet of perfectly decent soft burger buns but here is the difference between the store bought ones and the homemade ones, and that is you know exactly what goes in here and I’m not even talking about the bread softening chemicals; it’s the quality of the ingredients that you have the power to control, not to mention that these have whole wheat in them which does set them apart from the absolutely refined floured buns, and really it’s worth the effort, not least because it’s hardly an arduous task. Just a question of mixing and placing and baking. Talking of which..

 

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The ingredients are few and pretty straightforward. We have strong bread flour, wholewheat flour, melted butter, salt, sugar, yeast and some lukewarm water. It could be argued that these wholewheat flour buns do have bread flour in them, but it’s not all refined flour, moreover, when made entirely of wholewheat the buns tend to get a bit too dense.

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Mix the flours and make a well in the centre.

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Add yeast, salt and sugar

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followed by water

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and the butter

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Give it a cursory mix with a spatula or spoon just so that everything is dispersed evenly before we begin to get our hands dirty.

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Form into a shaggy dough to feel if you need some more water and I did.

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Add water little by little, or teaspoon by teaspoon lest the dough gets too wet and sticky

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form a rough clump before you begin kneading when the moisture to flour ratio feels just right.

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Slap the dough on a large surface such as kitchen platform and get kneading. I use a simple technique wherein I flatten the dough then stretch and pull at one end

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before bringing it back to meet the opposite end, and repeat

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until the dough starts feelings soft and pliable under the fingers and palm. You really have to get a feel of this to understand because it’s a transformation and takes anywhere between 5-7 minutes.

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Once you’re happy with the dough, form into a ball

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transfer to a greased bowl. Oil the dough as well to prevent sticking

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cover with cling film and let rest for an hour or until doubled in size.

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like so..

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scrape out of the bowl on a well-floured surface

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and divide into two equal portions

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dividing each portion into four equals.

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before forming into rounds and placing on a well-oiled baking sheet

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to transform these dough balls into decently sized hamburger buns, gently press each until a bit flat, about 7-8 cms wide and roughly 2 cm’s thick; ensuring you don’t make them too flat or they’ll be something of a pita bread.

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Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and let rise for another hour until doubled in size.

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Once they’re nicely fluffed, brush the top with some water/milk/egg white. I brushed mine with water because it ensures that sesame seeds stick and do not budge

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Speaking of which, sprinkle the top liberally with some and bake at 200ºC for anywhere between 15-20 minutes, or until the top gets deliciously browned and the buns have cooked evenly.

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Like so..



Ingredients

Bread flour: 300g

Wholewheat flour: 200g

Water: 250 mls + more if needed

Yeast: 2tsp

Salt: 1 tsp

Sugar: 2 tbsps

Butter (melted): 80g


Recipe instructions: 

Mix the flours in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add yeast, salt, sugar, water and melted butter to the well and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough.

If the mixture is too dry and not coming together add water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture forms a dough. Scrape onto a large surface or platform and knead until the dough becomes soft and pliable for about five to ten minutes and form into a ball.

Transfer to a large bowl and ensure it’s well greased to keep it from sticking.

Cover with cling film and let rest for an hour until doubled in size, after which scrape the risen dough on a well-floured surface and divide into two portions, further dividing each portion into four equal parts and form into balls.

Place formed balls on a greased baking sheet and gently press until they’re larger in size, ensuring that they’re at least 2 cms’ thick

Cover with damp cloth and let them rest for another hour until doubled in size.

Once they have nicely fluffed up, brush the tops with some water and sprinkle sesame seeds.

Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes or until the buns are deliciously golden.


 

Homemade peanut butter in a blender


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This began as something of an experiment in search of peanut butter that I could enjoy without staring at the nutrition facts with guilt and wincing. I’d found myself swimming in wonderfully raw plump peanuts and decided to go ahead with making my version of homemade peanut butter that not only kept the ingredients to a minimum but also ensured that everything was easily available and immediately present at hand, which is why a blender works better than a food processor in this case because almost every house has a blender if not a processor.

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The ingredients are few and wholesome which makes it so much better than shop bought ones which are jam-packed with hydrogenated fats, preservatives and stabilizers. Roasted peanuts, coconut sugar (or any sugar), salt and coconut oil (or any oil.)

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I began by roasting peanuts which I did on a baking tray in a very low oven at 110º for about 20 minutes.

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until they had changed colour from pale to rosily bronzed.

 

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The only hard part is removing their skins which is easily done by shaking them vigorously or just rubbing them between your palms. Decant peanuts into a blender of choice and add sugar.

 

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and salt. Give it a good whirr in pulses.

 

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It isn’t a matter of seconds, it will take time, but keep pulsing until some peanuts are crushed, some turned to rubble and some still intact. Using a spatula keep mixing it about to ensure that nothing is stuck to the blade.

 

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It might look like it’s not coming together, but it will. Keep mixing in long and short pulses, alternating with pushing and mixing the broken peanuts with the spatula until you see more crumbs than intact pieces of peanuts.

 

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Add the oil and blend again.

 

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You might get anxious because it doesn’t look like anything’s happening but suddenly the bottom part of the blender will show almost liquefied peanuts, and then you’ll know you’ve struck oil, except its butter and wonderfully delicious at that.

 

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keep blending until you reach the desired consistency. This was still sort of chunky and a few long pulses later..

 

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You’ll get a satiny smooth terracotta emulsion of warmth. All you need at this point is a clean jar to store this homemade peanut butter in.

 

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Once upon a life, there was honey in it. Now there’ll be peanut butter.

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Pour into a jar of choice and refrigerate. This turned out far more delicious than any store-bought ones and easy to boot, not to mention self-righteous and annoyingly healthy.


Ingredients

Peanuts: 370g (2 cups)

Coconut oil: 2tbsp

Coconut sugar: 1tbsp

Salt: 1tsp

Note-  The resulting peanut butter will have a mild underlying coconut flavour to it, which is on account of coconut oil. If you do not like it then use any other oil of choice. 


Recipe Instructions: Roast raw peanuts either on a gas stove or oven by placing in an oven tray and roasting at 110º for 20-25 minutes until they’re rosy and golden. Keep checking to see that they don’t burn.

Remove their skins and place in a blender along with sugar and salt and pulse for a few moments. Use a spatula to mix them in the blender to keep the peanuts from sticking to the bottom. Once most of them are crushed add coconut oil and blend again until desired peanut butter consistency is achieved. Pour into a clean jar and refrigerate.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woon mamuang


DSC_0200 These symmetrically gorgeous yellow and white pieces of soft squares are the stuff of dreams most soothing and calm. As lovely and mysterious as these are to look at, they taste almost as tranquil and smooth.

‘Woon mamuang’ as these are called in Thai are really mango mousse made with agar-agar, a sort of vegan gelatine so to say, that’s made of seaweed and thus vegan, vegetarian friendly. I first had them in Thailand and couldn’t get over the almost enigmatic texture of these tender squares. They’re not too wobbly, as one would expect regular jellies made of gelatine, yet softly yielding with a fresh fruity taste that almost feels like eating mangoes in a different form. There’s a sort of gentleness to their aspect that works really well as a light dessert, for it doesn’t fill you up, not to mention that their primary ingredients or rather the only ingredients are pureed mangoes and coconut milk, both of which form a kind of ethereal bond of mellow pleasantness.

I made these for the first time and learnt after a few errors the exact workings of agar agar, and will explain them in this post so you don’t make the same mistakes.

 

DSC_0146 copythe ingredients are mangoes, sugar, lime, strawberries, coconut milk, water and agar agar.

 

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peel the mangoes

 

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and chop/cube them to be made into a puree.

 

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add in a squirt of lime juice to add just another dimension of flavours

 

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and blend to form a puree, making sure there are no lumps.

 

 

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water in a pot, don’t turn on the heat yet, because unlike gelatine agar agar will turn into something of a mess if dumped into hot water.

 

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add in agar agar and slowly start heating the water.

 

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stir water constantly or else the agar agar might settle at the bottom and clump together.

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keep stirring until agar agar is completely dissolved.

 

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once that is done, add in the sugar and let is dissolve

 

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add in mango puree

 

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and whisk until it’s mixed well and there are no lumps

 

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there are various ways to go about making woon mamuang. You can either make individual pieces in moulds or one big piece in a tray. I went with the latter option.

 

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Now the the thing with agar agar is that it begins to set soon after it starts cooling down and can set at room temperature as well, so we have to be a bit quick about things, but don’t get yourself in a frenzy as I did. Pour half the mango mixture to form the bottom layer.

 

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Add in chopped strawberries. you can even add mango cubes or coconut meat or nothing. I love the reds of strawberries with the yellows of mango.

 

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they look like rose petals.

 

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while that sets, we can get on with making the coconut milk layer. Start heating a pot of water with agar agar until it completely dissolves

 

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add sugar and coconut milk

 

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and pour the hot coconut milk mixture over the now set layer of mango layer and pop all the air bubbles or rather most of them using a toothpick.

Error: here’s the mistake I made. I checked the mango layer in corners of the pan and thought it to be set, whereas the middle part of the layer had not set at all, which is why some part of the coconut milk layer has floating strawberries on it. Therefore check that the bottom layer has almost completely set. It should be a little tacky, but shouldn’t stick to your fingers.

 

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once the coconut layer has set pour over the remaining mango mixture and let set completely and refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving.

Note: keep the remaining mango mixture warm while the coconut milk layer sets, because once it cools down it will begin to congeal.

 

DSC_0195cut into squares and serve chilled.


Ingredients

For the mango layer

Mangoes: 430g (about 2 cups)

Water: 350 mls (1.5 cups)

Sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)

Agar agar: 2tsp

Lime juice: 1tsp

Strawberries: 80g (1/2 cup)

For the coconut milk layer

Coconut milk: 200mls (1 cup)

Water: 200 mls (3/4 cup)

Sugar: 4-5 tbsp

Agar agar: 1 tsp



Recipe instructions: Puree mangoes with lime juice, chop strawberries and keep aside.

Add agar agar to a pot of cold water and gently bring up to heat, stirring constantly until agar agar dissolves. Add sugar and pureed mangoes and whisk until sugar has dissolved and no lumps remain.

Gently pour half the mixture into moulds, making sure that no air bubbles are formed. Strew in chopped strawberries and allow this layer to set, while keeping the remaining mango mixture warm.

Make the coconut milk mixture by adding agar agar to water and slowly bringing to heat, stirring constantly until agar agar is completely dissolved. Add in coconut milk and sugar and once sugar is dissolved as well, pour the coconut milk mixture very gently over the now set mango mixture. To ensure that no air bubbles are formed you can even spoon this mixture.

In case any bubbles do get formed, pop them with a toothpick.

Once the coconut milk mixture had set gently pour the remaining mango puree over it and let it set completely and refrigerate before serving.


Few things to remember:  Do not let agar agar settle at the bottom of the pan while dissolving in water. Keep stirring constantly.

Check if the layers have set by gently tapping the middle area, it should be tacky to the touch but shouldn’t stick.

Do not let remainder mixture to cool down because it begins to set. Keep over low heat in case the temperatures are cool.


 

 

 

 

Hot chocolate mix


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When this world feels like a rotting dump of methane filled sewage, there are few comforts you turn to. A loving voice, a soothing touch, a reassuring moan.. and all these things are impossibly hard to come by; why else would this world have turned into a venomous pit of hate infected flies?  You need something restorative, with the potential to remedy some aches and provide warm succour.

You need a cup of hot chocolate and not just any ol’ hot chocolate but a homemade version. One that’s a pre mix, which needs nothing save pouring in hot water or milk if you think you need it. But it’s a mix, which means there’s milk present already, so really just hot water is all you need.

There’s a sort of whimsical poetry, like a fluttering tune about ‘hot chocolate’. The fact that it’s chocolate in pourable form that can be drunk warm. Wisps of chocolatey fog hitting your face and thick sweetness with all the richness of terra cotta cocoa pouring into your system provides instant calmness and an upbeat feeling of general wellness.

 

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Unlike store brought hot chocolate mixes that are doused to the teeth with chemicals that you couldn’t pronounce, this is one is fairly docile. Just sugar, vanilla pods, milk powder, cocoa powder, corn starch and salt.

 

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Split the belly of vanilla pods to extract all the wonderful flavour of the seeds. Sometimes it’s also called vanilla caviar. hmm.

 

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add it to the sugar. Don’t throw away these emptied out vanilla pods. Stick them in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar. ah, the wonderful fragrance.

also- if you do not have vanilla pods or you’d rather not bother with vanilla in this recipe, simply omit this step.

 

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add in the corn starch to this mix

 

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whisk it about. Though it’s not needed because the next step will take care of the mixing.

 

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whizz it in a blender or a processor, whatever you have on hand to make this coarse sugar vanilla corn starch mixture into a powdery mix.

 

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something like this. See how it’s flecked with vanilla beans.

 

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add milk powder to the now powdered sugar+vanilla+corn starch

 

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in with the cocoa powder.

 

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and sea salt

 

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use a whisk to mix it well. Get rid of any lumps. And it’s done.

 

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there you have it. Your very own homemade hot chocolate mix. Store it in a jar and have fun with it.

 

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this is how you make it. Scoop out 3 heaped spoonfuls into a mug.

 

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add hot not boiling water.

 

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there you have it. Hot chocolate in the comforts of your own home. Made in lesser time than it would take for you to go out and have some. This mix is not only easy but so convenient. Anytime you need a fix just scoop out and pour.

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Ingredients

Sugar: 180g (2 cups)

Vanilla pods: 2

Corn starch: 30g (1/4cup)

Powdered milk: 200g (2 cups)

Cocoa powder: 70g (1 cup)

Salt: 1/2 tsp


Recipe instructions

Split the vanilla beans and scrape out their seeds and mix with sugar. add in corn starch and blend in processor or blender to make it into a fine powdered form.

Note: if you’re using fine powdered sugar then simply whisk in these ingredients until there are no lumps present.

Into the powdered sugar mixture add in milk powder, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk well and ensure there are no lumps. Once well mixed store in a jar.

To make hot chocolate scoop 3 tablespoons into 3/4 cup of hot water. Alternatively you can even using milk and also use the mix to create many shakes or desserts of choice.

 

 

 

 

Onion focaccia


DSC_0384As a lover of all things carbohydrate and more specifically bread, flavourful focaccia is probably among the top five things I want to be seen dead with. There’s an almost borderline obscene love that I treasure for this bread. I mean honestly, it’s flat, chic, flavoured, reeking of olive oil and begs to be torn mercilessly into choicest shards, to be shovelled into your mouth with absolutely no regrets.

This to me works as an appetizer, a full meal, a snack, a towel to wipe my tears, a snug bed that doesn’t judge me, a mop for gravies, a lover, a husband…..

This blog already has a garlic basil focaccia recipe, and the premises for this wonder are no different. Onion somehow lends a sublime sweetness and when it’s caramelized dark with crispy edges, it makes this bread go places…Basically my kitchen to my bed where I spend all night fighting my body image issues with this lovely bread.

So here it is.

DSC_0334nregular bread stuff; flower, olive oil, warm water,  yeast, salt, sugar, dried rosemary and sliced onions. I’m using dried rosemary because I have no fresh ones available, but if you do please go ahead and up the quantity a bit.

DSC_0335let’s get bread making first. Sugar into warm water

DSC_0336followed by yeast. followed by a ten minute wait to let the yeast foam up.

DSC_0339in the meantime dump your flour in a big bowl

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DSC_0341and a blurry picture of rosemary

DSC_0342followed by the foamy water.

DSC_0344and our star of this show.. the studly extra virgin olive oil ( about half of the total quantity), that shies from rough handling. Knead to make a smooth dough.

DSC_0345something like this. I kneaded the dough for at least 10 minutes, but in case you have a mixer of sorts go ahead and make your work easier, only you won’t love this bread as much.

DSC_0347We have to let the bread rest to puff up and become more bread like. So back into the bowl smeared lovingly with some more olive oil. Cover well and let it rest for at least an hour or until the bread has doubled in size. Mine almost took two hours. It’s cold here.

DSC_0348in the meantime, let’s get cracking with the onions. a frying pan on medium heat and a tablespoon of regular olive oil, just to get the onions sweating.

DSC_0351in with the onions.

DSC_0352slick well with oil

DSC_0353a pinch of salt, just to get them nice and soft

DSC_0355Now we’re talking. This is after about five minutes of cooking. They’re perfect like this but I like them a bit more caramelized.

DSC_0356something like this.

DSC_0357Reserve until the dough is ready.

DSC_0359which might look something like this. It’s aromatic and gorgeously flecked with rosemary. Punch it down and knead for a minute.

DSC_0361some more olive oil on your baking tray

DSC_0363to have the kneaded dough sit on.

DSC_0364Now to turn this bread dough into focaccia. Flatten it down

DSC_0365like so, without making it too thin. Spread some more olive oil and..

DSC_0367give it that characteristic focaccia dimpled look, by simply pushing in your fingers deep to make pretty little dents and have the oil pool in them. so pretty!

DSC_0368like so. If at this stage you feel that there isn’t enough oil on top and that it looks dry, just pour in some more. This looked perfect, so onions now.

DSC_0369like so. Make sure to push them in, or else they won’t stick.

DSC_0370cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

DSC_0371Now for some wonderful smattering of crunchy sea salt, for what is focaccia without a smear of sea salt?

DSC_0373It’s risen a bit more after the second rising, and you’ve to simply sprinkle the salt on top and bake at 200℃ for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the onions caramelized to a devious crispy dark

DSC_0375like so,  but wait!

DSC_0377some more extra virgin olive oil for the top to gleam and glow.

DSC_0382apply to face. This bread is a breeze to make and a delight to eat. Dunk in more olive oil, or sauce of your choice and make a meal of it.

Ingredients

Bread flour: 300g (around 2 cups)

Warm water: 200ml ( a little less than a cup)

Yeast: 1 teaspoon

Sugar: 1 tablespoon

Salt: 1 teaspoon

Rosemary: 3/4th teaspoon

Extra virgin olive oil: 80ml (1/4 cup)

Onion: 1 medium sliced thin

sea salt: 1 teaspoon

Preparation Instructions: Dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water and leave for 10 minutes to activate and foam.

In a large bowl mix flour, rosemary and salt. Once the yeast water has foamed, add into the mix along with half the quantity of extra virgin olive oil. Knead to form a smooth dough (if the dough is too dry add more water, if it’s sticky add some flour) and let it rise for at least an hour or until it’s doubled in size.

Cook onions on medium flame in some regular olive oil until soft and translucent. Reserve.

Once the dough has risen, knead it for another two minutes and flatten out on a well oiled tray (use a tablespoon of the remaining oil), making dimples with your fingers and add some more oil to the top.

Spread the cooked onions on the top evenly and push them in so they stick. Wrap and let rest and rise for another 45 minutes.

After the second rising sprinkle top with some sea salt and bake at 200℃ for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Brush the remainder of the olive oil on top and let it rest for at least ten minutes before you dig in.

DSC_0387Enjoy!

 

Thyme scented bread


DSC_0599It’s been a while since I posted anything, but only because it’s been extremely, annoyingly, unbelievably, obnoxiously, stinging, frigidly cold. Yes it’s been very cold and some more. I don’t think there was ever a moment when it wasn’t snowing, or raining or hailing or a combination of all three. The weather is slightly better now. It’s not as frozen and water doesn’t seem all that spiteful but it’s severely cold still and of course there is nay a ray of sunshine.

What’s a carb loving gal to do in this hateful weather.. why of course bake some bread and shove it down in one big cartoonish gulp, because as I write I’m feasting on this ethereal scented bread, weighed down with copious amounts of butter and my computer has a severe case of the crummage.

 

Getting down to business, this bread is delectable, heavenly and all the good adjectives. It’s ever so slightly scented with thyme and this subtle perfume gives this bread an elevated elegance, which is so desirable in this weather. Also it’s easy and fun.

DSC_0542cBasic ingredients, except I wanted some heartiness to it, which is why I added whole wheat flour. It just takes the bread from mundane to exquisite. So..thyme, regular bread flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, sugar, salt, warm water and some oil.

DSC_0544into a large bowl, dump in your flours

DSC_0545add the salt and mix

DSC_0547into the warm water add in sugar

DSC_0548the yeast

DSC_0549mix and set aside to let the water foam in peace.

DSC_0550de-stalk the thyme in case you’re using fresh stuff.

DSC_0552once the yeast has foamed, make a well in the centre of your flour mixture

DSC_0553add in the oil

DSC_0554the thyme

DSC_0555yeasty water and mix together to form a dough. If your mixture is too dry add some more water, a teaspoon at a time, in case it’s a bit wet add some flour.

DSC_0557let it form a shaggy dough which has barely come together. Now start kneading. You have to knead for at least 10-15 minutes. It’s a good workout. You know you need it.

DSC_0558the best way to knead is to stretch it away from you.

DSC_0562then pull it back together. This gets the gluten going and the resultant dough is nice and springy. Repeat this step for at least 10 minutes and you’ll realize the dough has come to life. Trust me, you’ll just know it.

DSC_0563once it’s nice and soft and smooth and springy, form into a ball.

DSC_0567oil it slightly and let it rest for at least 1-2 hours depending on how warm your house is, making sure it’s doubled in size. 

DSC_0569once risen as you can see, it’s more than doubled, plop it out on your work surface.

DSC_0572punch it well to get rid of any air bubbles and knead again for another minute or so.

DSC_0573form into a ball.

DSC_0575and transfer on a baking sheet, bread pan or dish of choice. I dusted mine with some cornmeal but you can use semolina or flour.

DSC_0576dust some more flour on top. Cover and let rise again for another 30-45 minutes.

DSC_0578like so. mine took about 1 hour.

DSC_0580this step is completely optional, but I like doing it. I make some gashes or slashes to make it look like some artisan loaf. be careful while doing it, you do not want to deflate your bread so don’t Jackson Pollock it.

DSC_0582mmmkay!!  now bake at 200℃ for 20-25 minutes until the top is well browned and tapping the bottom makes the bread sound hollow.

DSC_0586like this!! you see this? So beautiful. You have to let it rest for at least 10 minutes. It’s going to be hellish hot.

DSC_0614ooooh mama!!! this bread is lightly specked with thyme, with a very subtle aroma. It’s soft and the whole wheat flour makes it a hearty mouthful.

DSC_0615this is what the interiors look like. It’s GORGEOUS!!!

Ingredients

Bread flour : 250 g ( 2 cups)

whole wheat flour: 70 g (about 1/2 cup)

salt : 1 teaspoon

sugar: 1 tablespoon

yeast: 1 teaspoon + a pinch

water (just warm to the touch): 250 mls (1 cup)

thyme : 1 tablespoon if using fresh or 1 teaspoon if using dried.

Oil: 2 teaspoons

Procedure: Add the sugar and yeast into the warm water and let foam. Add the flours into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the oil, thyme and yeast water. Knead well for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy.

Transfer into a lightly oiled bowl and let rise for a couple of hours until doubled in size. Once risen knead again for another minute and transfer into baking pan lightly dusted with flour. 

Dust the top of the bread with flour and let rise again for about 45 minutes. After the second rising bake at 200℃ for 20-25 minutes until the top is well browned and tapping the bottom makes the bread sound hollow.

Please give this bread a try, feel like a magician and feast like a Queen!!

DSC_0611another image to motivate you.. Enjoy!!!