Taiwanese pineapple cakes


It was a new dimension of desserts for me the first time I ever ate these little cakelets which somehow blur the thin line between shortbread cookies and cakes and in fact these are stuffed in the middle with a sweet pineapple filling, one bite is all it takes get transported into a sweet dreamy land of flaky crust and delicious jam.

These are irresistible if anything and my dear Taiwanese friends who were kind enough to share these treats informed me of their importance in their culture as a staple during coffee, tea or snack time and even shared the recipe which I used to make a version of my own which though not nearly as beautiful as the ones they shared comes decently close in taste. 

The pineapple cakes have a particular mould which one can easily buy but I tried improvising and came to the conclusion that making them in their particular moulds would be a far better option, however, if you want to try them just as then, by all means, use a muffin tin as I did as I’m about to show you.

Ingredients for the pineapple jam filling

 Cook the crushed pineapples on medium hot flame 

until they begin releasing water and add lemon juice

once most of the water is cooked off add cinnamon

and sugar

the pineapple mixture will become wet once again after the addition of sugar so keep cooking and stirring until it’s thickened to a paste. Cill the jam for an hour before forming cakes so that it slightly firms up.

ingredients for shortcrust pastry case

I made this using a processor but you can use these just as easily with a wooden spoon. Mix together the butter and sugar

until evenly combined

add egg yolk and mix

and tip in flour, baking powder, cheese and milk powder mixture and evenly combine

until it comes together and begins to clump

form into a dough without kneading it much and shape into a log

and slice into equal portions. You don’t have to be precise because you can always add or remove some dough during the cake forming process.

Roll each part into a rough circle about 1.5-2 inches in diameter.

and now for the fun part that’s filling each casing with the now cooled pineapple jam. Add about 2 tsp worth in the middle of the pastry.

and fold so that opposite ends meet in the middle. Squeeze them together with thumb and index finger smoothing the seam and form into a ball.

Place into muffin tins if you do not have a mould and press gently before baking at 170º for 10 minutes

and then flipping them over to brown on both sides. Bake again for another 10-15 minutes

until they’re lightly golden. Some of them broke in the process but that didn’t keep them from tasting remarkable. Let them cool for at least 10-15 minutes before eating because they’re hot and extremely soft. Their shortcrust casing gets firmer with time and somehow I like them better when they’re firm so I let mine be for a couple hours.

I also tried making some free-form ones and concluded that these are better off aesthetically in their respective moulds but they taste just as divine even in their unorthodox shapes.

They aren’t as difficult as one would think, just a little time consuming if you are new to their realm which I was and to eat one of these is to know how different these cookie cakes can be and the pure pleasure that something so tiny is capable of imparting in each bite.


Ingredients for the jam filling 

  • Pineapple- 500g (use fresh or tinned)
  • White sugar- 50g (1/4 cup)
  • Brown sugar- 50g (1/4 cup)
  • Lemon juice: 1 Tsp
  • Cinnamon powder- 1/4 tsp (optional)

Ingredients for shortbread dough

  • Butter- 100g
  • Sugar – 45g
  • Parmesan cheese- 10g
  • Milk powder- 10g
  • Egg yolk – 1
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Flour- 130g

Recipe instructions

Make the jam filling by crushing the pineapples in a food processor and cooking over medium heat until the water begins evaporating. Add lemon juice, cinnamon powder if using and brown and white sugar and cook until the jam is thickened.

Chill until further use.

Mix together the flour, parmesan cheese, baking powder and milk powder in a bowl and set aside.

Make the pastry by mixing butter and sugar using a processor or wooden spoon. The butter shouldn’t be cold. Add the egg yolk to the mix and evenly combine before adding the flour mixture. Mix them but do not knead and form a shortcrust pastry until the mixture begins to clump.

Lightly form into a log shape and cut into even pieces.

Roll each piece into a 1.5-2 inch circle and fill the middle of each with 1-2 tsp of the now chilled pineapple jam.

Form into a smooth ball by squeezing together the opposite ends and smoothening the seams.

Press into moulds or muffin tray putting gentle pressure to flatten each cake.

bake at 170ºc for 10 minutes and flip over the cakes to bake on the other side for another 10-15 minutes until evenly browned.

Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Can be eaten fridge cold or warm.

Enjoy!

Chicken katsu


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Chicken katsu, one of those exquisitely done Japanese morsels of fried cutlet done just right. Golden, crunchy and juicily subtle. These breaded pieces of fried chicken encompass the elegance that somehow a chicken bucket does not. Either cut into dainty strips or fried in small portions, chicken Katsu is a sure fire easy as breath and quick to jeuje up fantastical dish that everyone can easily have in their repertoire.

 

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it’s done pretty much the same way you would these fish fingers    . The principles are the same and so is the technique, though you can play around with how you’d like these cutlets to taste.  The usual fare of eggs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, flour, bread crumbs and chicken breasts that I have sliced into fillets.

The one thing to note here is that instead of regular breadcrumbs Panko breadcrumbs would be more appropriate while preparing katsu, but all I could find in the grocery store were ‘Japanese style breadcrumbs’. 

 

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begin by seasoning the chicken with garlic powder

 

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pepper

 

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and salt

 

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smoosh them together until chicken is well coated and let it rest while we get on with the breading station.

 

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I used two plastic food bags to coat and bread the chicken because I didn’t think I wanted to wash too many dishes, and this just works.

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Season the breadcrumbs with some paprika because it helps brings out a better colour when fried.

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flour in another plastic food bag.

 

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so here you have it. the stage is set for frying

 

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Into the flour

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coat it well

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followed by an egg bath

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after which a casual lay about in grainy crumbs

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you can also scrunch about the plastic bag to make sure it’s all coated.

 

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It hardly takes time and before you know it, there are three richly swaddled pieces of chicken sitting pretty on your station.

 

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You can deep fry these if you want, but I’m totally into shallow frying things, because deep frying makes me nervous.

 

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Lay these gently in a pan once the oil is hot and cook each side for 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness of chicken pieces until the outside is bronzed and crisp while the insides retain their juiciness without being overdone or undercooked.

 

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fish them out on a paper towel to let them drain

 

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check for doneness if you want. This one was well done, moist and delightfully flavourful

 

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serve with fresh vegetables or salad or even fries if you want. I like mine with a bit of steamed broccoli.


Chicken katsu Ingredients

Bread crumbs: 75 g (1 cup)

Flour: 60g (1/2 cup)

Garlic powder: 1 tsp

Pepper: 1/2 tsp

Salt: 1/2 tsp (the image shows 1 tsp, but 1/2 tsp should be enough, or to taste)

Paprika: 1/2 tsp

Eggs: 2

Chicken breast: 150 g either sliced to fillets or flattened out to quicken and ensure even cooking.

Oil for frying


Recipe instructions – Coat the chicken evenly with garlic powder, pepper and salt and let it marinade for a few minutes.

In separate dishes assemble the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs. Add paprika to the breadcrumbs.

Coat the chicken first with flour, followed by eggs and then breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, slowly place the breaded chicken pieces. Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side until the exterior is crisped up well and the insides are cooked. It’s for this reason you don’t want to use a thick piece of meat.

Drain on a paper towel for a minute and cut through to check for doneness.

Serve hot and crunchy with a cooling salad or steamed vegetables.

Enjoy!

 

 

Fish finger sandwich


 

DSC_0338A little backstory on fish fingers from my nostalgic archives. The first time I ever had these was when I was little, nay, wee, hardly a sapling of sorts and my dad had ordered a plate of fish fingers and it was the first time ever I’d set my eyes on something that literally looked like fingers, smelled like fried food and came crumbed in crunchy bits of golden deliciousness.

I had only to bite into them to begin a life long, albeit clandestine love affair with all things crunchy, fried and finger like.

I’d no idea something coming from the aquarium could ever taste so wonderful, and of course as I grew up I since learnt that fish from aquariums aren’t meant to be eaten (usually) and that ones that grow up in rivers and seas are far better, and I’ve since then had a good share of fish fingers tucked in my belly (they sometimes show on weekends) and also gained more insight that as wonderful as they are on their own, they taste even better sandwiched between slices of delicious bread. It could be a carb thing, but fish finger sandwich is a more complete meal, whereas fish fingers are, umm, finger food.

So, for days that need to be substantially filled with something comforting, something extravagant and something out of the ordinary, fish finger sandwich is the answer.

 

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You need a boneless fillet of any sturdy fish. This is a commonly found basa fillet

 

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that I’ve cut into finger wide pieces and lightly salted on both sides. This not only flavours the fish from inside, since there will be many coatings on it, but also helps tighten the raw fish a bit, so it can stand the shallow frying without breaking apart.

 

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Now it’s just a question of assembly. Something of a conveyor belt procedure. I have here a plate of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs

 

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and this is also the part where you can season this dish. I like to season bread crumbs, because that’s the first element to come in contact with your mouth once you bite into these fish fingers. So a cracking rain of fresh pepper.

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imbued with the redness of smoked paprika. It’s these colour from paprika that’ll come through in tones of red orange once the fish fingers are fried.

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so the eggs are beaten, the crumbs are seasoned.

 

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and thus begins the first layering, wherein salted fingers of sliced fish are first placed in flour

 

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to be coated generously on both sides, Be sure to shake off the excess flour

 

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and dip in beaten eggs for the second coating

 

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followed by a burial in gravel like seasoned breadcrumbs for the third and final coat.

 

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This is what all my fish fingers looked like, I let them sit before frying so the final stage could be executed with all the efficiency of a kitchen virtuoso, who could hardly wait to get her hands on these sumptuous  lovelies.

 

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One could deep fry them, but shallow frying is just so much easier, not to mention safer. Fry in a couple tablespoons of oil on a medium high flame.

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I used a fork to turn them on all sides to get an even tan, and added more oil when needed. Never said it was a low calorie recipe.

 

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This was the first fried batch, and I let excess oil drain out on a paper towel. Somewhere around this time I also realized that one single fish fillet ended up making a good many fish fingers and that meant leftovers! Praise be lord.

 

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whip out your favourite bread. I used a whole wheat mini baguette for no reason other than I had this on hand. Spread copious amounts of butter. yes, butter is important.

Now if only someone had at this moment told me that my plate of choice is totally the colour of fish fingers and that it’s going to camouflage the entire sandwich in pictures, I’d have kissed that person on the mouth I tell ya..alas, no help was forthcoming since I was alone and my cat wouldn’t warn of incoming death let alone suitable plates.

 

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spread generously some mayonnaise, a layer of greens (spinach in my case) and tomatoes. In short get all the fixings you’d like in a sandwich. You could be as elaborate or minimal as you like. This is YOUR sandwich.

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layer on them fried fish fingers and voila! You have the most fabulous fish sandwich ever. It’s absolutely out of the world. Crunchy, filling with the distinct flavours of a well cooked fish encased in crispy crumbs entombed in buttery bread with all the fixings. This makes for such a lovely meal that you’d be left reminiscing this moment during your darkest hours. I speak from experience.

But wait! this isn’t the end. What do you do with the remaining fish fingers.

WEll, you can have them as is, or make another breakfast sandwich the next day.

 

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which is precisely what I did. A no frill white bread sandwich, with a layer of butter, a slice of cheese and remaining fish fingers.

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breakfast of ever fattening gods.

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Ingredients

Standard boneless fish fillet  : 1

Salt: 1/2 tsp (or more to taste)

Pepper: 1/2 tsp

Paprika: 1 tsp

Flour: 1 cup (120gms)

Eggs : 2

Breadcrumbs: 100gms (1 cup)

Oil for frying: 3-4 tbsps

For sandwich

Slices of bread or a baguette

Spinach or lettuce leaves: 3-4

Tomato: one small

Butter: 1/2 tbsp

Mayonnaise: 2 tsp

(you can customize this sandwich to your liking. Add mustard or cheese slices or pickles)


Recipe instructions

Cut finger wide pieces of fish and lightly salt on both sides. Keep aside.

Arrange three separate dishes for flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Season the bread crumbs with paprika and pepper and beat the eggs well.

Coat each fish slice with flour. Shake off excess flour and dip into eggs until well coated and finally coat with seasoned bread crumbs till all fish fingers are well crumbed

Shallow fry on medium high heat in enough oil to make it golden and crunchy. Don’t add too many fish fingers in one pan. Add more oil as needed.

Once evenly fried and golden on all sides take them out and let drain on a paper towel.

Smother bread slices with butter and apply a layer of mayonnaise for sandwich. Add a layer of crunchy spinach and juicy tomatoes and top with as many fish fingers as your sandwich can accommodate.

Fish finger sandwich is now ready.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Spicy baked chicken and potatoes


DSC_0275When you can feel the carnivore inside of you bubbling with primal instincts to tear into something meaty, something delicious and spicy, this chicken recipe with potatoes is just the thing. Savagely inoculated with flavours on a loudspeaker, there is nothing remotely subtle about this dish. It’s deliciously loud with mouthwatering piquancy, tender, juicy of flesh and drool inducing. The balance of tastes rendered stupefyingly lush with succulent aromas is so heady that it’ll send your entire house warming with tempting incense of tantalizing proportions.

Cooking it with potatoes just makes it a more complete meal, and there’s nothing more you’d wish for a better lunch.

 

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It doesn’t involve much in the way of fanfare, and most ingredients are easily available. Chicken drumsticks, olive oil, honey, crushed garlic, oregano, cumin powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, lemon juice and potatoes. I’ve used two different kinds of potatoes, but feel free to use whatever potatoes you like or have on hand.

 

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for tender, juicier results we want to marinade the chicken for which you begin by slashing said chicken down to the bone. This helps with even cooking, and lets the spices penetrate in deep.

 

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The marination is easy. Mix all the spices in a bowl

 

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along with lemon juice

 

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honey

 

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and olive oil

 

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mix it all together to form a sort of paste.

 

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Coat the drumsticks in the the marinade, making sure it’s seriously coated.

 

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cover with a cling wrap and let it marinade in the fridge for a couple hours. You can do this bit of activity sometime during breakfast if you want to make it for lunch.

 

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Prep your potatoes by cutting into bite sized cubes

 

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drizzle a bit of olive oil

 

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and a bit of salt. Nothing else needs be done to the potatoes.

 

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Be sure to take the chicken out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before baking, so as to allow them to come to room temperature.

 

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give it a final quick mix in the marinade before baking

 

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place drumsticks on a bed of potatoes and bake at 200° for 30-35 minutes

 

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about half way between baking time pull out the chicken and slather all the remaining marinade on top and under using tongs to rotate these pieces to get an even marination.

You won’t believe how good it smells.

 

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This is it! they’re done. Let them rest for a few minutes before chomping in. Tender, moist, juicy, succulent. They’re so delicious you’d have to find another word for delicious, and don’t even get me started on the potatoes that have soaked in the flavours from the marinade and turned into crispy pieces of delectable spuds. YUM!

 

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Ingredients

Chicken drumsticks: 3-4 in nos.

Potatoes: 2 in nos (1 sweet and 1 regular baking potato)

olive oil: 1 tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

For the marinade

Crushed garlic: 1 Tbsp (2-3 garlic cloves)

Dried oregano: 1 Tbsp

Cumin powder: 1 Tbsp

Paprika: 1 Tbsp

Crushed black pepper: 1/2 Tbsp

Salt: 1 tsp

Lemon juice: 2 Tbsps

Honey: 1 tsp

Olive oil: 4 Tbsps (60 mls)


Recipe instructions

Make slashes on the chicken drumsticks to the bone, especially on its thickest parts, and make sure the meat has no water sticking to it or dry it with a paper towel. This helps the marinade cling better.

For the marinade, mix all the spices, salt and crushed garlic in a bowl along with lemon juice, honey and olive oil. (the addition of honey doesn’t sweeten anything except balance the tartness and spiciness of the marinade). Give it a good mix until everything is well incorporated and toss in the chicken. Use tongs for even coverage of the mixture on the meat.

Cover and let rest in the fridge for a few hours before baking.

Pull it out of the refrigerator at least 10-15 minutes before baking time to let it come to room temperature, thus ensuring even baking.

Chop potatoes into bite sized cubes and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt. Cover baking tray with aluminium foil and place the potatoes and chicken drumsticks. Bake in a preheated oven at 200° for 30-35 minutes.

Halfway between baking time pull the chicken out of the oven and drizzle all the remaining marinade to coat or rather smother it, using tongs to flip the chicken on all sides to soak up the marinade.

Bake it for remaining time and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

NOTE: To know whether the chicken is done, insert a knife in the thickest part of the drumstick, and if the juices run clear then it’s cooked. If the juices are still red then you need to put it back into the oven.

Serve on a warm plate.

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Enjoy!!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Awesome breakfast sandwich


DSC_0768There’s no reason to call this an ‘awesome breakfast sandwich’ when this can be as easily called an ‘awesome brunch sandwich’, and does in fact serve as a fantastic brunch idea. It’s fast, filling and satisfying. Monstrously heaped with all things good, it’s indulgent, comforting and a fantastic fuel for moments when your body craves a morning laden with carbs and greasy crisp bacon.

No excuse ever needed for gorging thyself with bread, or sandwich, and this gorgeous tower of kindly extravagance can help sort of fill the voids in your sad mundane life, or pep up an already exciting one. It’s very versatile this sandwich; it doesn’t discriminate.

 

DSC_0730 copyif you were to edit bacon out of this picture, you’d have the ingredients for a a very veggie sandwich. There’s also mustard and mayonnaise but they’re working behind the scenes.

 

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I used the same skillet that had the bacon cooking, and wiped out most its grease.

 

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added an additional tablespoon of regular vegetable oil

 

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and tipped in my colorful medley of vegetables.

 

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a bit of salt to get them going

 

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sweat them on medium heat, cook for about ten minutes, until there’s a visibly pleasant shrinkage of the caramelized and cooked kinds.

 

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like so. The vegetables will be a bit watery at first, but as you keep cooking them low and slow, they will soften and become more flavourful.

 

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Take this slow vegetable cooking time to lather bread with mayonnaise and mustard

 

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and spread it about

 

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now for the lovely assembly. I have lined a baking sheet with parchment paper, because these sandwiches will get a short burst of heat in the oven and also because there is scant cleanup in case of any drips and melts. So, top the now lathered bread with lettuce leaves

 

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with the green leafage as a receptacle for our sandwich fillings, pile high the cooked vegetables.

 

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followed by crispy bacon. As many pieces as your conscience would allow. I do not have a conscience at the moment.

 

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you can grate some cheese, or tear and Jackson Pollock them about. This is sharp cheddar and I didn’t even do a good avant garde bit..let’s call it modern art , and top off with a smattering of pepper.

 

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blitz in the hot oven at 200°c for 10 minutes, and Voila! indecently luxurious and voluptuous with a big V sandwich. Life’s answer to an overwhelming need to feed your greed.


Ingredients

sliced bread or bread loaves

Bacon crisped: 4-5 rashers

Lettuce leaves : 4

mushrooms: 5-6 chopped

bell pepper:1/2 chopped

onion: 1 small chopped

salt: 1/2 tsp

mayonnaise: 1 tablespoon

mustard: 1 tsp

cheese: 3 tbsp

pepper: 1/2 tsp

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Recipe:

Cook the chopped vegetables over medium heat. Add salt and saute for ten minutes until caramelized and well cooked.

Spread mayonnaise and mustard over bread and top with lettuce, cooked vegetables, crisped bacon and cheese.

Bake in oven at 200°c for 10 minutes, until the cheese had melted, the lettuce has slightly wilted and the bottom of the bread has crisped.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Mint & tea sorbet


DSC_0722Since the gods are being all sorts of unkind with the sun, what with the blazing rays and scorching heat, it’s only natural to pour in copious amounts of coolants into your body, without skimping on the sugar.

This is where sorbets come into existence. Like feathery ice, kissing the insides of your mouth ever so daintily, melting softly on your tongue; sending shivers of exquisite chill to your temples. The flavours are so delicate that you’re forced to down a few dozen scoopfuls, before you realize you’re a being surreptitiously iced. Lighter than air, frozen sweets, they are like the elegant cousins to boisterous ice creams and much too easy to make.

Easier still if you have an ice cream/sorbet machine/maker, because making these sans modern contraptions takes away the chill factor from the sorbets, and you’re left churning semi frozen liquid every hour of the day, and we are not here for that. NO!

It’s about making life comfortable sometimes, and summers aren’t for survival of the self righteous. Summers are to chill, and that’s exactly what this sorbet is about. Accentuated with cool vibes of mint and earthy tones of tea, this is easier than going out to buy a frozen ice treat.

 

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I didn’t lay out ingredients this time, because this is much too easy. This is the beginning of a simple syrup. Sugar + water that you bring to a boil till all sugar is dissolved.

 

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like so. It’s hot, really hot so don’t go around poking your fingers in.

 

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throw in a pinch of salt.

 

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and fistfuls of mint, and a tea bag.

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cover and let it steep for half an hour

 

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fish out the tea bag and add in some lemon juice. Let it cool completely and transfer to a fridge for a few hours or overnight. The flavours mingle and intensify in the syrup.

 

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I let mine stay in the fridge overnight and the next day the mint leaves were weepy and the liquid was a fabulous murky brown.

 

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sieve into a clean bowl

 

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bring out the heavy machinery and we are en route to making joy

 

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turn on the machine, pour in the minty tea syrup (as per your machine instructions)

 

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a few seconds in and you can see the early beginnings of snow

 

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churning into polar beginnings of your personal sorbet

 

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twelve minutes in, and the syrup was a sweet scrunched ice berg

 

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the glacial quality of this bowl was an indication enough to stop. Took about fifteen minutes.

 

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This sorbet right here, in its most sherbet form is good enough to eat, but not quite frozen to the point you could scoop.

 

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transfer to a freezer safe container for a firmer consistency and freeze for a few hours. I let mine gestate for about four hours.

 

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scoop and serve.


Ingredients

Water: 800 mls (3 cups)

Sugar: 350 g (1.1/5 cup)

Mint leaves : 1 cup

lemon juice: 90mls (5 tbsp)

1 tea bag

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Recipe

Prepare a simple syrup with water and sugar by dissolving them in a sauce pan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved into the water.

To the syrup add in mint leaves and tea bag. Cover and let steep for half an hour.

Discard the tea bag and add lemon juice into the mixture. Once its completely cooled, transfer to a fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Strain the now chilled mixture and pour into ice cream maker according to machine to instructions.

 

Transfer sorbet into a freezer safe container for firmer consistency.

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enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast doughnut French toast


DSC_0469That’s right my darlings..doughnuts for breakfast, except these are actually French toasts masquerading as doughnuts..but do you care? They’re hot, coated thickly with cinnamon sugar and doused with your favourite toppings to make one heck of a breakfast meal.

They may not look much like doughnuts, but looks aren’t everything, and so you’ll understand as this recipe and your life progress. The best part about these toasts is that they take no time to conjure up and are so pleasantly imbued with the seraphic aroma of vanilla and cinnamon that you wouldn’t care about Mondays anymore. You do need to coat these in vulgar amounts of sugar and really that’s the charm of this breakfast. It’s breakfast after all and you can get away with a good lot of calories every morning..and honestly these pack a fraction of calories than doughnuts do. Once you’ve wolfed down these golden chunks of doughnut toasts you’ll look for excuses to make them all week.

 

DSC_0432 copyEggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, sugar and bread. That’s it. High rewards for such few ingredients.

 

DSC_0435This step doesn’t apply to those who live in a world of pre sliced breads. I used a stale baguette, and it does help a lot if you’ve a stale bread lying about the house dying to be used up.

 

DSC_0436Crack in the eggs and add milk

 

DSC_0438vanilla

 

DSC_0439and salt

 

DSC_0440mix, smear, whisk, besmirch the calm

 

DSC_0442and proceed to making the sugary coating with sugar

 

DSC_0443and cinnamon

 

DSC_0445and lo! cinnamon sugar. Alchemy I tell you.

 

DSC_0446melt a fat knob of butter in your pan over medium heat

 

DSC_0447and dunk the bread in eggy pool of golden promises.Let it stay  in there for at least half a minute. It’ll start drinking in the eggs.

 

 

DSC_0452Turn them over to let the other side soak up the sun.

 

DSC_0453and whoa! all the egg’s been absorbed by these little babies

 

DSC_0449the butter should be nicely frothing

 

DSC_0455transfer the eggy toast to the pan to cook to a nice golden tan.

 

DSC_0456just a couple minutes

 

DSC_0458Mmm..golden and gorgeous.

 

DSC_0460once these are cooked on both sides, let them cool for a few seconds before transferring them or rather slathering them with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

 

DSC_0461Coat all sides, roll them into the sugar if you have to. Be barbaric about it.

 

DSC_0467et voilà..we have doughnut french toast. These are fantastic to eat just as they are, but if you want to add a bit of luxury to the richness then please do not restrain yourself as you go totally berserk.

 

DSC_0471bathe it with chocolate syrup

 

DSC_0472cloak it with your favourite fruit jam/marmalade or preserve

 

DSC_0482or how about chunks of banana drowned in maple syrup?

These are just a few things you can do to make these remarkable doughnut french toast into a morning treat.

———————

Ingredients

Eggs: 2

Milk: 30 mls (2 tbsps)

salt: 1/4 tsp

Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

Sugar: 50g (1/4cup)

Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp

Bread: 2-4 slices

Butter: 1 tbsp

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Recipe instructions: Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and salt.

In a separate plate mix together the cinnamon and sugar.

Begin melting butter in a frying pan to cook the toasts.

Dunk the bread slices in the eggy mixture on both sides until they’re well coated.

Transfer to hot frying pan and cook until both sides are golden.

Wait a few seconds before transferring into cinnamon sugar mixture and coat the toasts well on both sides.

Eat as they are or top with your favourite fruits, syrups or jams.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

No woe brownies


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Brownies as a rule work as devilish little mood elevator charms, and although there never can be one perfect recipe, these chocolate sodden, nuts bejeweled diabolical squares are indeed moan inducing. The reason these are called no woe brownies is because they’re the perfect antidote to many a life’s sads. They will diminish most of your life worries, though these do tend to have a rather crack life after effect, and you might be swayed to do something absolutely indecorous..but that shouldn’t stop you from either committing to that act or making these exquisite squares of forbidden pleasures. Not only do these little babies lusciously gratify your most carnal cravings, they also do double duty as your sinning needs..so if you’re one of those straight-laced, down on your luck decent ones out there, baking and ingesting one of these is guaranteed to write you off as one dirty sinner, because these brownies are in fact the miscreant adulterers of all food groups.

Now these are called no woe brownies and they are but for the little side effect that these will make you fat, and what could be more woeful than that? on the other hand if you eat another one of these, you might not feel so bad after all, and they are the perfect remedy for an aching heart.

Let’s be absolutely clear that these are not the cakey brownie kinds, I mean what’s even the point of a cakey brownie when you might as well just eat a cake. No sir..these are dense, fudgey, and every bite is packed with chunks of sweet divinity, because these have three different kinds of chocolate components.

 

DSC_0312 copy

bring on all the good stuff..chocolate chunks or chips separated into two heaps, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, cocoa powder, butter, chopped salted pistachios, sugar and coffee granules.

 

DSC_0313This is an easy easy recipe..all can me made into one bowl, and an oval bowl doesn’t really help much. So butter diced into chunks

 

DSC_0314and chunks of chocolate part-1. This one is meant for melting purposes with the butter. You can either melt the butter and chocolate over heating water in a heat proof bowl or melt in a microwave, in 30 second bursts.

 

DSC_0316add in the coffee granules. These make the chocolate more chocolatey.

 

DSC_0317this is what you get. satan’s swimming pool. Take a dip and salvation..or you can make brownies.

 

DSC_0319add in the sugar

 

DSC_0320mix well. You’ll see that the sugar doesn’t really dissolve and that’s alright, because everything will come together just fine.

 

DSC_0322crack in the eggs, one at a time and mix well before adding another.

 

DSC_0323make sure to incorporate the eggs well into the batter and you’ll end up with something like this.

 

DSC_0324add in the vanilla

 

DSC_0325and the cocoa powder and mix

 

DSC_0326add in the flour

 

DSC_0327chocolate chunks that are supposed to stay as chunks in here

 

DSC_0329and finally in with the salted nuts. It’s the salted nuts that add another dimension and elevate these brownies from fantastic to ecstatic.

 

DSC_0330mix it all in well. Ah, this marvelous mound of magnificence.

 

DSC_0331scrape the batter into a buttered baking tray

 

DSC_0332smooth well and bake at 180°C for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean

 

DSC_0340ah…sigh!!! cut into squares if you care to share, or just dive in with a fork.

 

DSC_0345here it is..in a rueful light..

____________________________________________________________________

Ingredient amounts

Flour: 70g (1/2 cup)

Butter: 120g (1/2 cup)

Chocolate dark (for melting): 170g (1 heaped cup)

Chocolate chunks (milk or dark): 90g (1/2 cup)

Cocoa powder: 30g (1/4 cup)

Eggs: 3

Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

Coffee granules: 1 tablespoon

Salted pistachio: 70g (heaped 3/4cup)- you can use any salted nuts of your preference. salted peanuts would be great here too.

————————————————–

Recipe instructions:  melt the butter, coffee granules and dark chocolate over a heat proof bowl or into a microwave. Add in sugar and mix briefly. Crack in the eggs, one at a time and mix thoroughly. (Let the mixture cool before adding in the eggs)

Add in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, flour, chocolate chunks and salted nuts. Mix until well incorporated.

Scrape into a buttered baking tray and bake at 180°C for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean

DSC_0369if this doesn’t push you into the kitchen with a slab of chocolate in hand..you don’t deserve to sin.

 

 

 

Venetian carrot cake


 

DSC_1379In case anyone was wondering about my exile and the painfully invisible void I’d left in the world of food blogs, then let me tell you, it was only temporary..and though I might not be back with a bang, I am back with a gluten free (gasp) venetian carrot cake, the credit for which as much as I’d like to take isn’t mine to take at all but Nigella Lawson’s, and it’s her recipe I’ve adapted to make this unbelievable sphere (albeit sort of flat) of damp richness.

This is a carrot cake and it’s unapologetically..umm carroty? and absolutely gluten free, which is to say it does not require any flour, and as hipster as it sounds, we can take some solace in that it’s not vegan..though I promise nothing. On days of rage, I’ve been known to torture myself with vegan food stuff. But that’s another story for another torture chamber, because right now let’s marvel in the blistering warmth of this buff coloured cake, which sings to your soul and pleases your senses with such luxurious notes, that you’re left wondering whether you should eat this cake or marry it.

DSC_1328 copy

So without further ado, we’ve the ingredients. Sugar, olive oil, vanilla extract, beaten eggs, almond meal, shredded carrots, pine nuts, lemon, lemon zest, raisins and rum (not pictured)

Just because a cake’s got almond meal which sometimes you don’t readily get at your grocery store, does not mean you put off baking this amber coloured love disc. You’ve only to blitz almonds to get almond meal you know. It’s rocket science, but you can get around to it.

DSC_1331before we get started, put the raisins in with the rum and bring to a boil and let simmer gently for 3 minutes, after which turn off your heat and let the raisins plump up and cool.

 

DSC_1333 into a bowl of choice, add olive oil and sugar

 

DSC_1335and beat it for at least a couple of minutes. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable activity, I assure you.

 

DSC_1336beat until you’ve incorporated the sugar with the oil

 

DSC_1341mix in the eggs

 

DSC_1339followed closely by vanilla extract

 

DSC_1347and the zest

 

DSC_1348and lemon juice

 

DSC_1343mix well, until you’ve a summery ripple of golden ooze that speaks radiance in shiny ribbons.

 

DSC_1344tip in the now cooled swollen raisins along with any rum that’s it’s been standing in.

 

DSC_1349finally the almond meal

 

DSC_1350and the grated carrots

 

DSC_1354mix well, until everything’s incorporated and there’re no dry pockets.

 

DSC_1356scrape the mixture into a prepared cake tin. This is a springform pan

DSC_1330prepared simply means you’ve oiled the sides and the bottom and stuck a wax/butter/parchment paper on the base and oiled it as well.

DSC_1357now, with the careless abandon of abundance, strew the top with pine nuts

 

DSC_1358liberally or not..entirely up to you and bake at 180°C for 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. As long as it’s sticky and not runny, you’re good.

 

DSC_1360once done, let it cool before you devour..always a good practice.

 

DSC_1383and behold! the answer to dreary winter months, the saviour of one too many dinnerless nights..or just a sponge to wipe your tears, while you wallow in the dull ache of loneliness in your bed. A cake of such splendour and sumptuous depths that you’d kick yourself for sharing it. It’ll light you up on the inside, and how can it not?

_________________

Ingredients

 

  • carrots-2 medium  (about 200g)

  • pine nuts -3 tbsp
  • raisins-75g (1/2 cup)

  • rum- 60ml

  • sugar- 150g (3/4cup)

  • olive oil (regular)- 125ml (1/2 cup)

  • eggs-3
  • vanilla extract- 1 tsp

  • almond meal- 250g (2.5 cup)

  • lemon- 1/2 (zest and juice)

______________________________________________

Preparation

In a saucepan bring to a boil the rum and raisins and let simmer gently. Turn off the heat and let them stand and cool.  Grate the carrots and absorb any excess liquid with a kitchen towel.

Into a bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until well mixed. add in the eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and the now cooled rum and raisins, and mix well. Finally fold in the almond meal and grated carrots.

Scrape into a prepared cake tin, and cover the top with pine nuts. Bake 180°C for 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. As long as it’s sticky and not runny, you’re good. Let it rest for at lest ten minutes before removing it from its cake pan. Let it cool completely and enjoy

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