Has anyone missed my recipes? I apologise for my hiatus but I have not had time to blog my recipes for the last 3 months. I didn't have time to even try new recipes with my own twisted version of them. But I made time for this recipe as it simply had to be posted.
My older 16year old girl had just completed her mid-term exams and was bored with too much time in her hands. She decided to venture into the kitchen to try her hand at baking instead of her usual scrambled eggs or spinach banana smoothies. She came across this one bowl easy brownie recipe and turned out fabulous! Never mind my kitchen which looked like a tornado has just passed through. Never mind the cleaning I had to do after. I enjoyed it tremendously. This recipe is really worth sharing here on my blog. Of course, I replaced 1 cup of caster sugar with a mix of 1/2 cup caster and 1/2 cup brown sugar, to avoid that cloyingly sweet aftertaste.
The key to getting really choclatey ooey gooey fudgy brownies? A few points to note :
Yields 18 squares
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tbsp canola/sunflower oil
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract/essence
1/2 cup plain/all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
A few crushed pieces of walnut/cocoa buttons (if you prefer nut-free brownies)
1. Preheat oven to 175deg C. Spray cooking spray onto 10 x 6 inch flat brownie baking tin and line with baking paper. Set aside. Whisk the melted butter, oil and the sugar for 1-2 mins.
2) Add the eggs and vanilla essence and whisk further for another 1-2 mins.
3) Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Do it over the butter egg mix for a one bowl less clean up baking.
4) Add the sieved flour and cocoa to the butter egg mix. Mix well but do not over mix. You can add walnuts at this point.
5) Pour the batter onto the prepared baking tin.
6) Top with cocoa buttons or more crushed walnuts. Bake at the top shelf for excatly 21 mins. Remove, let it cool for 10 mins and cut into squares. Enjoy for a sweet after dinner treat.
A twist to our regular banana cake with the substitution of half the salf raising flour with Almond flour. My banana cakes are very light as they are low in sugar and I only use canola oil. With this change, a slightly rich and moisture rich banana cake ensued. Try it to believe it!!
Ingredients (yields two 7 x 2 inch high cakes or one 7 x 4inch high cake )
4 over ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
130ml canola oil
125gm self raising flour
125gm almond flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
150gm caster sugar
25gm almond slivers and extra for the top
This is one of the recipes I hae learnt recently in a shortcrust pastry baking course in June. Held over 5 days from 8-2pm, I learnt Apple Cranberry Pie, Flan Parisian, Tarte Normande, Tarte Bourdaloue and Quiche Lorraine... the latter two were the ones that brought me to my knees (with all that butter and cream!). I devoured with my family as soon as I brought them home.
Tarte Bourdaloue is a classic pear and almond tart and originates from Paris in 1906. I omitted the pears this time I didn't have any preserved pears at home. So what resulted was an Almond Cream Tart which is equally delicious. Don't be alarmed by the number of ingredients and steps. What results is a beautiful decadent tart which you can enjoy for days :)
I will make the classic Tarte Bourdaloue in one of the future blog posts.
Ingredients (yields a 8inch round tart)
200gm plain flour
100gm unsalted butter
2gm vanilla essence
Almond Cream Filling
60gm softened butter
60gm ground almond
10gm plain flour
2 gm vanilla essence
1 cup almond flakes/almond slivers
40gm Apricot glaze (for the shine - optional)
1) First and foremost, cut the butter into cubes, put them in a small bowl and place them in the freezer. I can't emphasize how important it is that the butter is ice cold. It can't be soft as then it would affect the pastry dough texture. It will not hold itself well and will crack easily in the later stages.So, please please make sure the butter is hard and frozen.
Sieve the plain flour, sugar and salt.. After sifting, put these ingredients into a mixing bowl.
2) Now, take out the hard cubes of butter from the freezer and place them into the mixing bowl with the flour mixture. Use a plastic scrapper for 5 mins to break the butter into the flour.
3) Working very quickly so that the dough still remains cold, use your finger tips to get a flaky dough texture like glass shards.
4) Mix the egg, ice water and vanilla essence in a another small bowl pour this mix into the butter dough.
5) Knead the entire mix quickly into a ball. Don't over knead.
6) Using your cleaned kitchen counter or a pastry mat, sprinkle a little flour (don't use too much flour - this will result in a hard dough) and crush the dough little by little using the heels of your palm. This is called fraisaging.
7) Continue fraisaging until all the dough is used up.
8) Again, working very quickly, join the fraisaged dough pieces into a round lump. then wrap in cling wrap. Keep it in a chiller for 20mins.
9) At this juncture, preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Start preparing the almond cream. Cream (beat with a wooden spoon) the softened butter by hand for a few minutes. Sieve the flour, ground almonds and sugar and then add this to the creamed butter. Cream again for another 2 mins. Mix the beaten egg and vanilla essence in a small bowl.. then add a little at a time (like 1/3 at a time). Mix well till well combined. Set aside in a cool place.
10) Take the chilled dough after 20 mins and roll it out on a slightly floured surface. It shouldn't be too thick and should be big enough to fit into a 8 inch tart ring or pan.
11) Butter the ring or a tart pan. Then place the rolled out flat dough into the ring gently and carefully. Smooth the dough into the ring and press along the edges. Trim off any extra dough using a rollling pin to go over the top of the ring. If there are holes or parts where the dough has been stretched out too thin, patch it up with small pieces of dough.
12) Pour in the almond cream and spread it out evenly.
13) Top with almond slivers/flakes.
14) If there is any extra dough and almond cream, make mini versions of this almond cream tart.
15) Pop the big tart and the mini ones into the oven for 25-35 mins till the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let it cool down for 10mins. If you are using the apricot glaze, warm the glaze in a small pot till it reaches jam consistency. Then, brush over the tart. Enjoy delicious Almond Cream Tart!
My sister's husband Shahid was kind and generous to order for my family a crate of sweet Pakistani Chaunsa mangoes recently. Chaunsa mangoes are exceptionally sweet, succulent, almost fibreless and emit a wonderful sweet fragrance. They are commonly called the 'King of Mangoes'. What better way to use so many of them (there were 8!) then to use them in a refreshing smoothie perfect for hot summer days? Simple and quick and so so refreshing. I didn't add any water as I wanted it to be thick and creamy as a dessert.
Ingredients (yields 3-4 ice cream cups)
400gm Mango pulp (roughly 2 large ripe mangoes)
300gm plain yoghurt
30gm brown sugar
8-12 ice cubes
2 tbsp chopped pistachios for garnish
1) Get all the ingredients ready.
2) Blend all the ingredients (except the chopped pistachios) till they are all well incorporated and till you get a thick creamy smoothie. Chill further, garnish just before serving and enjoy!
Dates are in season again as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is upon us. Fasting is mandatory in Islam for all Muslims and we must not eat or drink (not even a sip of water) from sunrise to sunset. It is certainly a very testing month of our faith for all Muslims but we somehow manage and soon the 30 days get over and we get back to our regular eating. Dates are always eaten when breaking the fast at sunset because dates are highly nutritious (dates are very rich in iron, manganese, potassium and copper). It is recommended to eat 2-3 dates when breaking fast because dates provide the body with natural sugar, helping to restore the low blood sugar after fasting all day. And it helps to kickstart the digestive process.
So, I happen to be in a supermarket the other day and was thrilled to see boxes and boxes of dates displayed all ready for the approaching fasting month. I quickly grabbed two boxes and brought them home only to have my husband requesting a loaf/bread/cake or bars using the dates. You see, its always a challenge to please my husband's taste buds when it comes to confectionaries because he is so particular about the usage of butter, sugar and eggs. So whatever recipe I come across online, I have to tweak it to replace the butter (for this recipe I used coconut oil), eggs and reduce or sometimes completely omit the sugar. And I am not always successful.
The following recipe gives a no-butter no-egg Date and Walnut Oatmeal Crumble - essentially a date and nut filling sandwiched between two layers of crispy crumb mixture.
Ingredients (Yields around 18 crumbled squares)
For the Crumb Base and Topping
1 3/4 cups rolled oats (or even fruit-free muesli)
1/2 cup brown granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup coconut oil
For the Date Filling
250 gm dates
1/4 cup brown granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup grated white coconut
1) Firstly, you have to pit and chop the dates into small pieces. This is the most time consuming step of this whole recipe.
2) Then, place the chopped dates, water and brown sugar into a small pot. Boil till the dates become soft and mushy. This will take roughly 5 mins on low heat. You can mash the date mix to speed up the process.
3) Then, add in the chopped walnuts, grated coconut, vanilla and coconut oil and give it a good mix.
4) Switch off and let this date mixture cool.
5) Take a medium sized mixing bowl and add all the ingredients - plain flour, rolled oats or fruit free muesli, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and coconut oil. Mix it well and divide into 2 portions.
6) Spread out half the crumb mixture into a greased 10inch by 6inch glass baking dash.
7) This will be followed by the date filling. Use your fingers, to spread it out evenly, if you need to. That's exactly what I did!
8) Top off with the remaining crumb mixture and spread it out evenly.
9) The side view.
10) Bake in a preheated oven for 30-45 mins at 180 deg C or 350 deg F. Once baked, let it cool down bwfore slicing the block into squares.
11) It wasn't easy to cut into perfect squares because of the sticky date filling but they tasted so delicious! The sweet filling complemented the not-so sweet crumb mixture very well.
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.