Monday, 28 July 2014

423. Green chilli bhajia/bajji

 The more that you read, the more things you will know. 

The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

Dr. Suess

   I cannot claim to be a voracious reader, but I do love reading. I love reading fiction, and usually read books recommended by friends or family. I love reading stories based on true life but am open to reading thrillers, science fiction, romance etc. I tend to read at my own pace, sometimes just a couple of pages sometimes an entire chapter, depends on how interesting I find the story. Stories have a tendency to transport one to another world, re kindle your fantasy, create imagination and above all know a bit more about cultures, the world, different people etc. Recently I finished reading  The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. He is a Kenyan author and this is the first book of his that I have read. I want to read his other books, Weep Not Child, A Grain of Wheat, Petals of Blood to name a few. I loved his simple way of writing but getting the message across clearly. The River in Between is about two sects of a tribe faced with new religion by the early white settlers. Torn between old customs and new religion, its a story about how one young man from the Gikuyu tribe envisions a new way forward by educating the tribe and unifying both the Makuyu and Kameno. 






GREEN CHILLI BHAJIA
Makes 12 -15

½ cup moong flour (green gram flour) or besan flour (chickpea flour)
2 tbsp rice flour
½ -¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp hot oil
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp ajwain (ajmo, carom seeds)
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
12 to 15 long green chillis
about ½ - ⅔ cup water
a small pinch of baking soda (soda bicarbonate)

oil for deep frying


  1. Wash the green chillis and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Slit the chilli on one side. Remove the seeds.
  3. Mix the flours, spices, oil and water to make a smooth batter.
  4. Heat the oil for frying in a wok, karai over medium heat.
  5. Dip one chilli in the batter and put it into the hot oil.
  6. Add 3 to 4 more chillis.
  7. Fry till golden brown.
  8. Remove the chillis with a slotted spoon into a colander or a paper towel lined plate.
  9. Fry the rest of the chillis and serve hot.
Tips:
  • Use chillis that are not chilli.
  • To remove the seeds I tend to scrap the chilli from tip to head with a pointed knife.
  • Fill chillis with a mixture of salt and ajwain before dipping them in the batter.
  • The batter should not be too thick or too thin. It should coat the chilli.
  • To test whether the oil is hot, drop a bit of batter in the oil. If it comes up immediately, the oil is ready.
You may want to check out the following:

kachoris

pani puri

arvi paan bhajia
Sending this recipe for the following event:

DishItOut

Sunday, 27 July 2014

422. fresh orange iced tea

Eid Mubarak



        Wishing all fellow bloggers, followers and friends a very happy Eid. Lets pray that there is a conscious effort to maintain and bring peace world over, we don't need more innocent people being killed, we don't need to be scared of coming out of our homes to carry out every day chores and above all in this very short life that God has granted us we need to be more loving and tolerant towards other cultures.
        For the past few months, life in Mombasa is not what we have known for so many years- a sleepy, friendly, happy coastal town. Grenades in buses, on the beach, killings in villages around, has changed Mombasa forever. Every day Julius our house help voices his fear that crossing the Likoni Channel by ferry is a great risk as they fear someone maybe carrying a bomb. Security checks are not enough. The term Raha Mombasa is no more applicable to this tourist town. Raha in kiswahili means happiness or joy. People are not happy, jobs are scarce as tourism is dead. With this comes more insecurity. We are hoping the the government is bending backwards to improve security in the Coast region, considering that tourism is suppose to be the second biggest earner for the country. Lets pray for amani (peace).

                                                             empty Bamburi Beach
        
Eid is just a couple of hours away, family and friends will meet up and wish everyone the best. Welcome them to your house with this refreshing drink.

FRESH ORANGE ICED TEA
Serves 2

1 cup boiling water
1 cup fresh orange juice
3-4 sprigs of fresh mint
1 tea bag or ½ tsp loose tea leaves
1 tsp sugar or honey or artificial sweetener
ice cubes
a couple of fresh mint leaves
a slice or two of orange

  1. Put boiling water in a jug or container.
  2. Add tea and mint. Mix.
  3. Cover the container and let the tea and mint infuse in the water.
  4.  When it is cool, strain the mixture.
  5. Add sugar, honey or artificial sweetener.
  6. Add fresh orange juice.
  7. Mix and leave it in the fridge to cool.
  8. To serve, fill the glass with ice cubes and top up with the orange tea.
  9.  Serve with fresh mint.
Tips:
  • Chop up the mint roughly to get more flavour out of it.
  • Add basil instead of mint.
  • I prefer to use loose tea leaves as it gives a better taste and colour of tea.
  • If you prefer more orange taste, add more orange.
  • Add orange zest for extra flavour.
You may want to check out the following:

orange basil drink

Thursday, 24 July 2014

421. Gibassier

J'adore ce pain

      The July challenge from the we knead to bake group  was Gibassier (pronounced as zee-bah-see-ay). This aromatic, delicious, rich, breakfast bread or pastry hails from the Lourmarin village in the Provence region of France. It is usually flavoured with candied orange peel, orange zest, orange blossom water and anise seeds (fennel seeds). It is brushed with clarified butter and sprinkled with caster sugar. It is believed that the doughnut like bread or pastry got its name from the mountain Le Gibas that can be seen in the horizon of the village. For more information about this delicious bread or cookie as some in France call it visit Aparna's blog, My Diverse Kitchen.
      I was doing more research on the bread on the internet and hubby dear comes to see what has got me so engrossed. He saw the photos and asked, do they have a special machine to shape this bread, it looks so beautiful. Its really heartening to know my hubby is taking a keen interest in what  I am doing especially when he knows that I love baking. He encourages me in every step that I take to better my life.
      When I made the bread and he saw the shapes of the gibassier, he was like a little kid, couldn't make up his mind which one to try first. He loved the flavours. I am also grateful that my kaki had sometime back given me a bottle of the orange blossom water. Never had heard about it till she gave it to me. I did a bit of research and came to conclusion that it is widely used in the Arabian desserts. I was surprised to read that it is popular also in other regions of the world. While baking the bread, the whole house was filled with the aroma of orange and anise seeds. The bread can be made with a lot of variations where the slits and cuts are concerned. It was easier making the cuts with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors and the slits were easy to make with a plastic spatula. I made an eggless version and with eggs.Both turned out well.









GIBASSIER
 Makes 12
Recipe source: My Diverse Kitchen
Adapted from : CirilHitz’s Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads

Pre- ferment or biga:
1½ cups bread flour or plain flour( all purpose flour)
½ cup warm milk
a generous pinch of instant dry active yeast

Dough:
3¼ cup bread flour or plain flour(all purpose flour)
½ cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
1¾ tsp instant dry active yeast
2 tsp anise seeds (fennel seeds, valiyari)
1 tsp grated orange zest (peel)
½ cup candied orange peel
2 eggs 
2 tbsp orange blossom water
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
¼ cup olive oil
4½ tbsp butter cold but not too hard
all of the pre - ferment or biga

For glazing and dusting:
½ cup clarified butter (ghee) or melted butter
⅓-½ cup caster sugar

Preparation of the pre- ferment:
  1. Mix the flour, milk and yeast into a dough. It should be smooth and not hard. If need be add a little bit more milk.
  2. Cover the dough and leave it in a warm place to ferment for 14 to 16 hours. Its best to make the pre ferment the previous night.
Preparation of the bread dough:
  1. Put the flour in a big bowl. Add sugar, salt, anise seeds, orange zest and yeast. Mix well.
  2. In another bowl whisk lightly the eggs or milk, orange blossom water, olive oil and warm orange juice. Yes, its important to warm up the juice if you are using it.
  3. Tear the biga into smaller pieces. Add all of it to the flour and mix gently.
  4. Add the liquid and knead into a dough.
  5. Add the cold butter little by little as you knead the dough. I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes till it was smooth.
  6. Add the candied orange peel and knead it into the dough. Shape it into a big round ball.
  7. Oil the big bowl lightly. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover it or wrap a cling film. Leave it in a warm place till it becomes double the size. Mine took about 2 hours.
  8. Gently knead down the dough using your knuckles. 
  9. Divide the dough into 12 parts and roll it into a ball. They should be about the size of a golf ball.
  10. Line the baking trays with parchment paper or lightly butter it.
  11. Now the exciting part, to shape the gibassier. Take one ball and using your hands spread it into an oval shape. Can use a rolling pin if you like. Using a spatula, make a slit in the middle and then on either side. Using a pair of scissors make short cuts at the edges, about 4 in between the slits. I like the way its explained so clearly on this site. Take the cut and slit dough into your hand and pull it ever so gently on both sides to give that unique shape. Place it on the prepared tray. Make sure the slits are wide open otherwise they will fill up on fermenting.
  12. I also made another shape, like a flower. Roll one ball into a round shape. Make 5 cuts using a pair of scissors two third of the way, and in between each cut make a slit using a spatula. Got the idea from this site.
  13. Let the shaped dough rise for 30 to 40 minutes. I left mine for 40 minutes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  15. Place the trays with the ferment bread into the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are light golden brown.
  16. Brush the tops with clarified butter or melted butter.
  17. Sprinkle sugar over them.
  18. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool a bit.
  19. Serve warm with a nice cup of coffee or tea.
Tips:
  • Make sure you make the slits wide enough.
  • To make an eggless version add milk instead. I used about ½ cup of warm milk.
  • Grate the cold butter, its so much easier using it to rub into flour. Got this tip while watching Micheal Smith work in his kitchen on telly.
  • Can make one big flat shape either round or oval and make slits in the middle. 
You may want to check out the following:


braided pesto bread
petit pains au lait


komaj

Sending this recipe to the following event:



My Diverse Kitchen



Sumee's Culinary bites

Cooks Joy

         

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

420.braided pesto bread

aroma therapy

  While the bread was baking, the whole house was filled with the aroma of basil. My neighbour smelt basil all the way near the lift of our floor. She came to check what was cooking. Remember in my last post I mentioned that I made some pesto, well I used it to make some delicious bread which I wanted to bake for such a long time. Using biga to make the bread was the other temptation. Using biga makes the bread more flavourful. It gives more strength to weak flour. So the plain flour that we get in Kenya and India is quite weak compared to the ones available in the western countries. Its also amazing how two pinches of yeast can ferment a whole loaf of bread. Biga is the Italian word for preferment. Traditionally, bakers use a bit of the previous fermented dough to make a new batch. At home its easier to mix flour, water and a pinch of yeast to start the biga.The biga should appear wet and sticky. The biga is left covered with cling film at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours. I usually leave it overnight. Biga can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days. Remove from the fridge and leave it outside till it reaches room temperature. Biga can be frozen. To use it remove from the freezer and leave it at room temperature for 3 hours or until it is active and bubbly again. Usually the biga should be triple the original size.Other common names used are poolish (French), sponge, starter or simply preferment.Other flours can be used to make the preferment like rye, wholewheat, spelt, etc.
   So here is the recipe for the braided pesto bread and the pesto.








BRAIDED PESTO BREAD
1 loaf

PESTO SAUCE :
Makes about ½ cup

1 cup basil leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 -2 garlic cloves
4 tbsp parmesan  cheese
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

  1. Chop up the basil leaves roughly. 
  2. Add the leaves, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor. Process the mixture to a smooth or rough paste.
  3. Remove the paste into a bowl.
  4. Add salt, oil and cheese and mix it well.
PESTO BREAD 
Biga or Preferment:

½ cup plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour)
⅓ cup warm water
pinch of instant dry active yeast

Dough :
1½ cups wholewheat flour
1½ cups plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour)
all of the above biga
2 tbsp warm milk
1 cup warm water
pinch of instant dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

 extra flour for dusting
extra oil for greasing/ oiling

Preparation of biga:
  1. Mix flour, water and yeast with a wooden spoon. Pour it into an oiled container. Wrap it with cling film and let it ferment for 12 to 16 hours.
Preparation of the bread dough:
  1. Sift both the flours, salt, sugar and yeast together.
  2. Mix water and milk together.
  3. Rub oil into the flour.
  4. Add water and form a dough.
  5. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes till it is smooth and silky. Can use a dough machine to knead the dough if you like.
  6. Form the dough into a ball and rub oil over it.
  7. Grease a bowl with oil and place the dough in it.
  8. Cover with cling film and let it ferment in a warm place till it is double the size. This will take about 1½ - 2 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  10. Knead the dough gently. Dust a board or worktop with flour.
  11. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 12 X14 inches.
  12. Spread the pesto sauce all over it. 
  13. Roll the dough from the widest part into a swiss roll.
  14. Pinch the seam to close completely.
  15. Tuck in the ends.
  16. Place the rolled dough on a greased baking tray.
  17. Using a sharp knife or steel spatula, cut the roll into half lengthwise.
  18. Form a braid using the two parts. Leave it as a long braid or shape it into a wreath.
  19. Place the dough into the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  20. Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  21. Serve it with yummy soup or have it just the way it is.
Tips:
  • The biga will be glutinous. Try and break it into smaller portions and add to the flour.
  • If you find some of it is stuck to the container, add flour and rub it. Add to the main flour.
  • If your pesto sauce has lots of olive oil, strain it out. When you cut the bread, you don't the baking tray to be flooded with oil. Add the flavoured oil to dough for parathas, rotis, bread or pasta. 
  • Sprinkle the bread with more parmesan cheese before baking if you like.
You may want to check out the following:

basil garlic bread
feta  olive and basil bread

barley broccoli roll


Sending this recipe for the following events:





Tuesday, 22 July 2014

419. orange basil juice

fragrant and cooling
   Basil is a herb which is highly fragrant. Walk into a greengrocers shop and you will be able to smell basil if he/she is selling it. Related to the tulsi (holy basil) family, it tastes different from the tulsi. The name basil is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn which means royal. The name denotes that in the ancient culture it was considered a noble and sacred herb. Basil reduces swelling and inflammation, is rich in antioxidants and has anti aging properties. It has anti bacterial properties and is a rich source of Vitamins A and C, iron, manganese, calcium,potassium and magnesium. Basil is widely used in herbal teas,sandwiches,soups, with chicken, fish, pasta, meat, in salads by adding the leaves to the salad, or in a dressing. I simply love the herb basil. I have tried growing it in a pot but have not succeeded. But will keep on trying. Did you know that you can use basil infused water to dab on your face to combat pimples. Add a few leaves of basil to 1 cup hot water. When it cools, dab it on your face using a cotton wool. Leave it for 10 minutes.
   Our niece from Nairobi stayed with us for a couple of days with her hubby and daughter. She asked me what I wanted from Nairobi and the first thing I could think of was basil. I asked her to bring some for me, specifying that I just needed little and not too much. She bought so many bunches. Some I used to prepare pasta, some I used to make pesto and some I froze it, for future use. I left about a handful in the fridge to make a basil and mint lemon drink. However, the idea cropped up that why not add it to the fresh orange juice. I did that and loved the juice, it was cooling and full of fragrance and refreshing. Try it, am sure you will love it.

basil : Close-up view on a fresh basil bouquet.





ORANGE BASIL JUICE
2 servings

2 cups of fresh orange juice
10 to 12 basil leaves (about ½ cup)
ice cubes

  1. Chop the basil leaves roughly.
  2. Add the leaves and orange juice into a blender.
  3. Process till the leaves appeared crushed.
  4. Pour into serving glasses.
  5. Top with ice cubes and serve.
Tips:
  • Basil turns very fast compared to other herbs. To store them in the freezer for future use, wash the leaves, pat them try on a towel. Put them in a ziploc and put it in the freezer. Take out the required amount as and when you need it.
  • Make pesto sauce and store in the fridge. Use the sauce when preparing pasta, chicken, fish, meat, sandwiches, salad dressings etc.
  • Add fresh basil to your dish towards the end of cooking to preserve fragrance.
You may want to check out the following :

basil mint lemon drink
Sending this recipe for the following event:

DishItOut


418. corn and beans quesadilla

Tragedy

  The world was shocked on July 17th. The news that the Malaysian Airline MH 17 was shot down while flying over the Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur left the world in a state of shock. A buk missile shot it down near the border of Russia and Ukraine. Who is at fault will take forever to find out but in the meantime a nation has to once again in a span of four months face the tragedy of losing yet another aircraft full of passengers. Families and friends have to mourn the dead. None of those passengers had anything direct to do with the fight between Ukraine and Russia and yet they all paid with their precious lives. So many questions cropped up in my mind... how was a plane flying over 33,000 ft shot down by a missile. How destructive are all these war weapons? If Ukraine was a problem spot, how come the plane was allowed to take that flight path? Who is responsible for this? Will the world just sit back or will action be taken against the guilty? Just 4 months ago a whole plane MH 370 disappeared under mysterious conditions. It just vanished completely with all its passengers and crew. How is that possible? 
   All these incidences just acts as a reminder to all of us that life is unpredictable and short. Its not time to hold grudges, speak ill of others and waste life in meaningless talk. Life reminds us to put into action whatever good we want to achieve.

A person's a person, no matter however small - Dr. Suess






CORN AND BEANS QUESADILLA
Makes 10

Wheat flour tortillas:
2 cups wheat flour (atta)
½ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ - 1 cup warm water
3 tbsp soft butter

extra flour for dusting 
extra oil for shallow frying

Filling:
1 cup cooked sweet corn
1 cup cooked red kidney beans (or beans of your choice)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup diced onion
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp olive oil
¼- ¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preparation of the tortilla:

  1. Sift the flours, salt and baking powder together into a bowl.
  2. Add butter and rub it into the flour.
  3. Add water and form the flour into a soft dough. It should not be too sticky or too hard.
  4. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel or cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat a frying pan or tawa over medium heat.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 parts.
  7. Roll each part into a ball.
  8. Using some extra flour, roll one ball into a circle of nearly 8 to 9 inches.
  9. Put it onto the hot tawa. Roast lightly on one side till small brown specks appear. Flip it over and roast the other side.
  10. Keep in wrapped in a tea towel so that it does not get dry.
  11. Repeat steps 8 to 10 using the rest of the dough.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir fry the onions for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add the garlic paste and mix well.
  4. Add mushroom slices and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked corn and beans. Mix well.
  6. Let the mixture cool down completely.
  7. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes, oregano and coriander.
  8. Mix well.
Final preparation:
  1. Take one tortilla. Put about 2 tbsp of the filling on one half of the tortilla.
  2. Add  about 2 to 3 tbsp of the grated cheese.
  3. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling. Press down gently.
  4. Place the filled tortilla over the frying pan or tawa.
  5. Drizzle about one teaspoon of oil around it and cook it light brown specks are formed.
  6. Flip it over gently and add more oil if needed and cook till light brown specks appear.
  7. Cut into half and serve with guacamole and salsa sauce.
Tips:
  • Add any vegetable of your choice.
  • Add any cheese of your choice.
  • You can use ready made tortillas.
You may want to check out the following:

veg enchiladas
mexican salad
Sending this recipe for the following events:





Monday, 28 July 2014

423. Green chilli bhajia/bajji

 The more that you read, the more things you will know. 

The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

Dr. Suess

   I cannot claim to be a voracious reader, but I do love reading. I love reading fiction, and usually read books recommended by friends or family. I love reading stories based on true life but am open to reading thrillers, science fiction, romance etc. I tend to read at my own pace, sometimes just a couple of pages sometimes an entire chapter, depends on how interesting I find the story. Stories have a tendency to transport one to another world, re kindle your fantasy, create imagination and above all know a bit more about cultures, the world, different people etc. Recently I finished reading  The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. He is a Kenyan author and this is the first book of his that I have read. I want to read his other books, Weep Not Child, A Grain of Wheat, Petals of Blood to name a few. I loved his simple way of writing but getting the message across clearly. The River in Between is about two sects of a tribe faced with new religion by the early white settlers. Torn between old customs and new religion, its a story about how one young man from the Gikuyu tribe envisions a new way forward by educating the tribe and unifying both the Makuyu and Kameno. 






GREEN CHILLI BHAJIA
Makes 12 -15

½ cup moong flour (green gram flour) or besan flour (chickpea flour)
2 tbsp rice flour
½ -¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp hot oil
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp ajwain (ajmo, carom seeds)
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
12 to 15 long green chillis
about ½ - ⅔ cup water
a small pinch of baking soda (soda bicarbonate)

oil for deep frying


  1. Wash the green chillis and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Slit the chilli on one side. Remove the seeds.
  3. Mix the flours, spices, oil and water to make a smooth batter.
  4. Heat the oil for frying in a wok, karai over medium heat.
  5. Dip one chilli in the batter and put it into the hot oil.
  6. Add 3 to 4 more chillis.
  7. Fry till golden brown.
  8. Remove the chillis with a slotted spoon into a colander or a paper towel lined plate.
  9. Fry the rest of the chillis and serve hot.
Tips:
  • Use chillis that are not chilli.
  • To remove the seeds I tend to scrap the chilli from tip to head with a pointed knife.
  • Fill chillis with a mixture of salt and ajwain before dipping them in the batter.
  • The batter should not be too thick or too thin. It should coat the chilli.
  • To test whether the oil is hot, drop a bit of batter in the oil. If it comes up immediately, the oil is ready.
You may want to check out the following:

kachoris

pani puri

arvi paan bhajia
Sending this recipe for the following event:

DishItOut

Pin It

Sunday, 27 July 2014

422. fresh orange iced tea

Eid Mubarak



        Wishing all fellow bloggers, followers and friends a very happy Eid. Lets pray that there is a conscious effort to maintain and bring peace world over, we don't need more innocent people being killed, we don't need to be scared of coming out of our homes to carry out every day chores and above all in this very short life that God has granted us we need to be more loving and tolerant towards other cultures.
        For the past few months, life in Mombasa is not what we have known for so many years- a sleepy, friendly, happy coastal town. Grenades in buses, on the beach, killings in villages around, has changed Mombasa forever. Every day Julius our house help voices his fear that crossing the Likoni Channel by ferry is a great risk as they fear someone maybe carrying a bomb. Security checks are not enough. The term Raha Mombasa is no more applicable to this tourist town. Raha in kiswahili means happiness or joy. People are not happy, jobs are scarce as tourism is dead. With this comes more insecurity. We are hoping the the government is bending backwards to improve security in the Coast region, considering that tourism is suppose to be the second biggest earner for the country. Lets pray for amani (peace).

                                                             empty Bamburi Beach
        
Eid is just a couple of hours away, family and friends will meet up and wish everyone the best. Welcome them to your house with this refreshing drink.

FRESH ORANGE ICED TEA
Serves 2

1 cup boiling water
1 cup fresh orange juice
3-4 sprigs of fresh mint
1 tea bag or ½ tsp loose tea leaves
1 tsp sugar or honey or artificial sweetener
ice cubes
a couple of fresh mint leaves
a slice or two of orange

  1. Put boiling water in a jug or container.
  2. Add tea and mint. Mix.
  3. Cover the container and let the tea and mint infuse in the water.
  4.  When it is cool, strain the mixture.
  5. Add sugar, honey or artificial sweetener.
  6. Add fresh orange juice.
  7. Mix and leave it in the fridge to cool.
  8. To serve, fill the glass with ice cubes and top up with the orange tea.
  9.  Serve with fresh mint.
Tips:
  • Chop up the mint roughly to get more flavour out of it.
  • Add basil instead of mint.
  • I prefer to use loose tea leaves as it gives a better taste and colour of tea.
  • If you prefer more orange taste, add more orange.
  • Add orange zest for extra flavour.
You may want to check out the following:

orange basil drink

Pin It

Thursday, 24 July 2014

421. Gibassier

J'adore ce pain

      The July challenge from the we knead to bake group  was Gibassier (pronounced as zee-bah-see-ay). This aromatic, delicious, rich, breakfast bread or pastry hails from the Lourmarin village in the Provence region of France. It is usually flavoured with candied orange peel, orange zest, orange blossom water and anise seeds (fennel seeds). It is brushed with clarified butter and sprinkled with caster sugar. It is believed that the doughnut like bread or pastry got its name from the mountain Le Gibas that can be seen in the horizon of the village. For more information about this delicious bread or cookie as some in France call it visit Aparna's blog, My Diverse Kitchen.
      I was doing more research on the bread on the internet and hubby dear comes to see what has got me so engrossed. He saw the photos and asked, do they have a special machine to shape this bread, it looks so beautiful. Its really heartening to know my hubby is taking a keen interest in what  I am doing especially when he knows that I love baking. He encourages me in every step that I take to better my life.
      When I made the bread and he saw the shapes of the gibassier, he was like a little kid, couldn't make up his mind which one to try first. He loved the flavours. I am also grateful that my kaki had sometime back given me a bottle of the orange blossom water. Never had heard about it till she gave it to me. I did a bit of research and came to conclusion that it is widely used in the Arabian desserts. I was surprised to read that it is popular also in other regions of the world. While baking the bread, the whole house was filled with the aroma of orange and anise seeds. The bread can be made with a lot of variations where the slits and cuts are concerned. It was easier making the cuts with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors and the slits were easy to make with a plastic spatula. I made an eggless version and with eggs.Both turned out well.









GIBASSIER
 Makes 12
Recipe source: My Diverse Kitchen
Adapted from : CirilHitz’s Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads

Pre- ferment or biga:
1½ cups bread flour or plain flour( all purpose flour)
½ cup warm milk
a generous pinch of instant dry active yeast

Dough:
3¼ cup bread flour or plain flour(all purpose flour)
½ cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
1¾ tsp instant dry active yeast
2 tsp anise seeds (fennel seeds, valiyari)
1 tsp grated orange zest (peel)
½ cup candied orange peel
2 eggs 
2 tbsp orange blossom water
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
¼ cup olive oil
4½ tbsp butter cold but not too hard
all of the pre - ferment or biga

For glazing and dusting:
½ cup clarified butter (ghee) or melted butter
⅓-½ cup caster sugar

Preparation of the pre- ferment:
  1. Mix the flour, milk and yeast into a dough. It should be smooth and not hard. If need be add a little bit more milk.
  2. Cover the dough and leave it in a warm place to ferment for 14 to 16 hours. Its best to make the pre ferment the previous night.
Preparation of the bread dough:
  1. Put the flour in a big bowl. Add sugar, salt, anise seeds, orange zest and yeast. Mix well.
  2. In another bowl whisk lightly the eggs or milk, orange blossom water, olive oil and warm orange juice. Yes, its important to warm up the juice if you are using it.
  3. Tear the biga into smaller pieces. Add all of it to the flour and mix gently.
  4. Add the liquid and knead into a dough.
  5. Add the cold butter little by little as you knead the dough. I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes till it was smooth.
  6. Add the candied orange peel and knead it into the dough. Shape it into a big round ball.
  7. Oil the big bowl lightly. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover it or wrap a cling film. Leave it in a warm place till it becomes double the size. Mine took about 2 hours.
  8. Gently knead down the dough using your knuckles. 
  9. Divide the dough into 12 parts and roll it into a ball. They should be about the size of a golf ball.
  10. Line the baking trays with parchment paper or lightly butter it.
  11. Now the exciting part, to shape the gibassier. Take one ball and using your hands spread it into an oval shape. Can use a rolling pin if you like. Using a spatula, make a slit in the middle and then on either side. Using a pair of scissors make short cuts at the edges, about 4 in between the slits. I like the way its explained so clearly on this site. Take the cut and slit dough into your hand and pull it ever so gently on both sides to give that unique shape. Place it on the prepared tray. Make sure the slits are wide open otherwise they will fill up on fermenting.
  12. I also made another shape, like a flower. Roll one ball into a round shape. Make 5 cuts using a pair of scissors two third of the way, and in between each cut make a slit using a spatula. Got the idea from this site.
  13. Let the shaped dough rise for 30 to 40 minutes. I left mine for 40 minutes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  15. Place the trays with the ferment bread into the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are light golden brown.
  16. Brush the tops with clarified butter or melted butter.
  17. Sprinkle sugar over them.
  18. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool a bit.
  19. Serve warm with a nice cup of coffee or tea.
Tips:
  • Make sure you make the slits wide enough.
  • To make an eggless version add milk instead. I used about ½ cup of warm milk.
  • Grate the cold butter, its so much easier using it to rub into flour. Got this tip while watching Micheal Smith work in his kitchen on telly.
  • Can make one big flat shape either round or oval and make slits in the middle. 
You may want to check out the following:


braided pesto bread
petit pains au lait


komaj

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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

420.braided pesto bread

aroma therapy

  While the bread was baking, the whole house was filled with the aroma of basil. My neighbour smelt basil all the way near the lift of our floor. She came to check what was cooking. Remember in my last post I mentioned that I made some pesto, well I used it to make some delicious bread which I wanted to bake for such a long time. Using biga to make the bread was the other temptation. Using biga makes the bread more flavourful. It gives more strength to weak flour. So the plain flour that we get in Kenya and India is quite weak compared to the ones available in the western countries. Its also amazing how two pinches of yeast can ferment a whole loaf of bread. Biga is the Italian word for preferment. Traditionally, bakers use a bit of the previous fermented dough to make a new batch. At home its easier to mix flour, water and a pinch of yeast to start the biga.The biga should appear wet and sticky. The biga is left covered with cling film at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours. I usually leave it overnight. Biga can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days. Remove from the fridge and leave it outside till it reaches room temperature. Biga can be frozen. To use it remove from the freezer and leave it at room temperature for 3 hours or until it is active and bubbly again. Usually the biga should be triple the original size.Other common names used are poolish (French), sponge, starter or simply preferment.Other flours can be used to make the preferment like rye, wholewheat, spelt, etc.
   So here is the recipe for the braided pesto bread and the pesto.








BRAIDED PESTO BREAD
1 loaf

PESTO SAUCE :
Makes about ½ cup

1 cup basil leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 -2 garlic cloves
4 tbsp parmesan  cheese
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

  1. Chop up the basil leaves roughly. 
  2. Add the leaves, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor. Process the mixture to a smooth or rough paste.
  3. Remove the paste into a bowl.
  4. Add salt, oil and cheese and mix it well.
PESTO BREAD 
Biga or Preferment:

½ cup plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour)
⅓ cup warm water
pinch of instant dry active yeast

Dough :
1½ cups wholewheat flour
1½ cups plain flour (bread flour, all purpose flour)
all of the above biga
2 tbsp warm milk
1 cup warm water
pinch of instant dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

 extra flour for dusting
extra oil for greasing/ oiling

Preparation of biga:
  1. Mix flour, water and yeast with a wooden spoon. Pour it into an oiled container. Wrap it with cling film and let it ferment for 12 to 16 hours.
Preparation of the bread dough:
  1. Sift both the flours, salt, sugar and yeast together.
  2. Mix water and milk together.
  3. Rub oil into the flour.
  4. Add water and form a dough.
  5. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes till it is smooth and silky. Can use a dough machine to knead the dough if you like.
  6. Form the dough into a ball and rub oil over it.
  7. Grease a bowl with oil and place the dough in it.
  8. Cover with cling film and let it ferment in a warm place till it is double the size. This will take about 1½ - 2 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  10. Knead the dough gently. Dust a board or worktop with flour.
  11. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 12 X14 inches.
  12. Spread the pesto sauce all over it. 
  13. Roll the dough from the widest part into a swiss roll.
  14. Pinch the seam to close completely.
  15. Tuck in the ends.
  16. Place the rolled dough on a greased baking tray.
  17. Using a sharp knife or steel spatula, cut the roll into half lengthwise.
  18. Form a braid using the two parts. Leave it as a long braid or shape it into a wreath.
  19. Place the dough into the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  20. Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  21. Serve it with yummy soup or have it just the way it is.
Tips:
  • The biga will be glutinous. Try and break it into smaller portions and add to the flour.
  • If you find some of it is stuck to the container, add flour and rub it. Add to the main flour.
  • If your pesto sauce has lots of olive oil, strain it out. When you cut the bread, you don't the baking tray to be flooded with oil. Add the flavoured oil to dough for parathas, rotis, bread or pasta. 
  • Sprinkle the bread with more parmesan cheese before baking if you like.
You may want to check out the following:

basil garlic bread
feta  olive and basil bread

barley broccoli roll


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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

419. orange basil juice

fragrant and cooling
   Basil is a herb which is highly fragrant. Walk into a greengrocers shop and you will be able to smell basil if he/she is selling it. Related to the tulsi (holy basil) family, it tastes different from the tulsi. The name basil is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn which means royal. The name denotes that in the ancient culture it was considered a noble and sacred herb. Basil reduces swelling and inflammation, is rich in antioxidants and has anti aging properties. It has anti bacterial properties and is a rich source of Vitamins A and C, iron, manganese, calcium,potassium and magnesium. Basil is widely used in herbal teas,sandwiches,soups, with chicken, fish, pasta, meat, in salads by adding the leaves to the salad, or in a dressing. I simply love the herb basil. I have tried growing it in a pot but have not succeeded. But will keep on trying. Did you know that you can use basil infused water to dab on your face to combat pimples. Add a few leaves of basil to 1 cup hot water. When it cools, dab it on your face using a cotton wool. Leave it for 10 minutes.
   Our niece from Nairobi stayed with us for a couple of days with her hubby and daughter. She asked me what I wanted from Nairobi and the first thing I could think of was basil. I asked her to bring some for me, specifying that I just needed little and not too much. She bought so many bunches. Some I used to prepare pasta, some I used to make pesto and some I froze it, for future use. I left about a handful in the fridge to make a basil and mint lemon drink. However, the idea cropped up that why not add it to the fresh orange juice. I did that and loved the juice, it was cooling and full of fragrance and refreshing. Try it, am sure you will love it.

basil : Close-up view on a fresh basil bouquet.





ORANGE BASIL JUICE
2 servings

2 cups of fresh orange juice
10 to 12 basil leaves (about ½ cup)
ice cubes

  1. Chop the basil leaves roughly.
  2. Add the leaves and orange juice into a blender.
  3. Process till the leaves appeared crushed.
  4. Pour into serving glasses.
  5. Top with ice cubes and serve.
Tips:
  • Basil turns very fast compared to other herbs. To store them in the freezer for future use, wash the leaves, pat them try on a towel. Put them in a ziploc and put it in the freezer. Take out the required amount as and when you need it.
  • Make pesto sauce and store in the fridge. Use the sauce when preparing pasta, chicken, fish, meat, sandwiches, salad dressings etc.
  • Add fresh basil to your dish towards the end of cooking to preserve fragrance.
You may want to check out the following :

basil mint lemon drink
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418. corn and beans quesadilla

Tragedy

  The world was shocked on July 17th. The news that the Malaysian Airline MH 17 was shot down while flying over the Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur left the world in a state of shock. A buk missile shot it down near the border of Russia and Ukraine. Who is at fault will take forever to find out but in the meantime a nation has to once again in a span of four months face the tragedy of losing yet another aircraft full of passengers. Families and friends have to mourn the dead. None of those passengers had anything direct to do with the fight between Ukraine and Russia and yet they all paid with their precious lives. So many questions cropped up in my mind... how was a plane flying over 33,000 ft shot down by a missile. How destructive are all these war weapons? If Ukraine was a problem spot, how come the plane was allowed to take that flight path? Who is responsible for this? Will the world just sit back or will action be taken against the guilty? Just 4 months ago a whole plane MH 370 disappeared under mysterious conditions. It just vanished completely with all its passengers and crew. How is that possible? 
   All these incidences just acts as a reminder to all of us that life is unpredictable and short. Its not time to hold grudges, speak ill of others and waste life in meaningless talk. Life reminds us to put into action whatever good we want to achieve.

A person's a person, no matter however small - Dr. Suess






CORN AND BEANS QUESADILLA
Makes 10

Wheat flour tortillas:
2 cups wheat flour (atta)
½ cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ - 1 cup warm water
3 tbsp soft butter

extra flour for dusting 
extra oil for shallow frying

Filling:
1 cup cooked sweet corn
1 cup cooked red kidney beans (or beans of your choice)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup diced onion
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp olive oil
¼- ¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preparation of the tortilla:

  1. Sift the flours, salt and baking powder together into a bowl.
  2. Add butter and rub it into the flour.
  3. Add water and form the flour into a soft dough. It should not be too sticky or too hard.
  4. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel or cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Heat a frying pan or tawa over medium heat.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 parts.
  7. Roll each part into a ball.
  8. Using some extra flour, roll one ball into a circle of nearly 8 to 9 inches.
  9. Put it onto the hot tawa. Roast lightly on one side till small brown specks appear. Flip it over and roast the other side.
  10. Keep in wrapped in a tea towel so that it does not get dry.
  11. Repeat steps 8 to 10 using the rest of the dough.
Preparation of the filling:
  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir fry the onions for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add the garlic paste and mix well.
  4. Add mushroom slices and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked corn and beans. Mix well.
  6. Let the mixture cool down completely.
  7. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes, oregano and coriander.
  8. Mix well.
Final preparation:
  1. Take one tortilla. Put about 2 tbsp of the filling on one half of the tortilla.
  2. Add  about 2 to 3 tbsp of the grated cheese.
  3. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling. Press down gently.
  4. Place the filled tortilla over the frying pan or tawa.
  5. Drizzle about one teaspoon of oil around it and cook it light brown specks are formed.
  6. Flip it over gently and add more oil if needed and cook till light brown specks appear.
  7. Cut into half and serve with guacamole and salsa sauce.
Tips:
  • Add any vegetable of your choice.
  • Add any cheese of your choice.
  • You can use ready made tortillas.
You may want to check out the following:

veg enchiladas
mexican salad
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