Saturday, 25 April 2015

500. pomegranate and vanilla panna cotta

my 500th recipe

     Its been an exciting journey since I started blogging. Along the way I have learnt so many new ingredients, recipes and cuisines. I've had my shares of flops and hits. I have also learnt how to try and salvage a flop dish, if possible. Looking back, I do have to update some of my recipes. I need to take better photos or do a better presentation. However, my main focus is always on the recipe itself. Since I have started blogging, its also been a way of sharing my thoughts and views with my followers. It's like a diary which I can go back to whenever I want. Sad and happy events, both have found space on my blog. So today's event cannot go unmentioned. An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 hit Nepal, parts of India and parts of Bangladesh. The level of destruction, the lives lost, the fear created and livelihoods snatched is enormous and unrepairable. Years back we had experienced a very small tremor in Mombasa, and that event scared me so much. So I cannot even begin to imagine what the people affected are going through. I pray for all affected. I am sure the world will once again get together and help in every possible way. However, such calamities leave a scar on the affected area and people. Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, snowstorms, sandstorms, forest fires etc. The world is full of natural calamities. Some years back I experienced El Nino in Mombasa, where the rain just wouldn't stop and we had floods. However, where we were staying we were safe from the rising water, the most affected areas were obviously the slum areas. Our garage and main entrance was flooded but the rest of the house was safe. Now without even torrential rains, a small amount of shower and the roads get flooded as drains get blocked by rubbish. 
   Coming to today's recipe, I had made the pomegranate panna cotta in Bangalore for my daughter's friends. However that time it didn't set too well. Perhaps there was something wrong with the gelatin. Today I made some using agar agar and was pleased with the outcome. Vanilla, pomegranate and a hint of lemon is a tongue tingling combination.

Share your thoughts :
Have you experienced any natural calamity?







POMEGRANATE AND VANILLA PANNA COTTA
6 Servings

For the vanilla panna cotta :

2 cups whipping cream (or amul)
1 cup milk
⅓ -½ cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest or rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp agar agar powder or 2 tbsp agar agar flakes

For the pomegranate topping :

2 cups pomegranate juice
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
sugar according to taste if juice is not sweet
1 tsp lemon juice
pomegranate arils (seeds)

Preparation of vanilla panna cotta :

  1. Warm the milk up. Add agar agar to it and let it stand for 15 -20 minutes. This allows the agar agar to soften.
  2. Add cream and sugar to the milk and agar agar mixture. 
  3. Heat the mixture over medium heat. 
  4. Stir constantly till the agar agar dissolves.
  5. Take the pan off the heat. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  6. Let the mixture cool down a bit.
  7. Pour the mixture in 6 individual containers.
  8. Put the panna cotta in the fridge till it sets. This will take about 1-2 hours.
Preparation of the pomegranate topping :
  1. Mix juice, sugar if using any and cornflour together.
  2. Heat the mixture and stir it constantly till it thickens.This takes about 5-6 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Let the mixture cool down.
  4. Pour it over the set vanilla panna cotta. 
  5. Put the panna cotta in the fridge till the top sets. This will take about 1-2 hours.
  6. Add a few pomegranate arils before serving.
Tips :
  • Use fresh or ready made pomegranate juice. 
  • If you cannot get fresh whipping cream, use amul cream or any tinned or carton cream.
  • Add sugar according to your taste.
  • To get the slanted effect, place the glass in a muffin tray at an angle to set.
You may want to check out the following :


thandai mousse

Sending this recipe to the following events :




Tuesday, 21 April 2015

499. eggless chocolate banana bundt cake

Celebration

     As I mentioned in my previous post, April is full of birthdays and anniversaries. Last weekend we celebrated my hubby's mama's 77th birthday. I baked a cake for his birthday. It had to be eggless as mamaji is a total vegetarian, no eggs or meat or fish. I had loads of over ripe bananas and thought of using them up. Hot weather means bananas do not stay good for too long. I though of using butter icing and then changed my mind as I thought a 77 year old man deserves a more classy cake. He wanted to serve ice cream as dessert so mamiji requested for a cake that could be served with ice cream. I decided to drizzle the cake with some chocolate ganache. I am so glad I did that. My butter icing would have melted in the heat. That day was just too humid even in the evening. Mamaji at 77 is still full of energy. He loves his food, and he thoroughly enjoyed all the old hindi songs that were selected and some of the guests sang for him. Both mamaji and mamiji love entertaining people. It was a fun get together. Makes me wonder if I will still be full of energy and life when I reach that age or for that matter when I reach 60. Everyone keeps on saying that age is but a number.. so lets see how well I age.Body changes, takes place in all of us, just some age faster than others. In the meantime will keep on doing things I enjoy the most which includes blogging and cooking. Here is the recipe for the cake.

Share your thought :
Do you think age is just a number?










Ganache preparation:








EGGLESS CHOCOLATE BANANA BUNDT CAKE
Serves 8-10

For the cake :

2 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
1-1⅓ cups sugar
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ tsp salt
¼ cup melted butter
1 cup hot water
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest (rind) or vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe banana

For the ganache :

1 cup fresh whipping cream
100g dark chocolate
¾ cup sweetened cocoa or drinking chocolate

extra butter for greasing
extra flour for dusting

Preparation of the cake :
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease a bundt pan with butter and dust it with plain flour.
  3. Sift flour, cocoa, soda bicarbonate and salt together into a bowl. Add walnuts and orange zest.Mix well.
  4. Take another bowl and add mashed banana, hot water, orange juice, sugar and melted butter to it.
  5. Whisk the liquid mixture.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and mix just enough till the flour is wet. Do not over mix.
  7. The batter will be liquidy.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.
  9. Place it in the oven and bake for 45 -60 minutes or until its done. Insert a skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is done.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a wire rack to let it cool completely.
Preparation of the ganache :
  1. Heat chocolate and cream in a pan over low heat. Stir till the chocolate melts. 
  2. Make sure the mixture does not boil, so maintain low heat.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted add the cocoa powder and mix well.
  4. Let the ganache cool down.
  5. On cooling the ganache will become thick. I left it in the fridge for a 1 hour. 
  6. If the ganache becomes too thick, add a bit of milk and mix. Start adding a tablespoon full.
Final Preparation :
Drizzle the ganache over the cake. Decorate as you wish. Serve the leftover ganache with the cake.

Tips :
  • You can bake the cake in two 8" sandwich tins or a 10 -12" round tin.
  • You can serve the cake without the ganache.
  • You can use oil instead of melted butter.
  • Grease and dust the pan well, don't forget the pipe bit.
  • You can make ganache with just cream and chocolate add more chocolate. 
You may want to check out the following :
banana oat cookies
Sending this recipe to the following events :







Sunday, 19 April 2015

498. Fruit tartlets

Happy 50th Birthday Little Sister

          April in our huge family is a busy month, birthdays and birthdays and birthdays and an anniversary.  Imagine my sister turning 50. Its funny how you think that all those who are younger to you are probably not getting older. I just spoke to my niece and its her birthday soon, and I thought she was just 22. Same way as I can't believe my sister is turning 50. I know she has grown up kids and all, but difficult to imagine that she is 50. However, these days age is just a number for a lot if us till our body starts aching and we need to hobble out of the bed in the mornings because of stiff bones. Memory is another give away when you just can't remember names. Yesterday I gave a lift to my friend and she asked me which make my little car is. Can you imagine I just couldn't remember... I go "its a Toyota". "Yes but which one", she asked and the name just wouldn't come. After I dropped her home and reached my gate, I suddenly remembered its a Toyota Passo! I do crosswords, sudoku and word puzzle everyday. However the memory still fails me when it comes to remembering names.Oh well will have to challenge my brains a bit more.So little sister Happy Birthday. Have a great birthday. Always wish you happiness, good health and lots of fun filled moments.

Image result for quotes on sisters

For the month of April I was paired with Amrita Iyer of The Food Samaritan, for the Shhh cooking secretly group. She challenged me with cook with all purpose flour and summer fruits. Amrita thank you for the wonderful ingredients. With these ingredients in mind, the fruit tartlets came to my mind as I had wanted to make those in a long time. For us in Kenya, summer fruits means things like papaya, pineapples, mangoes, watermelon etc. All tropical fruits. I used mango, pineapple and grapes. Fruit tartlets make cute little desserts or even can be served at tea time. Kids will love the little tarts too. I hardly ever work with shortcrust pastry, as I find the weather here just too hot for it. However, I am glad i baked these little treats. I filled just a few and have stored the other shells in an airtight container for future use. The shells or tartlets can be prepared a couple of days ahead if you are baking them for a party. Filling them is easy just before the guests arrive is easy, as long as the filling too is ready.

Share your thoughts :
Do you find it difficult to believe that people family members younger than you are getting older?

















FRUIT TARTLETS
Makes 12-14

For the sweet shortcrust pastry:

1½ cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
¼ - ⅓ cup powdered sugar
100g (approx ½ cup) cold hard butter
2 tbsp cold milk
¼ tsp salt if you are using unsalted butter

For the custard filling :

1 cup milk
2 tbsp custard powder
½ tsp grated lemon zest (lemon rind)
1½ - 2 tbsp sugar

For topping :
Fruit pieces of your choice

Preparation of the sweet shortcrust pastry :

  1. Sift flour and sugar together into a bowl. Add salt if you are using any.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes or grate it and add to the flour mixture.
  3. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.Or you can process it in your food processor.
  4. Add milk and form a dough. Do not knead too much. Just bring the dough together.
  5. Let the dough rest wrapped in a cling film for 5 minutes in the fridge.
  6. Using cling film or plastic sheets roll out the dough into a circle with a ¼" thickness.
  7. Use a cookie cutter which should be bigger than the diameter of the muffin or tart cups. Cut the dough with the cookie cutter. Place the cut shapes in the cups. 
  8. Gather up the remaining dough and roll again. Cut into shapes and line the cups.
  9. Prick the pastry with a fork.
  10. Place the tartlets in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  12. Cut small squares from the aluminium foil.
  13. Press the aluminium foil gently into the frozen pastry.
  14. Put the tartlets into the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  15. After 10 minutes, remove the aluminium pieces from the tartlets and put them back in the oven to bake for further 3-4 minutes.
  16. Remove the tartlets from the oven. After 3-4 minutes gently remove the tartlets from the cups gently and let them cool on a wire rack.
  17. Store the tartlets in an airtight container till required.
  18. If you are using metal tartlet or muffin moulds, you need to grease it with butter before lining it with the pastry. I used silicone moulds which do not need any greasing.
Preparation of the custard :
  1. Take a ¼ cup of milk from the measured milk. Add custard powder to it and mix well.
  2. Put the remaining milk and sugar in a pan. Heat it up till it becomes hot.
  3. Stirring the milk, add the custard milk mixture. Mix till the mixture becomes thick.
  4. Remove the custard from the heat. Add the lemon zest and mix well. 
  5. Let the custard cool down. Remember to stir it frequently so that a thick skin does not form on top.
  6. Leave the custard in the fridge to cool till required.
Final preparation :
  1. Wash and pat dry with a kitchen towel, the fruits you are going to use.
  2. If need be peel, cube etc the fruit.
  3. Fill the tartlets with the custard.
  4. Top with fruit.
  5. Dust with a bit of icing sugar and serve.
Tips :
  • Do not knead the dough too much otherwise it will make the pastry tough.
  • Its important to freeze the tartlets before baking because if you don't the pastry will shrink on baking.
  • I used a cookie cutter to line the muffin cups. You can also roll out smaller circles and line the muffin or tart moulds.
  • I find using aluminium foil pieces so much easier than rice or beans. I find beans sometimes get stuck to the dough on baking. Use what suits you best.
  • I did find my tartlets a bit thick so maybe I will roll it a wee bit thinner. However the thickness prevented them from getting soggy.
  • I find rolling the dough between two sheets of cling film or plastic so much easier than using flour to roll. Using flour makes the dough tough.
  • When you remove the aluminium foil and put the tartlets to bake again, keep an eye that they don't become too brown. Maybe I should have removed mine after 3 minutes.
  • You can use any filling of your choice... lemon curd, fresh whipped cream,cream cheese, jelly etc.
  • If the custard becomes chunky, just whisk it for a few seconds with a hand blender to make it into a smooth consistency.
  • Can add about 2 tbsp desiccated coconut to the flour mixture.
  • If you want to glaze the fruit then mix ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup fruit juice and 1 tbsp cornflour. Heat the mixture stirring it till it thickens. Simmer for 2 minutes over low heat. Cool the mixture and then use it to glaze the fruit.
You may want to check out the following :

ravioli dolci with strawberry sauce
wholewheat jaggery and ginger cookies

Sending this recipe to the following events :






Cooks Joy
Mayuri's Jikoni




Friday, 17 April 2015

497. mango avocado salad

Facebook

  Everyday I have the radio on while I am working in the kitchen or when I am exercising. East FM  Kenya is one of my best radio stations. The hindi songs vary from the modern to purana geet. What makes the radio station enjoyable is not just the selection of the songs but also the radio jockeys or hosts. This morning while getting breakfast ready Seema and Aleem the morning hosts, were discussing about Facebook. They have a knack of picking very interesting topics for discussions.  I love listening to them.So the discussion was what people use the Facebook for. Some love advertising what they are doing every minute, some love to bombard people with all sorts of quotes and advises. Some use Facebook to download selfies and how good they look. Some use it purely to advertise their business and some use it to show off their hobbies. The worst are the attention seekers, when they still presume they are teenagers looking for love. Whatever one uses Facebook for again everyone should follow some etiquette and know when they are crossing their limits. Many may argue that I can put up whatever I want on my timeline. But that is not the case as one has to be aware that it might offend or hurt the readers. Every form of communication is good within its limit. 
 Today's recipe is a simple but filling and delicious salad. I mixed mango and avocado to make it into a light but filling salad for dinner. I would have loved to add arugula but didn't find any so lettuce it had to be. Check out the simple recipe. Missing from the picture is the onion... forgot to add it when I took the photo.

Share your thoughts :
Do you check your Facebook several times during the day?




MANGO AVOCADO SALAD
Serves 2

1 large avocado
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 large ripe mango
2 cups lettuce pieces
1 small onion

Dressing :
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or any other good vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse pepper powder
½ tsp orange zest

  1. Peel and cube the avocado and mango.Sprinkle lemon juice over the avocado.
  2. Thinly slice the onion.
  3. Put the sliced onion, avocado, mango and lettuce in a bowl and toss.
  4. Add dressing and serve.
Tips :
  • Use arugula or baby spinach instead of lettuce.
  • Add a dressing of your choice.
  • Always add lemon juice to cut avocado to prevent it from turning black.
You may want to check out the following :
red cabbage and carrot salad

strawberry mango mesclun salad
watermelon cucumber salad

Sending this recipe to the following events :



Saturday, 25 April 2015

500. pomegranate and vanilla panna cotta

my 500th recipe

     Its been an exciting journey since I started blogging. Along the way I have learnt so many new ingredients, recipes and cuisines. I've had my shares of flops and hits. I have also learnt how to try and salvage a flop dish, if possible. Looking back, I do have to update some of my recipes. I need to take better photos or do a better presentation. However, my main focus is always on the recipe itself. Since I have started blogging, its also been a way of sharing my thoughts and views with my followers. It's like a diary which I can go back to whenever I want. Sad and happy events, both have found space on my blog. So today's event cannot go unmentioned. An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 hit Nepal, parts of India and parts of Bangladesh. The level of destruction, the lives lost, the fear created and livelihoods snatched is enormous and unrepairable. Years back we had experienced a very small tremor in Mombasa, and that event scared me so much. So I cannot even begin to imagine what the people affected are going through. I pray for all affected. I am sure the world will once again get together and help in every possible way. However, such calamities leave a scar on the affected area and people. Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, snowstorms, sandstorms, forest fires etc. The world is full of natural calamities. Some years back I experienced El Nino in Mombasa, where the rain just wouldn't stop and we had floods. However, where we were staying we were safe from the rising water, the most affected areas were obviously the slum areas. Our garage and main entrance was flooded but the rest of the house was safe. Now without even torrential rains, a small amount of shower and the roads get flooded as drains get blocked by rubbish. 
   Coming to today's recipe, I had made the pomegranate panna cotta in Bangalore for my daughter's friends. However that time it didn't set too well. Perhaps there was something wrong with the gelatin. Today I made some using agar agar and was pleased with the outcome. Vanilla, pomegranate and a hint of lemon is a tongue tingling combination.

Share your thoughts :
Have you experienced any natural calamity?







POMEGRANATE AND VANILLA PANNA COTTA
6 Servings

For the vanilla panna cotta :

2 cups whipping cream (or amul)
1 cup milk
⅓ -½ cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest or rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp agar agar powder or 2 tbsp agar agar flakes

For the pomegranate topping :

2 cups pomegranate juice
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
sugar according to taste if juice is not sweet
1 tsp lemon juice
pomegranate arils (seeds)

Preparation of vanilla panna cotta :

  1. Warm the milk up. Add agar agar to it and let it stand for 15 -20 minutes. This allows the agar agar to soften.
  2. Add cream and sugar to the milk and agar agar mixture. 
  3. Heat the mixture over medium heat. 
  4. Stir constantly till the agar agar dissolves.
  5. Take the pan off the heat. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  6. Let the mixture cool down a bit.
  7. Pour the mixture in 6 individual containers.
  8. Put the panna cotta in the fridge till it sets. This will take about 1-2 hours.
Preparation of the pomegranate topping :
  1. Mix juice, sugar if using any and cornflour together.
  2. Heat the mixture and stir it constantly till it thickens.This takes about 5-6 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Let the mixture cool down.
  4. Pour it over the set vanilla panna cotta. 
  5. Put the panna cotta in the fridge till the top sets. This will take about 1-2 hours.
  6. Add a few pomegranate arils before serving.
Tips :
  • Use fresh or ready made pomegranate juice. 
  • If you cannot get fresh whipping cream, use amul cream or any tinned or carton cream.
  • Add sugar according to your taste.
  • To get the slanted effect, place the glass in a muffin tray at an angle to set.
You may want to check out the following :


thandai mousse

Sending this recipe to the following events :




Pin It

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

499. eggless chocolate banana bundt cake

Celebration

     As I mentioned in my previous post, April is full of birthdays and anniversaries. Last weekend we celebrated my hubby's mama's 77th birthday. I baked a cake for his birthday. It had to be eggless as mamaji is a total vegetarian, no eggs or meat or fish. I had loads of over ripe bananas and thought of using them up. Hot weather means bananas do not stay good for too long. I though of using butter icing and then changed my mind as I thought a 77 year old man deserves a more classy cake. He wanted to serve ice cream as dessert so mamiji requested for a cake that could be served with ice cream. I decided to drizzle the cake with some chocolate ganache. I am so glad I did that. My butter icing would have melted in the heat. That day was just too humid even in the evening. Mamaji at 77 is still full of energy. He loves his food, and he thoroughly enjoyed all the old hindi songs that were selected and some of the guests sang for him. Both mamaji and mamiji love entertaining people. It was a fun get together. Makes me wonder if I will still be full of energy and life when I reach that age or for that matter when I reach 60. Everyone keeps on saying that age is but a number.. so lets see how well I age.Body changes, takes place in all of us, just some age faster than others. In the meantime will keep on doing things I enjoy the most which includes blogging and cooking. Here is the recipe for the cake.

Share your thought :
Do you think age is just a number?










Ganache preparation:








EGGLESS CHOCOLATE BANANA BUNDT CAKE
Serves 8-10

For the cake :

2 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
1-1⅓ cups sugar
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ tsp salt
¼ cup melted butter
1 cup hot water
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest (rind) or vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe banana

For the ganache :

1 cup fresh whipping cream
100g dark chocolate
¾ cup sweetened cocoa or drinking chocolate

extra butter for greasing
extra flour for dusting

Preparation of the cake :
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease a bundt pan with butter and dust it with plain flour.
  3. Sift flour, cocoa, soda bicarbonate and salt together into a bowl. Add walnuts and orange zest.Mix well.
  4. Take another bowl and add mashed banana, hot water, orange juice, sugar and melted butter to it.
  5. Whisk the liquid mixture.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and mix just enough till the flour is wet. Do not over mix.
  7. The batter will be liquidy.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.
  9. Place it in the oven and bake for 45 -60 minutes or until its done. Insert a skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is done.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a wire rack to let it cool completely.
Preparation of the ganache :
  1. Heat chocolate and cream in a pan over low heat. Stir till the chocolate melts. 
  2. Make sure the mixture does not boil, so maintain low heat.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted add the cocoa powder and mix well.
  4. Let the ganache cool down.
  5. On cooling the ganache will become thick. I left it in the fridge for a 1 hour. 
  6. If the ganache becomes too thick, add a bit of milk and mix. Start adding a tablespoon full.
Final Preparation :
Drizzle the ganache over the cake. Decorate as you wish. Serve the leftover ganache with the cake.

Tips :
  • You can bake the cake in two 8" sandwich tins or a 10 -12" round tin.
  • You can serve the cake without the ganache.
  • You can use oil instead of melted butter.
  • Grease and dust the pan well, don't forget the pipe bit.
  • You can make ganache with just cream and chocolate add more chocolate. 
You may want to check out the following :
banana oat cookies
Sending this recipe to the following events :







Pin It

Sunday, 19 April 2015

498. Fruit tartlets

Happy 50th Birthday Little Sister

          April in our huge family is a busy month, birthdays and birthdays and birthdays and an anniversary.  Imagine my sister turning 50. Its funny how you think that all those who are younger to you are probably not getting older. I just spoke to my niece and its her birthday soon, and I thought she was just 22. Same way as I can't believe my sister is turning 50. I know she has grown up kids and all, but difficult to imagine that she is 50. However, these days age is just a number for a lot if us till our body starts aching and we need to hobble out of the bed in the mornings because of stiff bones. Memory is another give away when you just can't remember names. Yesterday I gave a lift to my friend and she asked me which make my little car is. Can you imagine I just couldn't remember... I go "its a Toyota". "Yes but which one", she asked and the name just wouldn't come. After I dropped her home and reached my gate, I suddenly remembered its a Toyota Passo! I do crosswords, sudoku and word puzzle everyday. However the memory still fails me when it comes to remembering names.Oh well will have to challenge my brains a bit more.So little sister Happy Birthday. Have a great birthday. Always wish you happiness, good health and lots of fun filled moments.

Image result for quotes on sisters

For the month of April I was paired with Amrita Iyer of The Food Samaritan, for the Shhh cooking secretly group. She challenged me with cook with all purpose flour and summer fruits. Amrita thank you for the wonderful ingredients. With these ingredients in mind, the fruit tartlets came to my mind as I had wanted to make those in a long time. For us in Kenya, summer fruits means things like papaya, pineapples, mangoes, watermelon etc. All tropical fruits. I used mango, pineapple and grapes. Fruit tartlets make cute little desserts or even can be served at tea time. Kids will love the little tarts too. I hardly ever work with shortcrust pastry, as I find the weather here just too hot for it. However, I am glad i baked these little treats. I filled just a few and have stored the other shells in an airtight container for future use. The shells or tartlets can be prepared a couple of days ahead if you are baking them for a party. Filling them is easy just before the guests arrive is easy, as long as the filling too is ready.

Share your thoughts :
Do you find it difficult to believe that people family members younger than you are getting older?

















FRUIT TARTLETS
Makes 12-14

For the sweet shortcrust pastry:

1½ cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
¼ - ⅓ cup powdered sugar
100g (approx ½ cup) cold hard butter
2 tbsp cold milk
¼ tsp salt if you are using unsalted butter

For the custard filling :

1 cup milk
2 tbsp custard powder
½ tsp grated lemon zest (lemon rind)
1½ - 2 tbsp sugar

For topping :
Fruit pieces of your choice

Preparation of the sweet shortcrust pastry :

  1. Sift flour and sugar together into a bowl. Add salt if you are using any.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes or grate it and add to the flour mixture.
  3. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour till it resembles breadcrumbs.Or you can process it in your food processor.
  4. Add milk and form a dough. Do not knead too much. Just bring the dough together.
  5. Let the dough rest wrapped in a cling film for 5 minutes in the fridge.
  6. Using cling film or plastic sheets roll out the dough into a circle with a ¼" thickness.
  7. Use a cookie cutter which should be bigger than the diameter of the muffin or tart cups. Cut the dough with the cookie cutter. Place the cut shapes in the cups. 
  8. Gather up the remaining dough and roll again. Cut into shapes and line the cups.
  9. Prick the pastry with a fork.
  10. Place the tartlets in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  12. Cut small squares from the aluminium foil.
  13. Press the aluminium foil gently into the frozen pastry.
  14. Put the tartlets into the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  15. After 10 minutes, remove the aluminium pieces from the tartlets and put them back in the oven to bake for further 3-4 minutes.
  16. Remove the tartlets from the oven. After 3-4 minutes gently remove the tartlets from the cups gently and let them cool on a wire rack.
  17. Store the tartlets in an airtight container till required.
  18. If you are using metal tartlet or muffin moulds, you need to grease it with butter before lining it with the pastry. I used silicone moulds which do not need any greasing.
Preparation of the custard :
  1. Take a ¼ cup of milk from the measured milk. Add custard powder to it and mix well.
  2. Put the remaining milk and sugar in a pan. Heat it up till it becomes hot.
  3. Stirring the milk, add the custard milk mixture. Mix till the mixture becomes thick.
  4. Remove the custard from the heat. Add the lemon zest and mix well. 
  5. Let the custard cool down. Remember to stir it frequently so that a thick skin does not form on top.
  6. Leave the custard in the fridge to cool till required.
Final preparation :
  1. Wash and pat dry with a kitchen towel, the fruits you are going to use.
  2. If need be peel, cube etc the fruit.
  3. Fill the tartlets with the custard.
  4. Top with fruit.
  5. Dust with a bit of icing sugar and serve.
Tips :
  • Do not knead the dough too much otherwise it will make the pastry tough.
  • Its important to freeze the tartlets before baking because if you don't the pastry will shrink on baking.
  • I used a cookie cutter to line the muffin cups. You can also roll out smaller circles and line the muffin or tart moulds.
  • I find using aluminium foil pieces so much easier than rice or beans. I find beans sometimes get stuck to the dough on baking. Use what suits you best.
  • I did find my tartlets a bit thick so maybe I will roll it a wee bit thinner. However the thickness prevented them from getting soggy.
  • I find rolling the dough between two sheets of cling film or plastic so much easier than using flour to roll. Using flour makes the dough tough.
  • When you remove the aluminium foil and put the tartlets to bake again, keep an eye that they don't become too brown. Maybe I should have removed mine after 3 minutes.
  • You can use any filling of your choice... lemon curd, fresh whipped cream,cream cheese, jelly etc.
  • If the custard becomes chunky, just whisk it for a few seconds with a hand blender to make it into a smooth consistency.
  • Can add about 2 tbsp desiccated coconut to the flour mixture.
  • If you want to glaze the fruit then mix ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup fruit juice and 1 tbsp cornflour. Heat the mixture stirring it till it thickens. Simmer for 2 minutes over low heat. Cool the mixture and then use it to glaze the fruit.
You may want to check out the following :

ravioli dolci with strawberry sauce
wholewheat jaggery and ginger cookies

Sending this recipe to the following events :






Cooks Joy
Mayuri's Jikoni




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Friday, 17 April 2015

497. mango avocado salad

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  Everyday I have the radio on while I am working in the kitchen or when I am exercising. East FM  Kenya is one of my best radio stations. The hindi songs vary from the modern to purana geet. What makes the radio station enjoyable is not just the selection of the songs but also the radio jockeys or hosts. This morning while getting breakfast ready Seema and Aleem the morning hosts, were discussing about Facebook. They have a knack of picking very interesting topics for discussions.  I love listening to them.So the discussion was what people use the Facebook for. Some love advertising what they are doing every minute, some love to bombard people with all sorts of quotes and advises. Some use Facebook to download selfies and how good they look. Some use it purely to advertise their business and some use it to show off their hobbies. The worst are the attention seekers, when they still presume they are teenagers looking for love. Whatever one uses Facebook for again everyone should follow some etiquette and know when they are crossing their limits. Many may argue that I can put up whatever I want on my timeline. But that is not the case as one has to be aware that it might offend or hurt the readers. Every form of communication is good within its limit. 
 Today's recipe is a simple but filling and delicious salad. I mixed mango and avocado to make it into a light but filling salad for dinner. I would have loved to add arugula but didn't find any so lettuce it had to be. Check out the simple recipe. Missing from the picture is the onion... forgot to add it when I took the photo.

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Do you check your Facebook several times during the day?




MANGO AVOCADO SALAD
Serves 2

1 large avocado
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 large ripe mango
2 cups lettuce pieces
1 small onion

Dressing :
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or any other good vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse pepper powder
½ tsp orange zest

  1. Peel and cube the avocado and mango.Sprinkle lemon juice over the avocado.
  2. Thinly slice the onion.
  3. Put the sliced onion, avocado, mango and lettuce in a bowl and toss.
  4. Add dressing and serve.
Tips :
  • Use arugula or baby spinach instead of lettuce.
  • Add a dressing of your choice.
  • Always add lemon juice to cut avocado to prevent it from turning black.
You may want to check out the following :
red cabbage and carrot salad

strawberry mango mesclun salad
watermelon cucumber salad

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