Monthly Archives: March 2011

Strawberry Cream with Chocolate ganache and macerated strawberries

Strawberry cream with chocolate ganache and macerated strawberries

Strawberry cream with chocolate ganache and macerated strawberries

Summer and strawberries who can resist them especially when they are on sale and you get the smaller varieties. I always remember my cousin in London telling me when she made me proper English trifle, that the smaller the strawberries the sweeter they are and the ones I got were absolutely delightful. This is a very good recipe if you want to serve vegetarians since it does not use gelatin to become a mousse and you get a really soft creamy texture.

Recipe

Ingredients

Serves 12 in 8oz ramekins

For the Strawberry Mousse

  • 300g fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp sugar

For the Macerated Strawberries

  • 200g fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 4oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Method

For the strawberry mousse

Wash the strawberries, cut off the tops and then puree them.

Whip the heavy cream and as it starts to thicken add 2 tablespoons of sugar slowly until thick peaks form. Fold a quarter of the whipped cream into the strawberry puree to lighten. Then add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt on low until there is a bit of froth. Then turn the setting to high and whisk until soft peaks form. Add the remaining one tablespoon of sugar and whisk for another 30 seconds to form glossy peaks. Do not over whisk.

Gently fold the egg whites into the strawberry cream mix. Pour into your bowl and put it in the refrigerator.

For the macerated strawberries

Wash the strawberries, cut off the tops. Then chop the strawberries into small pieces. Pour the 2 tablespoons of sugar over them and stir. Put them in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to macerate.

For the Chocolate Ganache

Put the chocolate chips and cream into a bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir with a heat proof spatula to incorporate the chocolate and the cream. If there are still unmelted chocolate chips microwave in 10 second bursts stirring between each burst. Let it sit until ready to serve.

To serve, put the strawberry mousse into a ramekin, put a dollop of the chocolate ganache and a spoonful of the macerated strawberry on the side.


Sumier’s Surprise

 

Sumier's Surprise

Sumier's Surprise

This was a dessert I had made years ago for Sumier (the design artist who helped create the Graphic for my blog). I was inspired after eating a dessert at Fritti’s. We went to one of my favorite Ethiopian restaurants Desta where you always come away feeling completely stuffed having eaten one too many of their Injeera’s. I was looking for an Ethiopian dessert but unfortunately they do not have desserts except for a yogurt-cheese dish that they eat with their food. So I decided to make a cheese based dessert. I hope you enjoy it.

 

The nice part about this dessert is that it really helps with portion control which may not help when people would like more.

Recipe

Ingredients

Makes 4 white wine glasses

  • 8oz Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 12 tbsp mango pulp
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 12 Graham crackers (read note)
  • 3 tbsp cognac

Method

Crush the Graham crackers with your hands into small pieces but not into powder. Add the cognac and stir the crackers to make sure they are well coated.

Whip the heavy cream, as it starts to thicken slowly add 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Stop once the stiff peak stage has been reached. You know you have reached the stiff peak stage by lifting the beater blades out of the cream. If the peak holds then you are done. If they do not and fall over beat for a few more seconds. Make sure you do not over beat.

Whip the Mascarpone cheese with a whisk once it becomes creamy add the mango pulp and one tablespoon of sugar and whip to combine.

Setup all your glasses in a row. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the Mango-Mascarpone mix into each glass. Next spoon 1 tablespoon of the cream on top, then put the graham crackers on top. Add another layer of Mango then cream. Top with either fresh mango cubes or a Graham cracker that has been gently moistened with cognac.

Note : The Graham crackers here come in long rectangular pieces that have three perforations. If you break this in half you will get a square – 12 of these Squares are the amount that have been used for the biscuit layer.


Chocolate chunk cookies

Chocolate chunk cookie

Chocolate chunk cookie

I got a few requests for treats from friends and family who do not get to eat things that I bake and since they are always so encouraging I decided to do my good deed and bake cookies and mail them. These are really very simple cookies to bake (and who does not love chocolate). They also transport (via USPS) quite well.

I use Mediterranean sea salt as I love the flavor that it brings out in the cookies. One of the handiest tools that I have for the Kitchen Aid mixer is the flat hook scraper. It scrapes the bowl while beating the batter that way you do not have to stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. It does cost a pretty penny and a cheaper way of doing it is just stopping the mixer and scraping the sides down (which is what I used to do until I got a present :-).

I hope you enjoy the cookies as much as the recipients did.

Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 9 oz. bitter sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 3 oz. milk chocolate coarsely chopped

Method

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line your baking sheets with parchment.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together. Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Add vanilla and beat gently. Scrape the bowl. Slowly blend in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate.  Drop tablespoons of dough on lined cookie sheet bake until golden brown on edges about 14-16 mins. Cool on the sheet for 1 min and then move them to a cooling rack.


Mocha Chocolate chip Cookies

Mocha chocolate chip cookie

Mocha chocolate chip cookie

These were the second batch of cookies I made to send out. The cookies do spread and become fairly thin so make sure you give them enough of spacing between each. I used Nescafé since no one in the house actually drinks coffee. However, feel free to use any other variety of coffee you have. If you use a stronger variety (or espresso) make sure you reduce the amount of coffee you use.

Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Mediterranean Sea salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter softened
  • 4 tbsp. instant coffee crushed (Nescafé)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Granulated sugar to dip

Method

Line baking sheets with parchment paper if you do not use a silicone mat. Preheat oven to 350F

Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. Beat butter and coffee on medium speed until well combined. Scrape down your bowl. Add confectioners’ sugar and brown sugar and beat until well combined. Scrape down your bowl. Stir in a third of the flour mixture, fold till incorporated and repeat. Stir in the chocolate chip cookies.

Put the granulated sugar into a small bowl. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough flatten into a disk and press gently into the sugar. Lay it on the parchment lined baking sheet sugar side up. Bake for 10-12 mins until the edges start to turn a light brown. After you take them out of the oven let them stay on the cookie sheet for about a minute and then move them to cooling racks.


Mango Três Lêches

Mango Tres Leches

Mango Tres Leches

The first time I had Três Lêches (three milk) cake I thought I had died and gone to heaven (it happens to me a lot). I simply had to have myself a couple of more helpings. Then one day I decided to go ahead and try it out for a party. It was a super success. I then made a chocolate version which everyone loved more than the regular Três Lêches. Recently I decided to try a mango version seeing that mangoes are coming back into season – with some wonderful yummy mangoes that I got at the local H-Mart. I ended up just eating the mangoes but used mango purée for the cake.

There are a variety of mangoes that you can get. Here in the US the Mexican Kent mangoes are really good. You have to wait until the mango has started to yellow (the process can be quickened by keeping them with bananas). They will have a little give when pressed and have a fragrant aroma then you know they are ready. You can slice the mango from the top to the bottom on both sides of the very large seed that it has. At this point I normally like just spooning the juicy sweet flesh straight into my mouth. For a nice presentation you can scour the flesh into cubes and then use a spoon to scoop out the cubes. Alternatively you can use a peeler to peel the skin and then scour the flesh.

Recipe

For the cake

  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt

For the soaking syrup

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mango purée
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • dark rum

For the mango mousse

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons mango purée

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whip the eggs, sugar, and salt until tripled in volume. This will take a little time. It took me about 9 mins in my kitchenaid. You will get a lovely light lemon colored thick batter. Detach the mixing bowl from the stand (if you are using a kitchenaid mixer) and sift the cup of flour over the batter. Then fold it in. Make sure it is completely folded in.

Butter a 9×13 glass dish and then pour in your batter. Bake for 25 mins (that was how long it took in my oven). You can do the toothpick test here – it should come out clean. Wait for about 5 mins and then start pricking it all over either with the toothpick or to go faster with a fork. You need to get a lot of holes.

In a big measuring cup (the Pyrex variety – you can use any container here I like the pouring lip) mix the milks, the mango purée, the vanilla extract and rum.  Pour over the cake starting at one end and ending at the other. Wait a few mins till the milk is absorbed and repeat. Do this until you have all the liquid poured into the cake.

Wait until the pan cools completely and then you can put it into the refrigerator.

To make the mango mousse

Whip the heavy cream and as it starts to increase in volume slowly add the granulated sugar. Whip it until it forms stiff peaks. At this stage you can add two tablespoons of mango purée and fold in. Continue adding and folding the mango purée. You can add more or less purée (depending on how mangoey you want it to taste go ahead be experimental!!). Spread this on top of the cold cake and refrigerate.

You can serve this with fresh mango slices or all by itself.


Simple Cucumber Soup

Cucumber Soup

 

We have had wonderfully warm days so early this year and I thought the perfect starter to dinner would be cucumber soup. Unfortunately the weather decided not to cooperate that evening and dropped to being chilly – but the soup turned out marvelously and was warmly received by everyone.

This is a really simple soup and something that can be whipped up on the spur of the moment.

Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cucumber (peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks)
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled)
  • 1 bunch of curly parsley (tail end of the stems removed)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable stock
  • 6-7oz of cream cheese (depending on how thick you want the soup)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 twists from the pepper mill of black pepper

Method

Blend cucumber, garlic, parsley, vegetable stock and cream cheese in a blender until smooth. Add the salt and pepper and you are done.

I normally serve this with roasted red peppers on top.


My first foray – into blogging

I started my culinary foray when I was young and because I loved desserts. I always wanted to know what went into the desserts I ate and luckily for me I had a lot of people who were very happy to share their recipes with me. I received a lot of encouragement from everyone as they happily chowed down on what I made.

It’s also with fond memories that I remember trying my first black forest cake with an electric oven whose top you had to lift off completely to test the cake. It was still not done. However, as I put the top back on I saw the middle slowly collapsing. Yes, I had possibly taken the top off a little early, but the design of the oven made for a complete loss of heat. The cake, however, was happily received by all and it was still delicious – it could be attributed to the amount of rum I poured into the cake (we did not get Kirsch liqueur in India).  As you can possibly guess I started deviating from following a recipe precisely because I never had everything on hand and luck has been on my side most of the time (keyword being ‘most’).

I love cooking (and eating) and love sharing food with friends. I am so happy to have read so many wonderful blogs and been able to try so many new and delightful recipes. Here is my little way of giving back and bringing a smile to someone’s face and have a lot of happy tummies out there.

I hope you enjoy this blog and look forward to your feedback.