Monthly Archives: August 2011

Wedding cake

Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake

I made this for a friends wedding. This is my second wedding cake and the first time I have used buttercream. It tasted delicious and everyone loved it. I am so glad my friends gave me the opportunity to make the cake. Their only requests were for red velvet, and orchids in burgundy – how brilliant is that, that you get to design and create the cake  and that they absolutely loved it in the end. Don’t you want more friends like that :-).

I tried a couple of recipes before I finally settled on Martha Stewarts Red Velvet cake recipe. It is absolutely devine. A couple of tips for making cakes

  • Use baking strips to get a flat top (this gave me level cake with very little to cut off the top.
  • Once the cake cools, double wrap it with cling film and then put it in the freezer. This helps when you leveling the cake.
  • After you have split the cakes (which are still frozen) brush a simple syrup on them. It helps them to retain moisture.
  • Your buttercream must be at room temperature.

I settled on making Swiss buttercream because my attempts at making Italian Meringue buttercream just came out to be a goopey mess. I have not given up on it yet. For the fondant covering, I used Satin Ice. Most people do not like fondant but it gives the cake a smooth finish and of most of the fondant’s I have tasted, it is fairly good. A point to note with fondant is that as you start to knead it is just put a little crisco on your hands and it kneads much better.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe

For a 9-inch cake (plus filling, or some to spare)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons – for us Americans who get our butter in sticks)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Put your egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl and start whisking. After about 5 mins start to test to see if all the sugar has dissolved. If you rub a little between your fingers you should not feel any sugar granules. Once you have no more granules you are done with this step.

Transfer mixture to your kitchenaid mixer (or your automated mixer)  and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. (Make sure you wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl so that no water gets into the egg whites)

Add the vanilla, add the butter a stick at a time and whip. You will be able to see it come together.  Use it right away.

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Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

What could be more delightful to breakfast than sweet strawberries on a slice of cinnamon sugared toast – well crepes with strawberries and bananas to follow. I got this idea from a cooking  magazine I had (one of the many). Its pretty much prepared all in advance and then just put together before it is served.

Recipe

  • 8 strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped into tiny bits
  • 6 slices of white bread
  • 2 tsp sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 basil leaves chopped, (plus a few more for to garnish)
  • 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • honey to taste

Method

Mix strawberries, 2 tbsp sugar and basil in a bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator to macerate.

Mix 2 tsp sugar with the cinnamon. Sparingly butter the bread, then sprinkle with the sugar cinnamon mix. Bake in a toaster oven until browned. Cut into bite sized pieces.

When ready to serve, mix together honey and yoghurt. Top each bit of bread with about a spoonful of the strawberry mix, put a small dollop of the yoghurt honey mix and top with a basil leaf.


Nutella Mouse, White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Cups with a raspberry sauce

Nutella & Whilte Chocolate mousse

Nutella & Whilte Chocolate mousse

I was asked to bring a dessert to a BBQ that a friend of mine is hosting. I was thinking more along the lines of a chocolate pavlova but then a request came in from the host to make a chocolate mousse. Well I was trying to think of something other than the usual chocolate rum mousse that I make. So this is what I came up with. I made a creme anglaise and poured that over the white chocolate and let that melt for the start of the white chocolate mousse then lightened it with cream. Then I made the nutella mouse and combined them into a chocolate cup. To cut down on the sweetness I made a puree of raspberries and drizzled it on top. Everyone loved them.

To make the chocolate cups I used chocolate chips but I think it would have been much better to use good chocolate. Blow up your balloons to about the size of oranges, wash them and then let them air dry. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Clear out room in your refrigerator.

Melt 18oz of chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Take it off the heat before it is all nearly melted and add a handful of chocolate chips (10 -12)  to it and continue to stir till melted. Let it cool.  Once cool you can start dipping your balloons. First straight down then tilt to the left, right, back and forward and then slowly lift it out of the chocolate and set it on your parchment paper. Once you are done with the balloons that fit on the tray put it into the fridge for about 30 mins. I work with one balloon at a time, taking it out of the refrigerator  snip right near the knot and let the balloon deflate. Then slowly start prying it from the chocolate cup. Return the cup to the fridge and proceed to the next one. My hands tends to be very warm and make the cup melt hence the once cup at a time method.

Recipe

To make 16 chocolate cups

Creme Anglaise

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon light corn syrup

White Chocolate Mousse

  • 12 oz white chocolate
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar

Nutella Mousse

  • 4oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 8oz nutella
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Raspberry Puree

  • 4oz frozen raspberries
  • 1 1/4 tbsp sugar

Method

Creme Anglais

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and corn syrup well about a min till they are all well incorporated. Slowly pour the milk into the yolks in a thin stream whisking constantly and at a brisk speed. Whisk for about a min after you have added all the milk. Pour the mixture back into your pot and put it back on the stove on a low flame. Stir the mixture continuously until thick. The test for this is when you run your finger down the back of the spoon there will be a trail. It took about 2 mins for me but this depends on how low the flame is set. Pour this mixture over the white chocolate.

White Chocolate Mousse

Let the white chocolate sit with the creme anglais poured over it for about 2-3 mins and then stir gently until all the chocolate is melted. Let this cool. Start whisking the heavy cream and as it thickens add the sugar. Beat until you get stiff peaks. Fold the cream into the melted chocolate in two batches. The first to lighten the white chocolate/creme anglais mixture. Put this in the refrigerator.

Nutella Mousse

Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the Nutella and beat again until incorporated. Beat the heavy cream until it thickens and then add the sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold into the nutella-cheese mixture in two batches.

Raspberry Puree

Blend the raspberries. Put in into a small pot and add the sugar and heat on a very low flame until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate.

To assemble.

Take your chocolate cup, put in a scoop of Nutella mousse, a scoop of white chocolate mousse and top with raspberry puree.


Minced Cauliflower (Gobi Kheema)

Gobi Kheema

Gobi Kheema

This recipe is a vegetarian version of Minced Meat (Kheema). While there is definitely a difference in texture the concept is the same and it is very delicious. Garam Masala is a spice mix ( Indian stores carry multiple brands). Most Indians swear by a particular store owners home made recipe and some even make their own at home. The one I use comes all the way from a little store in Santa Cruz (E) in Mumbai courtesy of my mother in law and it certainly is good. Over here in the US we keep it in the refrigerator and it lasts a fairly long time.

Recipe

  • 1 medium sized cauliflower (or half a big one)
  • 1/2 cup green peas – frozen
  • 4 stalks spring onions – sliced
  • 1 large onion – finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes – chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1/4 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • Salt
  • oil

Method:

Pulse the cauliflower in the food processor grate the cauliflower florets by hand.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, saute minced cauliflower florets on medium heat until they turn slightly brown in color. Take them off the pan into another plate.
Heat some more oil in the pan, add cumin seeds and let the sputter.
Add the ginger, garlic, chopped onion (the big onion) and saute until onions turn pink.
Add chopped tomatoes, spring onions, red chilli powder & saute until the oil separates about 8-10 minutes on a medium flame.
Add cauliflower and mix well.
Season with salt & Garam Masala. Cook on low heat for another 6-8 mins

Rava Dosa (Semolina)

Dosa

Semolina Dosa

I love dosa’s and ever since I got a Vitamix and my mother-in-law figured out the perfect proportion to work with we have had dosa’s on a regular basis. The issue with regular dosa’s is that you have to plan ahead – like 48 hours in advance. What I like about this recipe is that you can decide a half hour in advance that you want to eat dosa’s and just make them. I used the very fine semolina (rava/farina) and did not have to grind anything down to a batter. They also come out a bit crispier than regular dosa’s.

For the filling you can make just about anything, the standard is a potato veg. However, these are so yummy on their own you can eat them with either green chutney or ketchup – yes ketchup and if you have an Indian grocery store nearby try them with Maggie hot and sweet.

Recipe

  • 1 cup semolina (rawa)
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 1/2 cup curds (yoghurt)
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp grated coconut
  • salt
  • oil

Method

Mix the semolina, flour, curds and 1/2 cup of water to make a batter. Make sure the batter is mixed well and cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes are up, add the green chillies, cumin seeds, coconut, salt to taste and mix well. Add more water to thin out the batter. It should be a be a slightly pourable consistency.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan, have the heat on medium high. When the pan is hot, pour about a 1/2 cup of batter on the pan. I used a little spreader to spread it starting from the center and going out in a spiral. Then drizzle a little oil around the edges of the dosa.

When the sides start to brown and the dosa releases check the underside so it is has become brown. Flip over to the other side and cook for just about 20 seconds.

Serve with green chutney or a potato vegetable (recipe to follow)