Showing newest 12 of 26 posts from 1/3/09 - 1/4/09. Show older posts
Showing newest 12 of 26 posts from 1/3/09 - 1/4/09. Show older posts

Tuesday 31 March 2009

Era Oorukai ( Prawn Pickle)

Among all the variety of vegetable/non-veg/fruit pickles, prawn pickle is one of the favorite at home, everybody loves it. And besides, who doesn’t?

Prawn pickle is usually known to have limited shelf life but when it is done under proper hygienic conditions, with the correct proportion of salt, vinegar and oil, believe me, it can be conserved intact for much longer than 3 months. Anyway, I don’t have the probelem at all, as it always gets over much before than that period :)

Ingredients:
*: Reduce or increase according to your taste

500g prawns
400ml vinegar
250 ml oil
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chilly powder*
A pinch of asafetida
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds

To grind:
3 red chilies *
3 green chilies*
2 tbsp ginger
6 pods garlic

To dry-fry and powder:
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns

To cut/ mince:
4 green chilies (slit lengthwise)
2 tbsp ginger
10 garlic pods (cut lengthwise into two or three)

Method:
Clean the prawns with cold water and then pat dry and remove any excess water. Powder them with turmeric, salt and chilly powder and let it marinate for an hour.

Grind all the ingredients under “To grind” to a fine paste.
Chop everything under “To cut/mince” very finely.
Dry roast all ingredients under “To dry fry and powder” and powder them.

Heat the oil and deep fry the prawns (don’t overcrowd them, do it in batches of 5 or 6). Remove and place them on a paper towel.
In the same oil, splutter the mustard seeds and then the curry leaves, add the minced ingredients and fry until soft, add the pasted ingredients and the powdered ingredients and stir-fry.

Add the vinegar and cook until oil separates. Add salt and sugar. Taste and correct if necessary. When it boils, add the prawns and let it cook for about 2 minutes.

Remove off the fire and cool down completely before transferring to clean dry bottles to conserve.
Serve pickles in very small quantities along with appetizers/ Rice/ Indian Breads/ Idli/ Dosai.

Monday 30 March 2009

Chocolate Mousse Cake

It was my little sweetie’s 6th birthday, this weekend and the planning was really tight, one cake for the class (school), another one for the party with her friends and another one for the party with the family… and the dinner for the rest of us… Just don’t say baking or cakes for some time; I’ve had enough this week!!! :).

So, knowing my daughter, it has to be definitely chocolates.

Though I love chocolates, I’m somewhat tired of doing chocolate cakes and biscuits for tea time snacks, almost very often and as it was the birthday of the great chocoholic, I didn’t have so much choice for the flavor… It has to be a cake with chocolate once again…..While I was searching for something new, I came across Mercotte's recipe here(thankfully) and found it interesting; but in the beginning, I was a bit septic about the idea of doing it for the birthday right away, without even trying it beforehand (risk if the mousse doesn’t hold and I’ve done the chocolate mousse for dessert but not for cakes and since it was a big quantity, I definitely didn’t want to waste my ingredients incase of failure) but finally, I took the risk of doing it and it came out really good, fluffy, light and melting at the top layer and a good chocolate spongy cake at the bottom layer. It was excellent with champagne, hummmmm, hope you won’t miss this sinfully rich delicacy dear friends! Have fun doing it for yourself and your dear ones!

The preparation is quite easy; it’s just the refrigerating time that takes time. This cake can be very well done in advance (even a day before) and can be refrigerated (Ideal for busy party preparations).

A simple chocolate cake, perfect for chocolate addicts!
Ingredients: (for 10- 15)
For the cake:
560g dark chocolate 70% cacao(like Valrhona Guanaja)
560g sugar
500g softened butter (yeah, I’m sure; it’s 500g and not 50:)
18 egg yolks
10 egg whites

For the topping/ decoration:
4g gelatin sheets
50g unsweetened cacao powder (like Vanhouten)
100ml fresh cream
120ml water
150g sugar

Method:
Preparaing the cake:
Melt the chocolate chips in a bain-marie. Add the softened butter (I keep the butter at room temperature at least 5 hours before) to the melted chocolate and stir delicately to get a smooth unctuous mixture.

Whisk the egg yolks along with the sugar until thick and pale for about 5 minutes.

Fold in the melted chocolate mixture to the above and whip for another 3 minutes.

Whip the egg whites until really firm. (Adventure: even if the bowl is turned upside down, it shouldn’t fall down :))

Add the egg whites to the chocolate mixture delicately.

Divide this mixture into two equal parts.
Pour one half of the mixture in a greased baking tray (preferably with a removable bottom) and bake in a preheated oven for about an hour at 170°C and reserve the other half at room temperature.

Cool down completely and cover with the rest of the chocolate mousse (use a pastry ring if needed) and refrigerate for at least an hour.


Decorate as you wish.

Preparing the chocolate Glaze:
Soak the gelatin sheets in a cup of cold water for about 10 minutes.
Heat 120ml of water, sugar and the cream separately in a vessel. Stir slightly to dissolve the sugar.
Add cacao powder to the above and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
Remove the softened gelatin sheets and wring it to remove excess water and put them in the boiled solution and stir well.

Let it come down to room temperature before glazing the top and the sides of the cake.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and keep it at room temperature at least 3 hours before serving.

I didn't have the time to take a photo of the sliced cake so,the following was not taken by me :)Note to Eli: you can click better sweetheart, thank you anyway:)

Monday 23 March 2009

Croissants

The French “croissants” (literally crescents) are one of the most common viennoiseries in France, made by layering butter (lot of butter!!!) on top of a pastry dough, and then folding, rolling and folding and rolling repeatedly in order to get a multilayered buttery pastry, often served for Breakfast with coffee.

A perfect croissant should be crumbly and flaky on the outside and soft, light and airy in the inside.
After so many trials, since at least two weeks (tried at least 6 different methods with different variations in the measurements and the procedure), I’m ready to post the recipe for these buttery and flaky crescent shaped pastries, that I found at Christine’s Christhumm (merci à vous Christine:)) the one which finally gave me the sensation of eating the finest croissants of France.

Although the name “croissant” sounds French, the legends say that the croissants were first made by the bakers of Vienna (Austria) in the year 1693, when the Turkish Empire had Austria under siege and that it was Marie Antoinette, the Austrian Princess who married Louis XVI, fond of these Viennese breads, who introduced the croissants to the French, who reinvented the bread using a pastry dough, which then became the national symbol of France. These delicious pastries symbolize France and its heritage of fine cuisine.

The process of doing them might be long and tedious, but believe me, the final result is worth it....... If there’s one thing that can make me jump out of my bed with full enthusiasm, EARLY in the morning, then it would be for these freshly baked croissants.

I simply enjoy doing this fluffy pastry just for the pleasure of doing it like a French culinary expert or a chef who master the art of baking after years and years of fine tuning and experience but also to share my joy of making these at home and enjoying the pleasure with my beloved ones.

Ingredients: (for 8 to 10 croissants)
120g water
120g milk
22g fresh yeast
500g pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
50g sugar
1 tsp salt
50g softened butter
250g butter
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten for egg wash

Method:
In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt and sugar.
In another bowl, add water, milk, the yeast and mix together. (the temperature of the solution must be around 37°C)
Pour the above to the flour mixture along with the softened butter (50g) and start kneading it to make a stiff dough that is no longer sticky.
Cover with a plastic food wrapper and leave it in the refrigerator overnight (let’s say for about 15 hours) until it doubles the volume.
Remove the 250g of butter from the refrigerator along with the prepared dough and keep it at room temperature and mold it to form a block and flatten it to make a flat square (Cover the butter with a baking sheet or a plastic sheet and press it down). Punch down the dough to remove the air from the dough and roll out to form a square or a flour leaf clover (the center part of the dough should be thick). Place the butter diagonally in the center
and bring the four edges of the dough to the center (we want to cover the butter completely). Wrap it with a plastic sheet and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Remove and spread the dough on a slightly floured surface and roll out to form a rectangle of about 50X20 cm. Fold into two, lower part first (i've loaded the picture upside down :) then the upper part on to the other. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Remove and roll out to form a rectangle of about 70X20 cm
and bring the upper part to the center and the lower end to the center
and then fold it like a purse.
Cover and refrigerate (one last time :), patience please) for about 20 minutes.

Pound the dough once again and roll out evenly (70X20 cm) and cut into triangles. Incise a cm in the center of each triangle (to make the folding easier) and roll into crescents.

( Roll out loose by allowing space for the dough to rise).
Put them on a baking sheet and let them rise at room temperature for few hours (it took 2 ½ hours for me).
Brush each croissant with the egg wash
and bake for 15 minutes to 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven of 210°C or until golden brown.
Bon appétit!

Saturday 21 March 2009

Ravaa Idli (Semolina Idli)

Though I love vegetarian food, my teddies and my “HumHum” can hardly pass one single day with a pure vegetarian menu ….this is reality dear friends! Though they’re capable of finishing their plates in silence, they prefer relishing vegetarian food with a non-vegetarian item beside…. This day, I took this ultimate challenge to make them finish the dinner without any meat or sea food with these delicious rava idlis (recipe from Rak’s kitchen).
I partially succeeded in my challenge; Hum Hum loved them (really :)) and Akshay managed to finish two and helped himself to one more except my little sweetie Alka saying “maman, c’est très bon” (mommy, it’s delicious”) just to please me… I understood that when I saw her sitting with the last bite full in her mouth and when she was the last one to finish……:). She manged to finish her plate anyway… As for me, I didn’t know how many I ate, didn’t have time to count actually :)….I finished whatever I had, it was so good; Thanks to Rak’s kitchen for this delicious recipe.
Ingredients: (for making 10 – 12 Idlis)
1 cup Semolina
1 cup Curd
1 tsp Baking powder ( the original recipe uses ENO Salt)
Lemon juice 1/2 tsp
Ginger 1 tsp (chopped finely)
4 Green chilies (deseeded and chopped finely)
6 tbsp Curry and coriander leaves (chopped finely)
Water 1/2 cup (approximately)
Salt As needed

To temper:
Mustard 1 tsp
Urad dal 1 tsp
Channa dal 1 tsp
Cashews (broken into small pieces) 3 tbsp
Ghee 3 tbsp

Heat a wok, add ghee, splutter the mustard seeds, and fry slightly the urad dhal, channa dhal and the cashew nuts, add the ginger and chilies along with the curry leaves and the coriander leaves and fry until the raw smell goes.

Reduce the heat to medium low and stir fry the semolina. Remove and cool down completely.

Add the curd,the lemon juice, salt and water to obtain a thick batter like the (idli batter consistency) ; it should be neither too thick nor too watery.

Grease the idli plates. Add the baking powder to the batter and stir well; Fill in the idli molds and steam for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve with chutney or a curry of your choice. I've served with Coriander Chutney.

Kothamalli Thuvayal (Coriander Chutney)

The honor goes to Solai for sharing the recipe of this delicious chutney ( I made for the Ravaa idlis). Thank you Solai.
Ingredients:
1 cup Coriander leaves
6 green chilies (deseeded, 4 for me)
4tbsp grated coconut
2 big onions ( chopped finely)
Salt
A lime size tamarind
5 tbsp oil
1 tsp urad dhal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
Method:
Heat oil in a wok, asdd the onions and the green chilies and fry until translucent.

Add the grated coconut and continue stir-frying. Add the coriander leaves and fry slightly. Add salt and remove to cool down.

Mi everything to a fine paste ( I like it slightly coarse) along with the tamarind.
Temper with a tsp of oil, mustard seeds, urad dhal and the curry leaves.

Goes well with Idli / Dosai/ Rotis


I've served with Rava Idlis

Thursday 19 March 2009

Gâteau au Yaourt et aux Pommes (French Apple and Yoghurt Cake)

Gâteau au Yaourt (literally Yoghurt Cake) is one of my favorite classics for several reasons:
- Very easy to prepare( when I say easy , it really is; there are no separating the
whites from the yolks, no delicate steps to be worried about, just slight
whipping and stirring; and a classic cake , that even a beginner can master)
- It’s something healthy that my teddies love
- It’s not too sweet and can be eaten for breakfast as well as for tea time, can be
served even as a dessert if topped with some fruity mix or a cream…...it’s just
perfect any time
- It requires only a few basic ingredients that almost all of us have in the kitchen
_ It doesn’t require any weighing machine as everything is measured with the
yoghurt cup
And I can go on….., now, why am I giving excuses? After all, I don’t need to justify myself for eating some delicious things once in a way :), right?

Ingredients:
1 yogurt and its cup (this cup is going to be our measuring instrument)
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup corn flour
11g baking powder
8 g vanilla sugar
1 cup melted butter
1 tbsp Rum
2 grated apples

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Pour the yogurt in a bowl, wash and dry the cup and keep it for measuring the rest of the ingredients.

Add the eggs, the vanilla sugar and the 2 cups of sugar and whip until you get a thick mixture.

Add the sifted flours (all purpose and the corn flours) along with the baking powder and stir well until everything is mixed up well.

Add the melted butter and stir once again. Add the Rum and the grated apples and stir once more with a spatula.

Pour the above mixture into a greased baking tray and bake for about 35 - 40 minutes.
Remove and cool down on a wire rack.

Notes:
The basic recipe is without the apples.
This can be modified in several ways, according to your tastes like:

- Add grated apples to the batter (like I’ve done above)
- Replace the plain yogurt with a fruit yoghurt(in that case reduce the sugar
- Substitute the melted butter by oil or fresh cream
- Stir in candied fruits, chocolate chips, fresh fruits/ coconut
- Substitute a part of the flour with almond powder
- Flavor with almond extract instead of Rum
- Top with chocolate spread or chocolate-hazelnut
- Incorporate candied orange peel or zest of orange or lemon.
- Serve with a chocolate or a fruit coulis

It’s all your choice!

One last note for my dear vegetarians :), just substitute the eggs with 1 more cup of yogurt and you’re done! (i.e. Add 2 cups of yoghurt instead of 1)

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Fish Cutlets

We were invited to my nephew's 7th birthday last saturday and I prepared these cutlets for the apéritif; we were 15 (adults and children) and I think I made a big box full; I saw my sister serving them in a platter, helped myself to one of them (thankfully) tooka sip of my cocktail and I went to the kitchen to help my sister...When I came back to the table, the cutlets were already over....lol there was nothing left behind...... (happily there were other delicious preparations left on the table..:) I think I cannot describe the taste of these cutlets in a better way to tempt you.....

Ingredients:
500g cooked Hake (Cod/ any other)(cooked in boiling water with a some salt)
2 onions
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
4 or more green chilies (deseeded)
2 boiled potatoes
¼ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
Coriander leaves
3 or 4 tbsp corn flour
3 eggs (we need only the whites)
1 cup bread crumbs
Oil 4 tbsp and for deep frying
Salt
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Few drops of lemon juice

Method:

Scramble the fish pieces roughly.
Chop the onions and the green chilies very finely.
Chop the coriander leaves roughly.
Mash the boiled potatoes with a fork.

Heat 4 tbsp oil in a pan, add the onions, and fry until transparent, add green chilies and then the ginger and garlic paste, and fry until oil separates, add the cumin powder, pepper powder and the garam masala, and stir fry for a while. Add salt and turmeric powder, followed by the fish and stir well so that the masala is well mixed with the fish. Add the mashed potatoes and stir fry without adding any water.

Taste and correct the salt and pepper. Add the coriander leaves and squeeze some lemon juice and switch off the stove.
Let it cool down completely.

Beat the whites of the eggs (The yolks can be conserved for any other recipe, they can be refrigerated up to 5 days: Cover the egg yolks with water and refrigerate them in a bowl and change the water the 3rd day) and keep it in a bowl.

Spread the bread crumbs in a plate.

Heat the oil for deep frying.

Add the corn flour to the fish/potatoes mixture and mix well.

Make small flat balls (or any other shape you wish) with the above mixture.

Dip each one of them in the beaten eggs, then, roll over the bread crumbs and deep fry until golden brown.

Drain over a paper towel.

Serve hot as a side dish or as a snack / aperitif with some chilly sauce or ketchup.

Croque Monsieur

Croquet Monsieur literally “Crunch Mister”, don’t ask me the origin of this name, I really don’t know…

All I know is to eat :), then it is quick and simple to prepare, all of us love it, especially my teddies (no wonder lol ), it is simply delicious.... Croque-monsieur is almost mythical, I think there wouldn’t be a single person in France who haven’t tasted this sandwich at least once in their life.

It is an easy and quick- to- do grilled sandwich, very common in the cafés and bistros in Paris. Though nowadays there are many variations of the recipe, I prefer the classical and simple way of doing this delicious sandwich; but hesitate not to use your creativity to modify the type of bread, the variety of the cheese, ham, and then, you can always add vegetables like adding mushrooms, after all, there’s no rule…

But in my version, there are no greens at all, so remember to accompany this with a salad to balance the meal :)


Ingredients: (for 2)
4 slices of bread
4 slices of cheese (gruyère / cheddar/ any melting variety)
2 slices of ham
2 tablespoons fresh cream
Butter for toasting
100g grated cheese

Preparation:

Pre heat the oven to 200°C.

Mix the cheese with the fresh cream.

Take a slice of bread and spread butter on one side and toast slightly on a pan. Do the same for another slice of bread.

Remove and place a slice of cheese on the other side of one of the breads, fold and place the ham and place another slice of cheese and cover all this with the other slice of toasted bread.

Now add top with the cream and cheese mixture.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Serve hot.

When all the above is topped with a fried egg, then, it is called “Croque Madame” (Crunch lady)

Bon appétit!

Friday 13 March 2009

Moelleux au citron (Lemon Muffins)

As I was going through one of my recipe books, yesterday, ( wanted to do something for tea time, before my teddies come back from school) I came across this one(without the image), the recipe’s name and the method sounded like something very common, “lemon muffins” just a cake with the lemon flavor and nothing extraordinary!

But then, I still wanted to try this one as the recipe was easy to make with no complicated procedures and moreover I was running out of time (I had to pick up my hungry teddies in an hour…) and there was nothing else for the evening snacks……..so, didn't have any other choice than going in for this one and started to do it with no big conviction but when I tasted them, I realized that I simply underestimated them and I really regret for having done only some eight pieces of these heavenly delights.


In fact, the bite is extremely moist, soft, melting and slightly nutty at the same time, leaving a refreshing taste of the zest on the palates and makes me crave for some more after each bite. If you’re being tempted to try this, then I’d advise you to double the quantity, believe me, there would be second servings and to tell you the truth, I’ve got nothing left for today’s tea time…..

Ingredients: (for 8 pieces)
Zest of 1 lemon
60g softened butter
60g sugar
40g cream
80g powdered almonds
30g all purpose flour
¼ tsp of baking powder
100g eggs

Method:

Pre heat the oven to 160°C.

Extract the zest of the lemon and chop them very finely.

Heat the cream and add the zest; let it infuse for some time.

Cream the butter and the sugar and then add the almond powder, the sifted flour and the baking powder. Mix well and add the whole eggs to the mixture and whip again for a while until you get a homogeneous mixture.

Add the zest / cream mixture and mix everything together.

Pipe the above mixture to individual molds and bake for about 12 minutes. Let it cool down completely before unmolding.

I loved as it is; but for an elegant presentation, you can drizzle a lemon coulis or a cream over it or simply glaze with some icing sugar.

Thursday 12 March 2009

Steak au poivre (French Pepper Steak)

Steak au poivre (literally Pepper steak) is one of the classics in french cuisine. Now, what is so special in this dish? It’s nothing but the fragrance and the crunchy texture of the crushed peppercorns combined with a good, beefy piece of steak in a rich creamy brandy sauce, that is what which makes it sublime.

This is something we eat regularly, at least once in two weeks and moreover it’s a simple and no-fuss dish, prepared in no time. It is usually served with French fries but this time, I preferred a Potato Puree for a change.


Ingredients (for 4)

4 Beef Tenderloin /Fillets or Sirloin steaks of about 225g each (at least 3 cm of thickness)
7 tbsp (approximately) Brandy
4 tbsp of freshly and coarsely ground pepper
30g butter or more (according to needs)
150 ml fresh cream
Salt

Method:
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Pour 3 tbsp of brandy in a hollow plate and place the coarsely ground pepper in another.

Dip both sides of the steaks in the brandy.

Remove and then coat each piece of steak on the pepper by pressing it well, so that the grains stick well on both sides of the steaks.

Leave it for about 15 minutes.

Melt the butter in a pan and brown a piece of steak on high heat for not more than 2 to 3 minutes each side. (Then it depends on how you like, some people like my beloved “Hum Hum” like it blue, in that case just brown it quickly not more than a minute on each side and remove.)

Add a tbsp of brandy and flambé it. (to be handled carefully with all precautions, it’s not recommended to add alcohol to pans on a burner and use a long fireplace match)

Remove the steak and keep it warm.

Do the same for the rest of the steaks.

Throw away the butter and add the cream to the same pan, mix with a spatula and boil. Add the marinated sauce of the steaks to it. Taste and rectify.

Place a steak in each plate and drizzle with the sauce.

Serve with French fries / a salad/or a potato puree.

Excellent with a Pomerol/Côtes du Rhone/ Châteauneuf du Pape (served at 15°C – 16°C)

Bon appétit !

Potato Puree


Ingredients: (for 6)
1 kg potatoes (any floury variety)
300ml milk
A pinch of Nutmeg
50g butter (cut into small cubes)
Salt
Pepper

Method:
Peel the potatoes and cut them into pieces.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water with a tsp of salt for about 20 minutes or pressure cook until done (we don’t want it to be mushy here)

Remove and drain and return it to a pan and cook uncovered on low heat by shaking the pan now and then in order to dry them completely.

Puree it with a potato ricer (electric blenders / mixers tend to make it gluey ) or simply with a fork (need some patience)

Heat the milk and transfer the puree to a double bottomed vessel and heat on low medium flame. Add the milk little by little while mixing with the other hand. Salt, pepper and add a pinch of nutmeg.

When the puree is smooth and creamy, add the butter, stir well, garnish with fine herbs and serve hot.

Note: the milk can be substituted by a mixture of ½ milk and ½ half liquid cream

Wednesday 11 March 2009

and an award.....


Vidya has passed me this award. Thank you,I'm so honored to receive this award from you. that's a lovely award for the day!

I invite all my blogger friends who come over here to kindly accept this award, as I think there's a talent of a Chef in each one of you! so, all of you merit this award! feel free to take it with you girls.