Wednesday 28 October 2009

Tarte aux pommes (French Apple Tart)

Though once upon a time, apple was considered to be the forbidden one associated with sin and evil (Book of Genesis), today, this fruit has become one of those which can be consumed without moderation because of its nutritional facts and moreover let me remind the famous proverb “An apple a day keeps a doctor away” :)

But however, since I am a gourmet, naturally, I’m going to add some calories to this naturally delicious fruit by using it in this classic easy-to-do quick dessert / tea-time snack. Like each family might have their own recipe for the apple tarts, this is my favorite version (I mean the ideal version for a lazy bug like me) and for the one my son is a big fan, great me!!! lol.

Well, some people like the tart soft and some of them semi-firm and I am doubtlessly in the second category; I love the balance between the soft, sweet, slightly acidic flavor of the apples combined with the crunchy short crust pastry. Hope you’ll let me know how YOU like it :)

4 apples (I used the “Golden” variety; Granny Smith would be great too)
125g sugar + 50g separately
230g short crust pastry
2 eggs
1Tbsp corn flour
200g fresh cream
1tsp cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 210°C.

Prepare the pastry dough; homemade pastry will always be the best, in that case, place the dough on a slightly floured surface and roll it out to a circle according to the size of your tart pan.

Now, transfer the rolled dough to a greased / lined tart pan and center it. Press the bottom and the sides against the pan. Prick with a fork all over, and flute the edges. (I add a handful of semolina to avoid a soggy crust)

Wash, pat-dry, peel and deseed the apples. Cut them into fine slices.

Arrange the apple slices in an overlapping spiral pattern, by starting from the outer edge towards the center. Sprinkle 50g of sugar on top of the slices and bake for about 15 minutes.

In a bowl, beat the eggs along with 125g sugar until the sugar dissolves and add the corn flour followed by the fresh cream and stir it all together.

Remove the tart pan from the oven and pour the prepared egg/sugar mixture over the apples and bake it for another 15 minutes or until the edges of the tart is golden brown.

Sprinkle the cinnamon powder as soon as you remove from the oven. Cool the tart on a wire rack and serve it warm. Enjoy!!!!

Thursday 22 October 2009

Palak Gosht (Spinach Mutton)

 Hello to all! Hope all is fine. I think I got used to too much of lethargic lazy days during this summer vacation that I'm having a hard time to get back to blogging.... (lazy me!!)

Well, I've come back with this Palak Gosht, literally Spinach Mutton which evokes in me some beautiful souvenirs of my trip to the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. I’m saying this because that’s where I tasted this delicious dish for the first time.

Nowadays, the Palak Gosht is almost known in every parts of India nevertheless I need to mention that this food is especially preferred in the Northern parts of India, where the Mughals have left a long lasting influence in the Indian cuisine. Should I mention the great rulers of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century? Babur, Humayun, Akbar the great and the famous Shah Jahan…..

Coming to the dish, I love the combination of Spinach and Mutton; let me describe it as a delicious union of the tender succulent pieces of mutton with the no-fussy mild flavored Spinach, all this blended in a rich mixture of freshly ground spices, hum hum I don’t have enough vocabulary to tempt you anymore, I'm leaving yourself to judge this wonderful union :)

1 kg Mutton cut into small cubes (Boneless cuts from the Lamb leg sirloin Half is ideal)
½ kg fresh spinach
2 big onions, chopped finely
1 inch finely grated fresh ginger
Whole garam masala (whole cumin seeds, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 or 2 bay leaves, 2 cardamoms)
2 tbsp ghee and 2 tbsp of oil
5 sticks butter

For marinating:
½ a cup of yoghurt
A tbsp of ginger and garlic paste
1 tbsp coriander powder
A tbsp cumin seeds powder
½ tsp of garam masala powder
3 or 4 green chillies (whole)
½ tsp chilly powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder

Marinate the prepared meat in the marinating mixture. Remove the stalk from the green chillies and just leave them as they are, unless you need it real hot (in that case slit them into two and remove the seeds). Let it marinate for about an hour or two in the refrigerator.

Wash and chop the Spinach roughly into small pieces.

Heat the ghee and the oil together in a wide double bottomed vessel. Bring down the heat to medium and fry the marinated lamb on high heat, along with all the marinating ingredients for few minutes until the liquids are almost absorbed. Add 2 or 3 cups of warm water (just enough to cover the meat) and correct the salt if necessary. Let it come to boil and then cook the meat covered on medium high heat until the meat is done.
Add the spinach and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove off the fire.

In another vessel, melt the butter and splutter the whole garam masala and fry the onions until slightly brown. Add the ginger and stir fry for few seconds and pour all this to the meat/spinach preparation.

Excellent with Ghee rice, Pilaf or plain rice or any rotis Naan / Cheese Naan / Parotta / Chapati ….

PS: Gourmets can also add a swirl of cream to the sauce just after adding the ginger.

And some awards...... Thanks to all of you for these awards!Isn't that a warm welcome ? well, that's so sweet of you dear friends! My hearty thanks to all of you!

Thank you Ann, Pinky, Faiza, and Ramya .

Thanks to Sailaja Damodaran.Thank you Sathya!
Thank you Sanghi!