...these silver lines, travel from my thoughts to yours, wavering, floating like spirits dancing...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

So, the day before yesterday, I finally get down and make the ginger bread which I'd been itching to make ever since I saw the recipe on tv. But sadly, that's the thing with following stuff on tv, these recipes are often faulty and their production team should really get their points straight. I guess some of the fault also lies with the cook itself, who doesn't know the difference between one or one and a half teaspoon of baking powder in baking, or who proposes 2 tablespoons (I mean c'mon, really?! you think we are that stupid?) of cinammon powder. So obviously, the recipe I posted of the ginger bread, clearly, CLEARLY needs to be revised, and let this be a headsup to anyone following recipes on tv, be on gaurd, and use common sense too!

Here's how it goes. Use one teaspoon of baking powder. Use one teaspoon of cinammon powder. If you want your bread to taste as cinammony as gingery, by all means use two teaspoons, but since we are making ginger bread, and not cinammon bread, for me, one teaspoon would suffice. AND, last but not the least, and in addition to the last point, use two tablespoons of ground ginger, using a mortar and pestle, this way all the lovely juices come out and it would flavour the bread most deliciously.

When I was going through the recipe, I clearly found 2 tbsps of cinammon to be too much, so I used 2 tsps, but the next time I make this bread, I will use 1 tsp only. Also, I found the bread not gingery enough for me, and although the cinammon wasn't really overpowering the ginger, it almost did, and I wanted to taste the bite of the ginger. So, I decided to decorate the bread with some whipped cream.

Here's what I did. I took a pack of cream, whipped it with some icing sugar, till it was light and fluffy. Then ground some ginger, about a tablespoon of that, and added that together with its fragrant juices into the cream and finally the juice of one lemon, to add a little sour taste to it. I cut my bread lengthways in half, and put one third of the cream on the cut side of the bottom piece, and put the top piece and dolloped the rest of the cream on the top and sides, and made little swirls in the cream with the help of the edge of the spatula. Left it in the fridge to set for a while, and in the evening, had it with some ginger and lemon tea.

Alternatively you can use flowery infusion teas or even some coffee if you prefer.

By the way, this faulty recipe on tv was the creation of Farah Jahanzaib on Zaiqa. Just a headsup you know.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saw a really delicious Nigella Lawson cookbook, called Kitchen, Recipes from the heart of the home, at a bookstore. I practically drooled over it, but I had run short of cash by then and then decided against buying it, one because I can find almost all of her recipes online, and so I don't really need to get the book then, and two, because most of the recipes by British cooks, or even American or French or Italian for that matter, use ingredients which are either not available here at all, or not readily enoungh. And of course, cooking should be about using innovation, good taste and old methods using what you have in your kitchen and store cupboards. You don't have to go overboard and get this and that, burning a hole in your pocket. That said, I'll have to be a little careful next time I go food shopping, if I go that is, cause I tend to get a little carried away with the money in my hands (read plastic) and so much food to choose from and ideas swimming in my head, especially now since I have no job.

That said, something new and exciting is right across the horizon, and my old love for theatre is being reignited (I say reignited, though it never extinguished or even faltered for a bit), and I have something to look forward too, and something to keep myself busy too, cause heaven knows I need it.

PS. Why do people make sad love songs?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Crumble and Ginger Bread recipes

Here are two recipes for you to enjoy! I haven't tried them yet but saw this on tv, and it looked easy enough and delicious, so I'm looking forward to making this maybe on the weekend.

Apple crumble

3 apples

Juice of one lemon

¼ cup water

½ cup flour

½ cup walnuts

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup grated coconut

6 teaspoons brown sugar

2 and a ½ teaspoons butter

Cook apples in a little bit of water and some sugar, pour over pie dish. Make crumble with all the remaining ingredients, use your hands if neccesary and use cold butter and tumble on top. Press with spoon and bake for 20 minutes for 180 degrees.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla or praline icecream. Usually eaten at breakfast or after dinner treat. Easier than making apple pie! While I was reading up on its history, I found out that it's supposed to smell so good while it's baking and when it comes out of the oven, that you just want to dive right in and... die in it's heavenly sweetness!

Ginger bread

1 and a ½ cup flour

½ cup butter

One egg

½ cup maple syrup

1 or ½ tsp baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon powder

1tablespoon ginger grated and pounded

Beat butter with brown sugar.

Add egg. Beat

Add ginger. Beat

Add maple syrup. Beat.

Add flour mixed with baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder. Beat.

Add a little water if mixture is too thick.

Scrape into loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with nutella spread on top, or with a fresh flowery or fruity infusion tea, or your favourite coffee!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fried potato and cheese cakes with baked tomatoes, basil and garlic

One of the good things about working with fresh foods is that you can get the maximum amount of flavour from the food without really having much to do with it. And I think its great to work with fresh fruits and vegetables, not the least because there is so much you can do with them, with so little.

Today I made these wonderful little potato and cheese cakes, which are sort of like aaloo cutlets, except they are much better, if I may say so, and for some fresh infusion in the palatte, some baked tomatoes in basil and garlic.

So here's what I did.

For the potatoes:

I had about 5 medium sized fresh potatoes, and the thing to look for while getting fresh ones, is look for ones which have their skin breaking out in places, revealing the golden flesh inside. You boil them till they are tender. Meanwhile, I took half a cup of mozerella and half a cup of cheddar cheese, grate them together finely. Plus set aside a few cubes of cheddar to be filled inside the potato cake. Now you can use any kind of cheese you prefer, but I really like the milky strands of mozerella and its mild sort of pungent taste.

Ok, so when the potatoes are boiled, I peel them while they're hot, the skin comes off so much more easily that way, then mash them up with a fork in a big mixing bowl, add the grated cheeses, a good shake of salt, fresh ground pepper, chilli flakes for some heat, a tablespoon of mustard paste, some fresh corrainder leaves chopped roughly and the juice of one lemon. Mixed it all together. Then heated some olive oil for frying, got shallow bowls for some bread crumbs, cornflour and one beaten egg. Shaped each potatoe cake with my hands, put a tiny cube of cheddar in each, dipped them in the egg, then the cornflour, the egg again, and finally the bread crumbs. When I had shaped four of these, I fried them till they were golden brown, then put them on a platter, spritzed some lemon juice on top, and garnished with fresh corrainder leaves and lemon.

For the tomatoes:

Use the freshest tomatoes possible. I got together four medium sized tomatoes, cut them in half. Slicked a baking tray with some olive oil, put the tomatoes, cut side down into the oiled tray, then put the cut side up again, and covered them with crushed garlic, fresh ground pepper, salt, and last but not the least basil leaves. Wonderful aromatic little leaves, these will do wonders for your tomatoes. Finally some more olive oil on top of the tomatoes and the juice of one lemon squirted all over. And what this is going to do is, that its going to make some wonderful aromatic juices blended together with the tomatoe, garlic, basil, lemon. Give them about an hour in the oven on gas mark 4, turning them the other side with some tongs after about 30 minutes. When they're done, I take them out of the tray with the tong, and pour all the delicious aromatic juices over the tomatoes. And I'm telling you the flavour is going to hit your mouth and infuse it with a fresh almost summery taste.Voila!

And you can serve it with roasted lamb chops, baked chicken, or beef steaks. All yum!