April 29, 2008
Basic pizza dough - 1 recipe
Pepperoni - 1.25 oz
American cheese slices - 3
Capsicum - 1/2 sliced thin and cut across in three
Black pitted olives - about 10, cut into rings
Pizza sauce - as needed
Prepare the pizza dough as in the recipe.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
Divide the dough into two.
Roll out each half into a rectangle.
Cut each half into quarters.
Make each of the quarters thinner by rolling them out.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Cut the cheese slices lengthwise to from slender matchsticks.
Place a teaspoon of pizza sauce at about the middle of the small rectangle.
Top with pepperoni (about 4 slices), Sliced and chopped capsicum, olives and cheese.
Roll up the pizza dough in egg-roll fashion. Start from the edge closest to the toppings, gently pull over the toppings.
Fold the edges of the adjacent sides inwards to seal the fillings.
Continue to roll up the dough and fix the edge underneath the roll.
Repeat for each of the dough quarters until 8 rolls are made.
Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Prepare egg wash by whisking an egg with a tbsp of water. (optional)
Moisten the top of each roll with the egg wash mixture.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until browned.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Enjoy warm with marinara sauce.
- I usually substitute 1 tsp of Italian seasoning for the 2 tbsp of rosemary in the basic dough recipe.
- I used tomato ketchup for the filling since I started the recipe thinking that I had pizza or pasta sauce, but I didnt. (I usually use traditional pasta sauce with meat since I like the flavor).
- While rolling up the dough, be sure to enclose the fillings well, otherwise cheese and sauce might leak out and burn ( a few of mine did !).
- The egg-wash step is optional, it does not add any special flavor to the rolls but does give a lovely brown sheen. Otherwise the rolls will not have the sheen and will appear as bread rolls.
April 28, 2008
Panna cotta is Italian for "cooked cream" and is an unbaked, eggless custard which tastes superb. The texture is very smooth and silky and does not feel rich at all. Since this version is a heart healthy one, it uses just half-n-half and does not set hard, but is kind of delicate and wobbly. Usually panna cotta is best served in individual molds or cups and served either out of the mold on a serving platter or within the bowls. I would suggest serving in the bowls themselves because it could loose shape while transferring onto the serving platter. This recipe is so simple, the cooking part was done in a few minutes. Then came the painful wait for the cream to set. Once we took the pictures, it was gone in a matter of seconds. I had just made only half the recipe, we only wish we had more! With only a few ingredients and a quick prep time, this is my kind of recipe! Gustare (enjoy)!!
Recipe (Serves 4):
Half-and-half - 2 cups
Unflavoured gelatin - 1 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Dash of salt
Raspberry sauce or any other sauce
Pour half-and-half into a 1 1/2 quart saucepan.
Sprinkle gelatin evenly over cold half-and-half.
Let stand for 10 minutes.
Heat the half-and-half mixture over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and the mixture is just beginning to simmer.
Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat.
Stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt until the sugar is dissolved.
Pour the mixture into four 1/2 cup ramekins or 6-oz custard cups.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 4 hours or until set.
When ready to serve, run a thin knife around the edge of each panna cotta.
Dip the bottom of each ramekin into a bowl of very hot water for 5 seconds.
Immediately place a serving plate upside down onto each ramekin, turn plate and ramekin over and remove the ramekin.
Serve with a sauce of your choice.
Source: Betty Crocker Cookbook, heart health edition.
- Wet a mold with cold water and without drying, pour the warm panna cotta mixture into the mold. This usually helps in the easy release of the custard.
- I served the dessert with pureed strawberry.
April 25, 2008
Recipe (Makes 18 wafers):
Blanched almonds - scant 1/2 cup
Butter - 1/4 cup
All-purpose flour - 1/3 cup
Caster (superfine) sugar - 1/2 cup
Heavy (double) cream - 2 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Lightly grease two baking sheets.
With a sharp knife, chop the almonds as finely as possible. Alternatively, use a food processor or blender to chop the nuts very finely.
Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat.
Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, caster sugar, double cream and vanilla extract.
Add the finely chopped almonds and mix well.
Drop teaspoonfuls 2 1/2" apart on the prepared sheets.
Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Cool on the baking sheets briefly, until the wafers are stiff enough to remove.
With a metal spatula, transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Source: 1001 Recipes for every occasion, Edited by Martha Day.Tips:
- The cook's tips suggest these wafers to be served with smooth creamy desserts.
- The cookies will appear to be soft after 5 minutes of baking. Do not overcook, they will become stiff and crisp on cooling.
- I actually put the nuts in a coffee grinder and processsed them to an "almost fine" powder.
- I found that the wafers will exude a lot of butter on baking, so next time I will reduce the amount of butter. (But I think the butter is key for the lacy appearence).
- I used granulated sugar instead of castor sugar, they turned out fine in taste. (I do not know if using castor sugar will have any change on the amount of butter released).
Recipe (Serves 4-6):
Plain yoghurt (Curd) - 3 cups
Seedless grapes - 1 1/2 cups, halved
Ground toasted cumin - 2 tsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Cayenne pepper or paprika - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp or to taste
Canola oil - 3 tbsp
Cumin or black mustard seeds - 2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 6 fresh or 10 frozen, torn into pieces (optional)
Whisk the yoghurt in a bowl until smooth and lightened.
Stir in the grapes and then add the cumin powder, sugar and cayenne/paprika.
For tempering, heat the oil with the cumin or mustard seeds in a small pan over medium-high heat.
Heat until the cumin seeds darken or the mustard seeds crackle, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves (if using) and cook uncovered stirring for 5-10 seconds more.
If using curry leaves, stand back as they spit when they hit the hot oil.
Pour over the yoghurt and chill well.
Just before serving, stir in the salt.
Source: Indian home cooking, a fresh introduction to Indian food by Suvir Saran.
- Any variety of seedless grapes, red or black, or both can be used. I used red seedless grapes.
- The author suggests serving with lamb or chicken biriyani. I think this raita will go well with anything spicy!
April 24, 2008
Biriyani is one of our favourite dishes, a rice medley made of either vegetables or more commonly egg, chicken, goat, lamb or beef and flavoured with spices. Seafood biriyanis are also very popular and includes fish biriyani and prawns biriyani. There are regional differences in the preparation of biriyani with changes in the combination of spices used and/or the variations in the techniques of cooking. It is traditionally served with raita (a yoghurt sauce with vegetables or fruits), crispy wafers called pappads and spicy pickles. I am not a very big fan of seafood, so I do not experiment with a lot of seafood. Being born and brought-up in a city where fresh seafood is abundant, JM is fond of seafood dishes and favours prawns (shrimp), although the frozen shrimp available in the US is not as tasty as the fresh ones available back home.
When a fellow blogger visited my blog, I went back to explore hers. I found a recipe for a very appetizing prawns biriyani. It seemed good with a layer of cooked shrimp masala sandwiched between two layers of rice, covered and baked in the oven. After going through the recipe, I was left with a longing for such a biriyani from my kitchen and I knew that JM would appreciate it very much. Thankfully, I had a packet of frozen shrimp, so I planned the preparation for the next day. Usually, JM does not come for lunch, and I lured him home with the promise of a good lunch. I got to cooking after he left for work, and finished earlier than I expected. I did not have any cashewnuts because the "resident thieves" had raided the cashews reserved for such impulsive cooking. When JM came home for lunch, excited about my promise, I showed my creation to him. He was impressed by the presentation and we happily clicked away for my blog! As soon as we finished taking pictures, we started our taste-testing. Needless to say, we were not disappointed, infact we were hooked !! It was not very spicy, was cooked to perfection and looked stunning, perfect for when you have guests over. Thanks Remya for the wonderful recipe. I would suggest checking out her blog for the recipe and instructions. Do try this one out, the work you put in will be worth it! We had the biriyani with grape raita, the recipe for which I will be posting soon. Hope you'll enjoy the pictures of my biriyani, dont forget to leave words of encouragement. Enjoy, you all !!
- I used frozen, deveined, cooked tail-on shrimp. Thaw before use.
- I would suggest to sprinkle about 2-3 tbsp of water over the layered rice and prawns, so that the baked biriyani will remain moist and flavorful.
April 22, 2008
Recipe (Serves 4) :
Granulated sugar - 1 1/4 cups
Water - 2 1/2 cups
Grated rind - of 1 lime
Lime juice - 3/4 cup, freshly squeezed
Lemon juice - 1-2 tbsp, freshly squeezed
Confectioner's sugar, to taste
Slivers of lime rind, to decorate
In a small heavy pan, dissolve the granulated sugar in the water, without stirring, over medium heat.
When the sugar has dissolved, boil for 5-6 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Combine the cooled sugar syrup with the lime rind and juice in a measuring jug (cup) or bowl.
Stir well, taste and adjust the flavour by adding lemon juice and some icing sugar, if necessary. Do not oversweeten.
Pour the mixture into a freezer container and freezer for about 3 hours until softly set.
Remove from the container and chop roughly into 3" pieces.
Place in a food processor and process until smooth.
Return the mixture to the freezer container and freezer again until set.
Repeat this freezing and chopping process two or three times, until a smooth consistency is obtained.
Alternatively, use an ice cream maker to freezer the mixture, following the manufacturer's instructions.
Transfer the sorbet to the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes, before serving to soften slightly.
Serve in scoops, decorated with slivers of lime rind.
Source: Desserts 500 delicious recipes, Edited by Ann Kay.
- I didn't have to add any lemon juice or icing sugar. The initial mixture was just right for me.
- Instead of processing in the food processor, I just shook the container roughly for a minute each time (while softly set) and chopped with a fork (when frozen) to smoothen the sorbet.
- I think the recipe would serve 6 or more.
April 20, 2008
- I melted the chocolate in the microwave.
- If you do not like the taste of plain coffee, add milk to balance the flavor.
April 19, 2008
Recipe (Serves 4-6):
Water - 4 cups
Canola oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Combine the oil and cumin in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the cumin is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the rice gives off a mild, toasted fragrance, about a minute.
Add the water and salt, and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer vigorously, covered, until the rice is tender and the water has been entirely absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Let the rice stand for about 5 more minutes to finish cooking.
Serve with spicy curries and/or pickles.
Source: Indian home cooking - a fresh introduction to Indian food by Saran Suvir.
- Omit the cumin for a simple plain pilaf.
- I used tempered mustard seeds and urad dal as garnish.
April 18, 2008
- Instead of shortening, I used an equal amount of butter.
- Eventhough the recipe was for 3 dozen cookies, I only got about 20.
- I used both chopped almonds and cashews for the cookies.
April 17, 2008
- Instead of fresh mangoes, I used 1/2 cup canned sweetened mango pulp.
- While toasting pistachios, watch carefully as they brown quickly. I took them out in about 5 minutes.
April 16, 2008
- The dal can also be cooked in a saucepan until they are very tender and easy to mash. It will just take a longer time.
- Vegetables other than onions and carrots can be added in addition, according to personal preference. The commonly added vegetables include potatoes, drumsticks, pumpkins, okra, eggplant etc.
- If using a pressure cooker, do not put the easily cooked vegetables (eg:- okra, eggplant) while cooking the dal as they will get overcooked. They can be added to the sambar once the dal has been added to the tomato soup, and boiled to cook.
- Adjust the quantity of water according to the consistency that you prefer. Add more water for thinner sambar, add less for thicker.
April 15, 2008
Drain the canned mango slices and transfer them to a food processor bowl.
Stir in the lime rind and juice.
- I halved the recipe and substituted 7 oz of mango pulp for an equal amount of canned mango slices. Fresh mangoes can also be used for making the puree.
- When mixing cream and yoghurt mixture with the mango puree, whisk just enough to combine, so as not to lose the lightness of the whipped cream mixture.
- Another interesting tip while mixing in the mango mixture to the cream-yoghurt mixture is to fold the mixtures together lightly, so that the fool is rippled.
- If you are not very fond of tart desserts, reduce the amount of lime juice or add some sugar.
April 14, 2008
- I used vegetable oil instead of coconut oil. For the authentic kerala taste, use coconut oil.
- Use curry leaves, if available. If not, omit that.
- The above recipe makes a HOT prawn chilly fry. Adjust the amount of green chillies and/or chilli powder according to personal preference.
- A suggestion is to reduce heat is to omit the julienned green chillies, use 1 split chilly and reduce the amount of red chilly powder to 2 tsp.
- The actual recipe called for 40g of prawns! I think its an error, it must be 400g. I found that the recipe works well for 12 oz of shrimp.
- If using uncooked shrimp, add the raw shrimp to the onion gravy and cook until done.
April 13, 2008
- You can also add mix-ins like fruits (banana, strawberries etc), nuts or candy to the pudding itself and then garnish with the toppings of your choice.
April 12, 2008
Eggs - 2
Water - to cover the eggs
Take the eggs from the refrigerator and place them in a medium sized saucepan.
Add enough cold water to cover the eggs. (The cold water is added so that the eggs and water are at the same temperature).
Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
Once the water starts to boil, reduce the flame to medium and allow to boil for 15 minutes.
Shut off the flame, drain the water and allow to cool.
Remove the shells carefully.
Use as needed.
April 11, 2008
- I halved the recipe and still made about 8 thin crepes.
- If using a non-stick skillet, there is no need to use butter on the pan after each crepe.
- If using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt.
April 10, 2008
Powdered sugar - 3 cups
Butter or margarin, softened - 1/3 cup
Vanilla - 1 1/2 tsp
Milk - 1-2 tbsp
Mix powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl with spoon or with electric mixer on low speed.
Stir in vanilla and 1 tbsp of the milk.
Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth an spreadable.
If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.
Generously frosts a 13" by 9" cake or frosts and fills an 8" or 9" two-layer cake.
Source: Betty Crocker Ultimate cake mix cookbook.
Decorating a basket-of-berries cake:
Single layered easy two egg 8" round cake- 1
Vanilla buttercream frosting - 1 3/4 cups
Strawberries - as needed
Cake board - to assemble the cake
Basket-weave tip and open star tip, decorating bag
Curved craft wire to shape the handle
If the baked cake is highly domed, trim it down to form a slighlty smaller dome. (My cake was pretty much uniform on top).
Cut the round cake along its diameter into two to form two semi-circles.
Place one of the semicircles top down. Spread about 1/4 cup of frosting on the cake half.
Place the other half over the frosted half, so that the flat cut surfaces are aligned.
Now cut the curved side of the cake sandwich, parallel to the flat side of the cake so that it forms a level base when the cake is placed vertically.
Dab a tablespoon of icing over the cake board and keep the cake basket vertically with smaller flat surface touching the cake board.
Now crumb coat the entire surface of the cake with a thin layer of thin consistency icing.
Allow the icing to crust for a few minutes.
Color the rest of the medium consistency icing with orange color and incorporate well.
Place the basket-weave tip in a decorator's bag and pipe the basket-weave around the cake.
If you are not familiar with this technique, check this out.
Replace the basket-weave tip with a star tip and pipe stars around the upper rim of the cake.
Insert the edges of the wire, covered with foil, towards the narrower ends of the upper rim.
Place the strawberries on the basket cake to complete the decoration.
Slice and serve!!
- I used frozen beans and peas, but had fresh carrots.