Bake Off with Bethany Victoria, Spiced Pumpkin Latte Loaf for Halloween

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Getting your Children to bake with you increases in them the interest for food and they eventually become good eaters, here in this Journey i share with you a passion for baking, something i get my children involved in, I have enjoyed it thoroughly and i hope you do too.

Bethany 'sCake Baking Tip - the oven has always to be pre heated.

Bethany ‘s Cake Baking Tip – the oven has always to be pre heated.

Baking with my Beautiful Daughter Bethany, has always been an amazing journey, imagine flour everywhere except in the mixing bowl, a broken egg on the floor, or sugar and loads of them all over your weighing scale, the experience is priceless.

i baked this

i baked this!

Every term holiday I inevitably have to bake, be it Elsa Cupcakes, or Carrot Cake, i can’t resist it when she wants to bake, its this sheer excitement that has made me blog this Halloween Bake Off.

put the cake tin in the centre of the oven, heat circulates well and the cake cooks evenly!!

put the cake tin in the centre of the oven, heat circulates well and the cake cooks evenly!!

The idea came from the Pumpkin we were carving for Halloween and you could see that the trimmings had Spiced Cake written all over them combined with my love for the Spiced Pumpkin Latte you get during the Christmas season at Starbucks.

Let the cake cool in the tin for atlas an hour- my dad says this helps retain moisture in the cake.

Let the cake cool in the tin for at least an hour- my dad says this helps retain moisture in the cake.

It will be hard to get kids to eat pumpkin and spices so i have tweaked the recipe and got Bethany to put dark chocolate, raisins and peanut butter, the perennial favourite of little children, so what are you waiting for get the mixing bowl out and whip up this Wicked Cake, Happy Baking and Happy Halloween!!

Recipe:

Roasting the Pumpkin: Pumpkin (trimmings of the pumpkin we were carving): 100 gm Molasses : 2 teaspoons

In a baking tray put chopped pieces of Pumpkin trimming sprinkle the molasses and bake in the oven 165℃ for 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

Butter (unsalted) : 150 gm

Caster Sugar : 100 gm

Molasses : 50 gm

Peanut Butter (smooth) : 2 tablespoons

Vanilla Essence : 4 drops

Coffee Granules : 2 tablespoon

Eggs : 3

Plain Flour : 200 gm

Baking Powder : 3 teaspoons

Cinnamon Powder : 2 tablespoons

Nutmeg Powder : 1/2 teaspoon

All Spice Powder : 1/2 teaspoon

Raisins : 50 gm

Dark Chocolate : 50 gm

Milk – to lighten the cake mix about 2 tablespoons

Cake Tin (900gm/ 2lb)

Oil for greasing the tin – 2 tablespoons

greaseproof paper – to fit the tin loaf

Method:

Sieve together the flour, baking powder, and the spices, keep aside.In a mixing bowl using the paddle attachment beat together the butter and sugars, about 10 minutes, when  fluffy and light add the peanut butter and beat for another 2 Minutes.  Now add the Vanilla essence and the coffee and beat in one egg at a time followed by 1/3 the flour mix, beat well and repeat until all the egg and flour mix are used up. Now add the roasted pumpkin, raisins and chocolate fold into the mixture for about a minute, thin the mix using the milk.

Grease a 900gm cake tin, put grease proof paper. Now gently pour in the cake mix, spread very gently. Bake in a preheated oven at 165℃, bake for about 45 minutes and test with a cake skewer if it comes out clean. Remove and let it cool for an hour in the tray this will help retain moisture in the cake.

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Enjoy!!

The Big Mexican Breakfast – Huevos Rancheros

Breakfast is a Vital part of our day, having a balanced breakfast keeps you energetic and helps you get through your day having accomplished a lot more, here in this blog and a few more to follow we are going to table a series of breakfast quickies, so what are you waiting for lets have a Mexican Breakfast, here we present to you a very classic Mexican dish that can be had any time of the day not just breakfast and if you love eggs you can have it all day, so Salud! ENJOY!

Ingredients

6 tbsp olive oil1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 dried chillies, finely chopped
1 scant tsp smoked paprika
400 g (14.1oz) can chopped tomatoes
0.5 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
300 g (10.6oz) cooked waxy potatoes, cut into 2cm (3/4in) dice
200 g (7.1oz) spicy chorizo, cut into 2cm (3/4in) dice
4 eggs2 
tbsp chopped coriander

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Preparation

Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a small, heavy saucepan. Add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chillies, and paprika, and fry gently for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and parsley, and bring to the boil. Season, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.When the salsa has reduced to a thick, dark sauce, remove from the heat and mash it with a potato masher. Set aside.In a large, heavy frying pan, heat the remaining oil. Fry the potatoes for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and fry for 5 minutes more, until everything is well browned.Take the pan from the heat and stir in the tomato salsa. Make 4 large holes in the mixture and crack the eggs into the holes.Return the pan to the heat and fry the eggs for 5 minutes, or until cooked as you prefer. Sprinkle with the coriander and serve from the pan, with tortillas or crusty bread on the side.

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The Perfect Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

the tastemagician

Along with the Tandoori style of cooking in the Old City, Hyderabadi Biryanis are the greatest export of the Nizams Kitchen, the Deccan version is spicier than the Northern types, and there are hundreds of ways to say it but each is distinctive much like our own signatures, so heres another Blog on the Mighty Biryani, cleverly delayed because we were trying to simplify it and get it as authentic as possible.

In the last five years, this recipe has come a long way, almost every month Bhanu will give it a tweak, in search for that traditional Hyderabad flavour whose magic can be re-created in your own kitchen. The patience has paid off, as we have finally made it  very easy to follow and execute.

There are umpteen recipes and blogs on the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, but none that simplifies the process, as a cook in the old city…

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The Perfect Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

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Along with the Tandoori style of cooking in the Old City, Hyderabadi Biryanis are the greatest export of the Nizams Kitchen, the Deccan version is spicier than the Northern types, and there are hundreds of ways to say it but each is distinctive much like our own signatures, so heres another Blog on the Mighty Biryani, cleverly delayed because we were trying to simplify it and get it as authentic as possible.

In the last five years, this recipe has come a long way, almost every month Bhanu will give it a tweak, in search for that traditional Hyderabad flavour whose magic can be re-created in your own kitchen. The patience has paid off, as we have finally made it  very easy to follow and execute.

There are umpteen recipes and blogs on the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, but none that simplifies the process, as a cook in the old city would do. The biryani’s flavour is enhanced by the use of salt, not too much or not too little, hence we have actually told you how much salt is needed. Our research told us that this was the key along with the stages of making this biryani. Don’t forget the three degrees of which the rice is boiled before being out in layers. Don’t be tempted to add water this will only make the end product soggy, remember the meat will release enough moisture and thats enough to cook and keep the pre cooked rice moist. Do not disturb the Dum process until steam is forcing its way out of the lid, it is then the Biryani is ready, at this point it will be silky and moist, over cooking will dry it very quickly.

Patience is the utmost factor for a good Hyderabadi Biryani. The timings we have given are just a guide, but Hyderabadi cooking has to be done itminan se (patiently, a virtue that Bhanu has plenty of.) This recipe can serve about 8 people so, enjoy, and in Hyderabads famous verses

 Aala Pakwaan ka Aalaa Zayekha aapko Naseeb ho. Khuda Hafiz.( May the Grand tastes from the Grand Kitchen be in your Destiny. God Be with you)

Hyderabadi Biryani with Onion & Cucumber Raita, Cachumber and Micro Cress with cucumber flowers

Hyderabadi Biryani with Onion & Cucumber Raita, Cachumber and Micro Cress with Cucumber flowers

Ingredients:

The Marination:

  • 2 Kg Whole Chicken (Cut into 16 pieces, approx. Bone-in)
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks (2”piece)
  • 8 Whole Cardamom
  • 5 Whole Cloves
  • 31/2 tbsp Red Chili Powder
  • ⅛ tsp Turmeric
  • 4 tbsp Salt
  • 4 Green Chilies (Half Slit)
  • 1 Medium Onion- very thinly sliced

The Spices:

  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Green Cardamom Powder
  • 450 gm Thick Yoghurt
  • 6 tbsp. Mint leaves chopped
  • 6 tbsp. Coriander leaves chopped
  • 2 Medium Onion (very thinly sliced, and golden fried, reserve some for Dum)
  • 180 gm Ginger Garlic Paste

The Rice:

  • 750gm Aged XL Long Grain Basmati Rice
  • 3 tbsp Salt
  • 1 Cardamom
  • 2 Cloves
  • ½ inch Cinnamon

The Dum

  • 5 tbsp. Ghee (Not Clarified Butter!!)
  • ½ Lemon Juiced
  • A Pinch of Saffron
  • A Few Drops of Kewra (Screw Pine) Essence
  • A pinch of Garam Masala
  • 4 tbsp Deep Fried Onions
  • 4 tbsp Finely Chopped Coriander and Mint
  • 30 ml Hot Milk (to soak the saffron strands)
  • Clean Tea Towel
  • Cling Film and Foil

The Pre-Prep:

  • Soak saffron strands in hot milk, reserve till the end.
  • Thinly slice onions and fry them in oil till golden and crisp. Set aside until needed reserving the oil for later.
  • Clean wash and cut chicken to approx 16 pieces
  • In a bowl put together the Chicken with the ingredients listed on ‘The Marination’, and let it marinate for 2 Hours.
  • After 2 hours add the ingredients from ‘The Spices’ keep aside.
  • Pick and wash the Basmati rice and let it stand in Cold water for 30 Minutes. And Drain.
  • In a large pot of water, add 1 tbsp ghee & the ingredients from ‘The Rice’, except the rice, let the water come to a fierce boil.

 The Biryani:

  • In a deep and large heavy bottomed cooking pot, on a very low heat add 1tbsp of ghee and 3 tbsp the reserved oil from the fried onions, when the ghee melts add a 1 tsp of Shahi Jeera and the marinated Chicken.
  • In the meanwhile add the rice to the boiling water, when the rice is 20% done which should be in 3-4 minutes, using a perforated spoon take out 1/3rd the quantity of rice and add to the pot where the Chicken is cooking.
  • After another 4 minutes or when the rice is cooked 65% take out another 1/3rd and layer on top of the Chicken. Sprinkle some Kewra Essence and 1tbsp of the Coriander Mint mix and 1tbsp of fried onions.
  • After another 4 minutes or when the rice is cooked 90% drain the remaining rice and add to the final layer in the pot.
  • Don’t let the bottom of the pan burn, you could place the biryani pot on top of a thick skillet, or place it on charcoal with a bit of charcoal on top.
  • The Biryani needs to be moist and the grain single and silky.

The Dum:

  • When all the rice has been added into the pot, sprinkle all the ingredients from ‘The Dum’.
  • Moisten the kitchen cloth and place on top of the layered rice, secure tightly with the clink film and then the foil, not cover tight with a flat lid.
  • Raise the flame to medium and let the biryani cook for 20 minutes after this reduce heat to low and then keep on the flame for 20 minutes.
  • When steam starts to come out of the pot then your biryani’s ready, if not cook it for another 10 minutes.

Dum literally means steam, the process of maturing of a prepared dish. Dum existed even before the advent of slow cookers, In the olden days the bawarchi (cook) would seal the pot with a dough made of flour and then put smoldering coal on top and the bottom to ensure the moisture stayed within. The heat was then distributed evenly. The advantage of this kind of cooking is that since vapor cannot escape all the flavors and aroma are retained in the food.

~ Amal & Bhanu – The Taste Magicians.

Winter Squash Nizami Biryani

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My first blog on an Indian dish had to be the Biryani,it was never going to be easy, as every nook and corner of India has it favourite or even the Worlds best Biryani Point. The word was derived from the Persian Language and literally means ‘roast rice’. To make a proper Biryani you need patience, experience and follow the recipe, as there are no short cuts. Its full of flavours and you can get carried away to over do it, resist it at the moment and focus on keeping it simple yet bursting with flavours.

There are many kind of Biryani and no particular one is the ‘correct’ one, but theory has it that the Mughals brought this to India and from there the many versions,as usual in India, came about. There is the Mughlai – rich in its ingredients and flavour, the Avadh- rich in aroma and again ingredients, Dindigul – from the south of India but uses Zeeraga Samba rice as opposed to the Basmati used in the north, the there is the Hyderabadi – which is a very simple but you have to master the techniques to get it right. I can go on writing about just the biryani in India but i would need to do that in a separate book which we are working on.

The recipe we bring to you took us a year to master and simplify, we tried every kind of from Muslim, to Kacchhi, to Bengali, to Mumbai, it even included a trip to India, to Hyderabad precisely for a taste of Paradise Biryani Point, the HYderabadi’s swear by it, to be the best Ever in the world. It is not often that you have the famous Hyderabad Biryani in Vegetarian format, but it had to be done as this is easy to cook. The recipe, looks long and tedious, but it’s just that we have divided the entire recipe into processes you need to follow, and trust us the end product will leave your guests amazed!

So get cooking…and join the Journey Called Food.

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Winter Squash Biryani

Ingredients:

The Marination:

  • 1 tbsp. Ginger Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Medium Onion (very thinly sliced)
  • ⅓ tsp Red Chili Powder
  • ⅛ tsp Turmeric
  • 250 ml Full Fat Yoghurt
  • 2 Onions thinly sliced (and deep fried golden brown, reserve some for the Dum)
  • 4 medium sized Sweet Dumpling (or any variety of winter squash, the small ones)
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 large Yellow Zucchini
  • 1 large Green Zucchini

The Spices:

  • 1 ½ Mint leaves chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Coriander leaves chopped
  • 2 Green Chilies slit
  • 2 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 5 green Cardamoms
  • 1 tbsp Shahi Jeera (Black Cumin)
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp Cardamom powder

The Rice:

  • 1 ½ cups Aged XL Long Grain Basmati Rice
  • ¼ tsp Shahi Jeera
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Cardamom
  • 2 Cloves
  • ½ inch Cinnamon

The Dum

  • 5 tbsp. Ghee (Not Clarified Butter!!)
  • A Pinch of Saffron
  • A Few Drops of Kewra (Screw Pine) Essence
  • A pinch of Garam Masala
  • Deep Fried Onions
  • 4 tbsp Finely Chopped Coriander and Mint
  • 30 ml Hot Milk (to soak the saffron strands)
  • Clean Tea Towel
  • Cling Film and Foil

The Pre-Prep:

  • Soak saffron strands in hot milk, reserve till the end.
  • Thinly slice onions and fry them in oil till golden and crisp. Set aside until needed reserving the oil for later.
  • Dice the Zucchini in 1×1 inch dices,
  • Slice the top part of the winter squash and using a spoon scoop out the center taking care not to damage the outer skin.
  • In a bowl put together the diced and Scooped Zucchini with the ingredients listed on ‘The Marination’, and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes add the ingredients from ‘The Spices’ keep aside.
  • Pick and wash the Basmati rice and let it stand in Cold water for 30 Minutes. And Drain.
  • In a large pot of water, add 1 tbsp ghee & the ingredients from ‘The Rice’, except the rice, let the water come to a fierce boil.

The Biryani:

  • In a deep and large heavy bottomed cooking pot, on a very low heat add 1tbsp of ghee and 3 tbsp the reserved oil from the fried onions, when the ghee melts add a tsp of Shahi Jeera and the marinated Zucchini.
  • In the meanwhile add the rice to the boiling water, when the rice is 20% done which should be in 3-4 minutes, using a perforated spoon take out 1/3rd the quantity of rice and add to the pot where the Zucchini is cooking.
  • After another 4 minutes or when the rice is cooked 65% take out another 1/3rd and layer on top of the Zucchini. Sprinkle some Kewra Essence and 1tbsp of the Coriander Mint mix and 1tbsp of fried onions.
  • After another 4 minutes or when the rice is cooked 90% drain the remaining rice and add to the final layer in the pot.
  • Don’t let the bottom of the pan burn, you could place the biryani pot on top of a thick skillet, or place it on charcoal with a bit of charcoal on top.
  • The Biryani needs to be moist and the grain single and silky.

The Dum:

  • When all the rice has been added into the pot, sprinkle all the ingredients from ‘The Dum’.
  • Moisten the Tea Towel and place on top of the layered rice, secure tightly with the clink film and then the foil, not cover tight with a flat lid.
  • Raise the flame to medium and let the biryani cook for 20 minutes after this reduce heat to low and then keep on the flame for 20 minutes.
  • When steam starts to come out of the pot then your biryani’s ready, if not cook it for another 10 minutes.

Dum literally means steam, the process of maturing of a prepared dish. Dum existed even before the advent of slow cookers, In the olden days the bawarchi (cook) would seal the pot with a dough made of flour and then put smoldering coal on top and the bottom to ensure the moisture stayed within. The heat was then distributed evenly. The advantage of this kind of cooking is that since vapor cannot escape all the flavors and aroma are retained in the food.

The Journey Called Food – Caribbean

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The Journey Called Food.

My travels around the world has taken me to some wonderful places with absolutely brilliant food, be it street food or some top restaurant food, So it is quite natural that the first blog I write about the cuisines of the world, would be about the beautiful Caribbean islands. In this interesting journey I have met beautiful and genuine people, heard great music, had good food and have enjoyed the warm seas. My interesting journey to this amazing island brings me fond memories of its warm turquoise waters, colorful carnivals, the chocolate beauties, steel pans and of course the rum and coconut punch. It is here on a walk around Montego bay that I came across this simple jerk chicken recipe, cooked on an open wood fire, the man I befriended let me into the secrets of a perfect jerk which I use today from pulled pork to jerk roast to burgers. There is a basic and non-negotiable rule to jerk and that is, it has to be spicy – i.e. use only scotch bonnet there is no substitute to that. Secondly let the marinade soak in the meat, I let the meat soak for at least 48 hours in my refrigerator and finally never ever, cook it in your oven, jerk chicken is not complete without its “soul” – charcoal and wood smoke. The one I had was smoked on pimento tree wood that’s where the allspice berries come from. We have perfected this recipe and we now share it with you, and as always no journey to Jamaica is ever complete without a trip to the blue mountains, where the air of strong coffee lingers on, so to add to our jerk chicken we also give you a blue mountain chocolate brownie with dark chocolate sauce coffee ganache, and when your done lickin’ your fingers with the jerk chicken with the left over’s try our jerk roll, so “nyam” (eat) your “bickle” (food) and “labrish” (gossip) with friends. Bon Appetit!

Jamaican Coffee Brownie with Baileys Ganache

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Jamaican Coffee Brownie

Jamaican Coffee Brownie

 

You may have reached for brownies across café counters or picked them up at your local store. These bite-sized bits of decadence owe their existence to Bertha Palmer, an America business-woman, socialite and philanthropist. The story goes that brownies were created for Palmer after she requested a dessert – smaller than a piece of cake – for ladies attending the Chicago 1893 World Fair. These first brownies featured an apricot glaze and walnuts!

But the standard store brownies seldom come close to a batch baked fresh at home. To help you understand what we mean, we have in this recipe, a marriage of chocolate and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, designed to hit all the right notes on the taste-bud scale, and easy to make!

The famous coffee flavors both the brownies and their ganache topping, and you can give it a bit of Kahlua or Baileys Irish Cream essence by adding a teaspoon of the desired liqueur to the ganache. Ideally any coffee freshly ground will work for this recipe but the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is prized for its bold, clean flavor. However, good espresso beans and strong brewed espresso works well, too.

This recipe makes 15 brownies

Ingredients

Oil to grease the baking tray
Sugar 360 gms
Unsalted Butter 220 grams
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 90 grams
Finely ground (Blue Mountain ) Coffee Beans 20 grams
Salt 4 grams
Eggs 3 large
Vanilla Extract 15 grams
All Purpose flour 160 grams
Pecan Nuts 95 grams
Bitter Sweet Chocolate Chips 180 grams
Freshly brewed coffee 6 tablespoons

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F. Spray 33x23x5-cm metal pan with nonstick spray.
Combine sugar, butter, and cocoa, ground coffee, and salt in large metal bowl. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water and whisk until butter melts and ingredients are blended (texture will be grainy). Remove bowl from over water; cool mixture to lukewarm if necessary (to help the cooling process keep whisking), then whisk in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour over and fold in. Mix in pecans.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool brownies in the pan.

Place chocolate chips in small bowl. Bring brewed coffee to simmer in small saucepan; pour over chips and stir until melted and smooth. Optionally add the Kahlua or Baileys, let ganache stand until cool and beginning to thicken, about 1 hour; spread evenly over brownies. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature.) Cut brownies into 15 squares.

 

 

 

The Mango and Pomegranate salsa

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This refreshing salsa is sweet and sour and complements the jerk chicken roll very well. In this salsa, the fruity sweet taste of the mango with the tart sharpness of pomegranate combine well with the hint of sour and spice that comes from the sweet chili sauce and the smoky flavor from the grilled red pepper. This salsa holds well in a refrigerator for quite sometime.

Ingredients –
Diced Fresh Mango: 3 tablespoons
Pomegranate Seeds: 3 tablespoons
Finely Chopped Red Chili: 1 teaspoon
Finely Chopped Coriander: 1 teaspoon
Red Pepper: 1 small
Sweet Chili Sauce: 4 tablespoons
Salt and Pepper: to taste.

Tangy Mango and Pomegranate Salsa

Tangy Mango and Pomegranate Salsa

The Method:
Deseed the red pepper, rub some oil, and grill or roast in the oven.
Cool it down and dice it fine, and add with the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, store in an airtight container and refrigerate.