Monthly Archives: December 2011

Green Masala


Green Masala is a mix of fresh garlic, ginger, jalapeno, cilantro and mint. In Indian cooking we always use garlic, ginger, jalapeno and cilantro; so blend all this in a blender and freeze it in an ice tray.  When the masala is frozen put it in a zip lock bag or a plastic container and use as needed.  You can also buy the masala from an Indian Grocery store or a Supermarket. You will find crushed Garlic and crushed Ginger at a Supermarket.


  • 1/2              lb  Garlic
  • 1/2              lb  Ginger
  • 1/4              lb  Jalapeno(or to taste)
  • 1                 bunch Cilantro
  • 1                 bunch Mint
  • 1                 tsp Salt
  • 1/2              cup Lemon Juice


  1. Peel the garlic and  ginger(use a potato peeler to peel the ginger).
  2. Chop the jalapeno in big chunks.
  3. Rinse and chop the cilantro.
  4. Remove the leaves from the mint stem and rinse it.
  5. Put everything in a blender or a food processor and blend to a fine paste.
  6. Freeze it and use it as needed.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Makes 1 four-layer cake, serves 10 – 12
  • This recipe also makes two 6-inch cakes: Use four 6-
  • by 2-inch round cake pans, and spread each layer with
  • one-half cup of frosting.


  • 3             cups all purpose flour
  • 1             cup (3 oz) pecan halves
  • 1             lb large carrots,  peeled
  • 3             large egg, room temperature
  • 1/3          cup buttermilk
  • 1             tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2             cups sugar
  • 1- 1/2      cups butter, melted
  • 1              tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2              tsp  baking powder
  • 1              tsp baking soda
  • 1              tsp salt
  • 1              tsp ground  cinnamon
  • 1/2           Cup Pecan halves for decoration 


  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Spray two 8-by2-inch round cake pans.  Spread Pecans in a plate and microwave it for 1 minute.  Let it cool completely.  Finely chop pecans, and set it aside.
  2. Using the smallest holes (less than 1/4 inch in diameter) of a box grater, grate carrots, yielding 2 1/2 cups.  Place carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, butter and ginger in a large bowl; whisk until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined.  Fold in the toasted pecans.
  4. Divide batter between two cake pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 minutes.  Turn cakes out onto a rack;  let stand until completely cool.
  5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of the cakes so surfaces are level.  Slice each layer in half horizontally.  Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round, and spread 3/4 cup frosting over top.  Place a second cake layer on top, and spread with another 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat with third layer and another 3/4 cup frosting.   Place last cake layer on top, and spread with remaining frosting over the top and the sides of the assembled cake.  Decorate with pecan halves.  Transfer to refrigerator, and chill 3 to 4 hours.


Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 5 cups

  • 3/4       cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3           eight-ounce bars cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3           cups icing sugar
  • 1           tbsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 2           tbsp freshly grated ginger
  •              pinch of salt


  1. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add cream cheese, and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat 5 minutes more.

Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.




Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas eve and I am preparing for tomorrow.  We will do Christmas with my daughter and her husband.  I have to make appetizers and a dessert.  I have made Nanaimo Bars and have prepared  for Chicken Tikka  Pita Pockets, Vegetable Samosas and Vietnamese rolls.  For dessert I have my Carrot Cake, a platter of cookies, Fruit cake and Nanaimo bars.

Chicken Tikka Pita Pockets:  These little pita pockets are great for appetizers.  You can fill them up with anything you like, Taco meat, Souvalaki meat, and Daal bhajias are a few examples.  You can also use the larger pita bread and fill them with a salad and  some meat and serve it for lunch.

Chicken Tikka is a chicken dish served in Indian and Pakistani cuisine.  It originated in Pakistan in the state of Sind.  It is popular in countries all over the world.  It is traditionally small pieces of boneless chicken baked using skewers, in a clay-based oven called a tan door, after marinating in spices.

The word tikka means bite.  It can be cooked on a BBQ .

Samosa is a stuffed, deep fried snack that is very popular in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Southwest Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, and Africa.  It is a triangle shell with a savoury filling, which may include spiced vegetables, lentils, meat or chicken.  Samosas are served as an appetizer or a light lunch with salad.   It is served with Tamarind chutney or lemon wedge.   Samosas are widely available in Indian restaurants and snack-bars in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

Vietnamese salad rolls are made with rice paper.  They are filled with prawns, vegetable, herbs and rice vermicelli.   They are served at room temperature and not fried.  It is listed at number 30 on worlds 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011.   I have made mine with chicken and Vegetables and I will serve it as an appetizer.  You can use the large rice paper and serve it as lunch.  This is served with peanut sauce.

Nanaimo Bars

The Nanaimo bar is a dessert of Canadian origin popular across North America. The Nanaimo bar is a bar cookie which requires no baking, and is named after the West-Coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. It consists of a wafer crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavored butter icing, which is covered in chocolate made from melted chocolate squares. Many varieties are possible by using different types of crumb, flavors of icing (e.g. mint, peanut butter), and types of chocolate. Two popular variations on the traditional Nanaimo bar involve mint flavored icing or mocha flavored icing.

Chicken Tikka Pita Pockets

Chicken Tikka Pita Pockets Vietnamese RollsSalad Rolls


Samosa Meat &Vegetable

Samosa  Naniamo BarsNanaimo Bars

Coffee Party

We have all been celebrating Christmas this month  and we will be celebrating more next week too.  I will be posting some appetizers  and desserts for you to make and take it with you to your parties.

Tonight I have a coffee party and I will make Chicken Pies.  These pies are so popular in my family.  I have made thousands of them over the years and I have sold thousands too.  You can make them and freeze them baked or unbaked and use them as needed.  It is a good lunch to take to school, after school snack for kids, pies and salad for a light lunch or afternoon snack with a cup of tea.

I am making Chatako.  This is an Indian Vegetarian dish.  You will find different versions of it and it is also known by different names.  I use Advi na Bhajia (Patra), some people make pakoras and use that instead.  If you have leftover pakoras you can use that and get a completely different dish.  Chatako can be used as an appetizer, mid afternoon snack or a light lunch.  I got this from Noorbanu Nimji’s recipe book and modified it a little.  You can buy Patra from Indian grocery stores; you can buy it frozen or canned.  If you are using frozen follow the  cooking instructions on the package to cook.

I will also make Masala Mogo (cassava).  This is fried mogo (cassava) and then added to a rich tomato based masala served with Ambli (Tamarind Sauce). 

Tamarind sauce is very popular for Indian snacks.

For dessert I will make Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.  This cake is very tasty. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart’s website.  She had once demonstrated the cake on her TV show.

I also have a platter of Cookies and Fruit Cake.

Chicken Pies

Chicken Pies Chatako_thumbmogo masala


Ginger Carrot Cake

Cookie Tray

Fruit Cake


Jewel Cookies

Jewel Cookies

Makes about 4 dozens


  • 1 cup         soft butter
  • 1/2 cup      light brown sugar
  • 2                egg yolks
  • 2 tsp          vanilla extract
  • 2 cups        all purpose flour
  • 2                egg whites slightly beaten
  • 2 cups        finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 4 tbsp        red jelly or jam


  1. In a medium bowl, with wooden spoon, beat butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Stir in flour just until combined. 
  3. Preheat oven to 375F.  Using hands, roll dough into balls 1 inch in diameter.  Dip in egg white; then roll in walnuts.
  4. Place, 1 inch apart, on ungreased  cookie sheets.  With thimble or the handle of a wooden spoon, press centre of each cookie.
  5. Bake 10 – 12 minutes, or until a delicate golden-brown.  Remove to wire rack;  cool.
  6. Place 1/4 teaspoon jelly/jam in centre of each cookie.  (Diced candied fruit may be used, instead of jelly, if desired)

I have used plum jam

Raw Vegetables and Beet Dip


  • 1 can           (14oz) Beets, drained
  • 1 pkg           (8oz) Cream Cheese
  • 1 tbsp          finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 tsp        Tabasco


  1. In a Food Processor blend everything together.
  2. Serve with Cut Vegetables.


  • Broccoli floret
  • Cauliflower floret
  • Celery Sticks
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mushroom
  • Red Pepper cut in Strips
  • Zucchini Cut in slices

Tex Mex Dip


  • 3 med               Avocado
  • 2 tbsp               lemon Juice
  • 1/2  tsp            salt
  • 1/4 tsp             crushed black pepper
  • 1 cup                sour cream
  • 1/2 cup             Mayonnaise
  • 1 pkg                 Taco Season Mix
  • 2 cups               Bean Dip
  • 1 cup                 sliced green onions
  • 1 cup                 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans (3.5 oz)   pitted olives drained and chopped
  • 1 pkg (8oz)         shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag                  round tortilla chips


  1. Mix together first 4 ingredients.
  2. Mix next 3 ingredients.
  3. On a large platter spread bean dip.
  4. Top with Avocado mixture.
  5. Layer with sour cream.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped onions, tomatoes and olives.
  7. Cover with shredded cheese.

Serve with Tortilla Chips

Mushroom – Spinach, softened Pinwheels

Makes 30 pieces


  • 1- 8              oz package cream Cheese, softened
  • 2/3              cup Butter, softened
  • 2                  cups all purpose Flour
  • 2                  tsp Baking Powder


  • 1-10              oz package frozen chopped Spinach
  • 2 1/2             cup chopped fresh Mushroom
  • 1                   cup chopped Onion
  • 2                   tbsp Butter
  • 1                   tbsp all purpose Flour
  • 1/2               tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2               tsp salt
  • 1/2               tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8               tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4               cup grated Parmesan Cheese.


  1. Beat together cream cheese and the 2/3 cup butter in a large bowl.  Add the flour and the baking powder, beat well.  
  2. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic.  Chill 30 – 60 min. or till easy to handle.
  3. Cook spinach according to package directions, drain, squeeze out excess liquid; set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, cook and stir mushrooms and onion in the 2 tbsp butter over medium heat for 3 minutes or till onion is tender and transparent.
  5. Add spinach, 1 tbsp all purpose flour, oregano, salt, lemon juice, and garlic powder.  Cook and stir till mixture thickens.  Stir in parmesan cheese; cool.
  6. Roll one dough portion on a floured surface into a 12 x 7 inch rectangle.  Spread with half the spinach mixture to within 1/2” of edges.  Roll up dough and filling jelly-roll style, starting with the long edge.  Moisten edges with water; pinch to seal.  Cover and chill 1 hour.  Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  7. Combine egg white and 1 tbsp water. 
  8. Slice rolls into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet; brush with egg mixture.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or till golden.  Transfer to wire racks.  Cool.

To make ahead: wrap rolls in freeze wrap and freeze up to 3 months.

Let thaw in the fridge.  Slice, brush with egg mixture and bake.

Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti

The crispy crumbly texture and richness of Parmesan in these savory biscotti make them ideal for nibbling while sipping beer.

This is a recipe I got from Canadian Living Holiday Issue Fall 2008

Makes about 40 Biscotti

Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti










  • 2                     cups all purpose flour                   500ml
  • 1                     cup  finely grated parmesan
  •                        cheese                                          250m
  • 1-1/2               tsp baking powder                            7ml
  • 1-1/2               tsp cracked black pepper                 7ml    
  • 1/4                  tsp  salt                                             1ml
  • Pinch              cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2                  cup cold butter, cut into                125ml
  •                        small cubes
  • 2                     eggs
  • 1/2                  cup half and half                           125ml 


  1. In a Bowl, whisk together flour, all but 1 tbsp of the cheese, the baking powder, pepper, salt and cayenne.  Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until  mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with all but 2 tsp of the half and half; stir into flour mixture to form smooth dough.
  3. Divide dough in half.  On lightly floured surface, roll each into 10 inch (25cm) long log, 2 inches (5cm) apart, on parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet; press to flatten slightly.
  5. Brush with remaining cream; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake in 300 degree F (180 degree C) oven until light golden and just firm to the touch, about 30 minutes.  Let cool on pan on rack for 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer logs to cutting board.  Using chef’s knife, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) thick slices.  Stand slices up, 1/2 inch (1cm) apart on baking sheet.  Bake in 325 degrees F (180degrees C) oven until almost dry, about 35 minutes.  Transfer to rack ; let cool. 

Store layered between wax paper in airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.


Today I am going to a dinner party and have offered to take a dessert. I decided to make trifle. This is one of the first fancy desserts I learned to make in high school. Trifle is a cold English dessert consisting of sponge cake and fruit, topped with layers of Jello, custard and whipped cream.   You can use any fruit you like (eg. fresh berries) or use mixed fruit.  You can make a sherry trifle by soaking your cake in sherry.  When I was a teenager we lived on a farm and there was always an abundance of milk, eggs, butter and whipping cream- all the key ingredients in this dessert. Trifle has to be made in stages, so it is a little time consuming to make.  You have to make your cake, jello and custard in advance and you also need a couple of hours for everything to set.  It’s best to make trifle a day in advance.

To save time you can buy a store bought cake and canned custard. You can use sponge cake or Swiss Roll.  (swiss roll may also be known as jelly roll)

Swiss Roll


  • 3               eggs
  • 4               oz caster sugar (also known as Berry Sugar)
  • 4               oz flour
  • 1               tbsp hot water
  • 2               tbsp  Berry sugar for dredging
  • 2               tbsp warm jam to fill


  1. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl placed over a pan of hot water. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick and fluffy, and stiff enough to retain the impression of the whisk for a few seconds.
  2. Fold in the flour, very lightly with the hot water and a metal spoon.
  3. Pour the mixture into the greased and lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake in a preheated hot oven 425 degrees for 7 – 9 min.till golden and springy to the touch. Have ready a sheet of greaseproof paper liberally sprinkled with berry sugar. Turn the cake on to this and remove the lining paper.
  5. Using a sharp knife, trim off all the crisp outer edges, and quickly spread the surface of the roll with some warmed jam to within ½ inch of the edge.
  6. Make a long cut half- way through the sponge, 1” from the near end and roll up the sponge as tightly as possible, using the paper to help manipulate it. Cool on a wire rack.


Trifle Ingredients

  • 1                swiss Roll
  • 1-85           g  package lime jello
  • 1 –85         g package strawberry jello
  • 2 1/4          cup half and half
  • 2                tbsp custard powder
  • 3                tbsp sugar
  • 1                (398 ml) can fruit salad
  • 2                cups whipping cream


Make the Jello:

  1. Stir 1 cup boiling water into jello powder and stir till completely dissolved. Add a cup of cold water.
  2. Let the lime jello set. Strawberry jello can set on the fruit in the trifle bowl
  3. Slice the swiss roll into ½ “ slices and line a glass bowl. Put a couple of the slices in the bottom of the bowl. Drain the fruit and put this in the bowl. Add the strawberry jello on the fruit and let it set.
  4. When the strawberry jello is set, pour the cooled custard on it.
  5. Cube the lime jello and put it on the custard.
  6. Whip the cream till it is thick, spread this on the custard.
  7. Decorate with cut up fruit, nuts and or chocolate.

Make the custard:

On The Stove

  1. In a Medium saucepan boil 2 cups milk over a high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the custard powder and sugar in a 1/4 cup of milk. 
  3. Add this to the hot milk, and cook on medium heat stirring constantly till the mixture thickens. 
  4. Pour it in a bowl, cover the custard  with plastic(to stop the skin forming)  and cool it in the fridge.

In the microwave

  1. Pour the milk in a large microwaveable bowl.  
  2. Microwave the milk on high for 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl mix the custard powder, sugar and 1.4 cup milk.  
  4. Pour this in the hot milk and microwave for 2 minutes, Stir and microwave for 2 more minutes.  The custard should be thick.
  5. Put the plastic on the custard(to stop forming a skin)
  6. Cool it in the fridge.