- 1 lb dried Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 2 -1/2 cups water
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup chopped Lindt Excellence 85% Dark chocolate
Vanilla Meringue butter cream
- 4 eggs white
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Chocolate caramel drizzle
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup 35% whipping cream
- 80 g Lindth Excellence 85% Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly grease 3-7″ springform pans or 2-9″ springform pans. Set aside.
- Combine dates and water in a small saucepan over medium-high-heat, bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a low and simmer for 10 minutes or until dates are tender and about 1/3 cup liquid remains.
- Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth; set aside.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Using electric mixer, cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy.
- Beat in vanilla; stir in egges, one at a time, scraping down sides after each addition.
- Stir in one-third of flour mixture; stir in half of date puree, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Repeat additions of flour and date puree; stir in remaining flour mixture.
- Stir in chopped chocolate. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until tester inserted in centre of cakes comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.
- Let cool for 10 minutes in pans, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.
- In a double boiler over medium-low heat, whisk egg whites with sugar until sugar has fully dissolved and instant-read thermometer reads 160 degree F(70degress F). Remove from heat.
- Add vanilla and salt to egg white mixture, using electric mixer, whip until meringue holds stiff peaks and mixture is at room tempreture. Add butter, one cube at a time, beating well after each addition. (If mixture looks like it is separating, keep beating until it looks smooth again.) When butter has incorporated, reduce to medium-high speed; beat for 2 minutes or until silky smooth. (Use immediately, or refrigerate briefly if buttercream is too soft.)
- Spoon buttercream into piping bag fitted with large tip.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar has disolved.
- Turn heat to medium-high; bring to a boil, and boil without stirring for 4 to 5 minutes, or until sugar mixture is deep gold.
- Remove from heat.
- Working quickly and being careful not to splash, stir in cream. Let cool slightly; add chocolate and salt, stirring until smooth.
- Let sauce cool to room tempreture.
- Trim domed tops from cake layers. Transfer one layer to cake board, plate or serving platter; drizzle with one third of the chocolate sauce.
- Pipe a circle of buttercream around cake, about 1/2 inch(1cm) from edge; fill with more butter cream.
- Top with second cake layer, drizzle with sauce and pipe buttercream over top.
- Add final cake layer; pipe remaining buttercream over top and side of cake, using a spatula to spread evenly.
- Drizzle remaining chocolate sauce over top and side of cake.
- Top with lindt truffles and chocolate sauce.
The best way to add chocolate to an already sweet dessert is to use chocolate that has a higher percentage of cacoa. This gives you all the bittersweet flavour without the extra sugar.
Spinach, chickpeas and sweet potato sausage rolls
- 1 can chickpeas(400) gms
- 1/2 lb yam(orange sweet potato)
- 4 ozs frozen chopped spinach
- 2 oz feta cheese
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 1 tsp freshly ground cumin
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 pkt frozen Puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Drain the chick peas, in a food processor pulse the chickpeas to a rough puree. Put this in a medium size bowl.
- Grate the sweet potato and add this to the bowl.
- Defrost the spinach and add this to the bowl.
- Crumble the cheese and add this to the mix.
- Finely chop the onion and add it to the mix.
- Finely grate or chop garlic and ginger, add this to the mix.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except egg and sesame seeds and mix well.
- Lightly beat the egg and brush it all over the pastry sheets.
- Cut the pastry about 3″ wide.
- Place the vegetable mixture in the centre 1″ pastry, using your hands form it into a sausage shape the lenght of the pastry. roll the pastry around the filling, as firmly as possible without stretching the pastry, until you have a roll shape with about 1/2″ overlap.
- Egg wash each roll and sprinkle with sesane seeds.
- Transfer the rolls to the freezer for about 30 minutes to set a little which will make it easier to cut.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking tray with butter or pam or line it with parchment or greaseproof paper.
- Remove the rolls from the freezer, using a sharp knife, cut the rolls to your desired lenght. Place the cut rolls onto a greased baking tray seam side down, and bake for 25-30 minutes until pastry is golden.
- Note. If the rolls collapse a bit during baking and the filling spills out, once the pastry is golden and they are out of the oven, using two desert spoons – one of either sides of the sausage roll – to gently push the filling into the pastry into a roll shape.
Indian Kashmiri Dum Aloo is a mildly spiced potato curry, tomato based,cooked with spices and yoghurt.
It is not as spicy as it looks. The curry has the Indian spices, yoghurt and gorgeous lush red colour from tomato paste.
In Indian homes, a curry is for dinner, no matter how hot the tempreture.
According to the elders, spices in a curry help fight stress, calm you down, and make you feel good even on a hot summer day. Some spices are cooling and are preferred on summer days.
Cooling spices are: cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, green cardamom. So in summer we have cardamom tea, yoghurt based curries li ke dum aloo, or cumin(jeera) lassi or fennel ice cream.
Warming spices are: Cinnamon, black cardamom, mustard seeds, cloves, star anise, bay leaves, curry leaves, mace etc.
- 10-12 small potatoes peeled and cut in half
- 1 cup yoghurt (if using Greek yoghurt add 1/4 cup water)
- 3-4 tbsp cilantro(to garnish)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1-2 white onion(about 1 cup finely chopped)
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 tsp chopped ginger
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mild paprika or
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/3 cup cashews(10-12 soaked in mild and blended)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp cardamon seeds
- 4-5 black pepper
- Wash the potatoes. Peel off skin and cut then in half. Prick each potato with fork 2-3 times (this makes potatoes tender faster when frying and also help absorb flavour in the curry later)
- Heat a large saucepan. Add all the spices except chili powder and roast for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and grind to a powder.
- Soak cashew in milk and set it aside.
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom large saucepan. Add potatoes and cook until crispy almost brown from all sides,
- Remove potatoes on a plate lined with paper towel. Test if done – pierce a knife through one potato, the knife should slide in smoothly.
- Add onions, garlic and ginger and saute until onions are soft.
- While onions cook, grind cashew to a paste with soaking milk. In onion, mixture add ground toasted spices and cook for 1 minute. Add Cashew paste and cook for 3-4 minutes until oil separates.
- Reduce heat to low, add yoghurt and mix well. Increase the heat and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until oil separates.
- Add the potatoes with 1/2 cup of water, mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, garnish with cilantro and serve with naan and/or rice.
- 1 lb all purpose flour
- 1/2 lb butter
- 1 cup water
- 4 oz cheddar cheese grated medium fine
- 1/4 tsp celery seeds(optional)
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 oz parmigiano cheese grated medium fine
- Add the flour in a medium size bowl.
- Divide the butter in four.
- Cut one portion into small pea size pieces. Rub this into the flour. Place the rest of the butter in a cool place until required. (You can grate the butter if you want).
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the water, mix to a fairly stiff dough, using a fork.
- Sprinkle board, rolling pin and your hands with flour. turn out dough on to the board and sprinkle with flour again.
- Knead dough briskly at least 5 minutes until smooth and silky.
- Sprinkle the dough with flour, cover with a damp cloth, and leave to rest on the board for about 10 minutes.
- First rolling: Roll out the dough to an oblong strip about 10” to 12”.
- Dab the top 2/3 of the dough with 1/2 x 1/4 inch pieces of butter, keeping the pieces in rows and leaving a 1/2” margin all around.
- Fold the uncovered 1/3 of the dough upwards and the top 1/3 downwards and over the bottom fold.
- With the rolling pin, lightly press the 3 open edges together to seal.
- Second rolling: Brush of any surplus flour. Turn the dough so that the longer sealed edge is on the left.
- Roll out the dough to a 10 x 12 inch strip.
- Dab on third portion of the butter, as for the second portion. Fold and seal edges as before. Plastic wrap the dough or put the dough in a plastic bag and refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Third rolling: as for the second rolling using the last portion of the butter. Rest as before.
- Fourth rolling, as for the 2nd rolling, sprinkle grated cheese, celery seeds and red chilli powder on the top 2/3 of the dough and fold it in 1/3 as before. Let it rest as before.
- Fifth Rolling: Roll out to 1/4 “ thick, brush the pastry with a beaten egg, sprinkle with parmigiano cheese. With a pastry wheel or a sharp knife cut into strips or square to the desired size. Space 1/2 inch apart on a baking sheet. refrigerate for 30 min.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes till the cookies are golden brown and cooked through.
If you do not want to make the pastry, you can buy the frozen puff pastry from the grocery store.
do Step 16 and 17.
Khara Biscuit: Roll the pastry 5 times, cut it into desired shape and bake.
Mix 2 oz brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon powder.
Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife cut dough into 1/2 x 12 inch strips; twist into spirals.
Space 1/2 inch apart on a baking sheet.
Press ends onto the sheets to prevent straws from straightening. Refrigerate for 30 mins.
Bake as above.
These flaky little pies may be the ultimate grab-and-go dessert. Makes 8 pies
- 2 Bosc pears (1 lb), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/3 cup plus 1-1/2 tblsp sugar
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1 14 oz package frozen puff pastry (thawed)
- 1 egg beaten
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
- In a medium bowl, toss the diced pears with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tbsp flour and the cranberries, ground cloves, cinnamon and salt.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 14-1/2 inch square, about 1/8” thick.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into 8 squares.
- Spoon the pear filling onto a corner of each squares, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
- Fold the pastry over the filling to make a triangle and firmly press the edges to seal.
- Crimp the edges with a folk to allow steam to escape during baking.
- Transfer the pies to a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until chilled.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush the chilled pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle them with the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoon sugar.
- Bake the pies for about 30 minutes, until they are golden brown.
- Let the pies cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
This rich German fruit bread is particularly popular in the city of Dresden, where a huge stollen is traditionally paraded through the streets at the annual Stollenfest.
- 1.5 oz candied peel
- 2 oz glace cherries
- 1 orange
- 4 oz raisins, sultanas and currants
- 1 oz dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp brandy or rum
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 1 tsp dried active yeast*
- 1 oz sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk, plus a little extra
- 10 oz all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 2 oz unsalted butter(at room temperature)
- 1 medium egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 oz almomds
- 8 oz marzipan
- olive oil, or vegetable oil for greasing
- icing sugar, for dusting
- Finely chop the candied peel, and quarter the glace cherries. Finely grate the orange zest.
- Place all the diced fruit into a bowl with the orange zest. Squeeze the orange juice into a pan, add the brandy or rum and heat to just below boiling point, then pour it over the dried fruit. Mix well, then set aside for 1 to 2 hours to allow it to plump up.
- Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar(roughly 1/4 tsp)
- Spoon the yeast into a bowl of a free standing mixer, then add sugar.
- In a pan, heat the milk until just warm, add to the yeast and whisk to combine. Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes, until the yeast has formed a thick foamy crust on the milk.
- Add the flour, spices and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Using a dough hook, combine the butter, egg and vanilla, then mix for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
- Roughly chop the almonds and pistachio.
- Pour away about half the liquid from the soaked fruit, then add the fruit and remaining liquid to the dough, along with the nuts. Mix again.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 1 minute. Shape the dough into an oval shape, about A4 size.
- Roll the marzipan into a neat log, about 4cm shorter than the length of the dough , and place in the middle of the oval.
- Brush one long edge with milk and fold it over, completely encasing the marzipan, and press the edge together to seal.
- Carefully lift the dough onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees/gas mark 4.
- Remove the clingfilm, then bake the stollen for 30 minutes, or until golden, risen and the underside sounds slightly hollow when tapped.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack before dredging with icing sugar.
*Not to be confused with fast action dried yeast, which comes in a tub. Unlike fast-action, it needs to be activated with warm liquid and sugar before adding to the mixture.
5 Tips For Indian Cooking
GRIND YOUR OWN SPICES FOR BOLDER FLAVOUR
Dedicate a grinder for this.
“Do small amounts, and save leftovers in an airtight containers.”
LEARN ONE SKILL TARKA.
The technique of frying whole spices in hot oil takes just a few seconds, it will give them a roasted, intense flavour.
KNOW YOUR FRESH CHILLIES
Look for Bird’s eye chillies, which are thin-skinned, bright green or red, slim, and hot. If you can not find them use serrano.
DON’T DROWN YOUR RICE
The standby ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups of water ends in gloppy grains. Wash and soak rice, then use a proportion of 1 cup rice to 1-1/3 water.
MAKE IT AHEAD
Most dishes are just fine refrigerated for a day or two. Most dishes will taste better the next day.