Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I have moved!

This post is going to be brief.
I have moved.
To a new domain, i.e.
Please do visit :D :
See ya there :D

Friday, November 21, 2008

Apologies.. :(

I would like to sincerely apologise for lack no updates since september. But I have an honest explanation.. i do .. i do.

I just started my first year of University and well you guessed it I have been extrmly busy plus I have NO KITCHEN. If you count the shared kitchen then yeah but dude I refuse to use it .. unless the need is too great .. like this once..

So I'm in malaysia right not and i have access to the greatest fruits and vegetables imaginable and i cant really cook anythng because i dont have a ktichen (as previously stated) and i dont have any utencils :'(

Anyway, I was out grocery shopping and I come across black rice, I have heard about it but never actually seen it (you where i live and stuff) so i bought it immedialty and finally after months of no cooking went to the shared kitchen and boiled rice.

What did I have with the rice, if your wondering.. nothing. well i did have celery and some arabic pickles that i got but yea .. I cant afford the luxury of having something to go with rice, I mean why can't rice not be eaten by itself?!

When I cooked the rice, it turned purple!! yes my friends you read this correctly -- it turned PURPLE! So now i call it purple rice! :)

It had this very nutty flavour, so unlike the regular boring rice. Thus it could be eaten by itself. :D

It doesn't require any recipe just soak it for 4 hours or so (I soaked it overnight - so much more efficient) and then boiled with a pinch of salt for approximately 45 minutes.

ze lovely pictors:


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Um Ali


Um Ali is a traditional Arabic dessert dish and is very very rich made almost on every special occasion. Its basically a sort of bread pudding and is one of my all time favourite desserts (and being such a huge food lover categorizing something as my favourite is a big deal!!).

Um Ali translates to Ali's mother (which Ali - that's yet to be discovered..). Despite this dish being extremely..extremely.. unbelievably delicious and easy to make, restaurants over here rarely get it right - something always seems to be off, only at times have I tasted one that was just perfect!

So finely I decided how unclever of me .. here I am baking all sorts of fancy stuff and the one thing that I absolutely am in love with I have NEVER made or even considered making!

For the recipe I went to the one person that can totally kick Martha Stewart a$$ (comment not meant to be mean spirited) - My aunt! I got the recipe made some amendments and voila - Um Ali as it should be! :D

Um Ali

  • Ingredients:

1) 250g Puff Pastry

2) 1/2 cup raisins and dates (chopped and seeded)

3) 1/2 cup coarsely chopped of your favorite nuts (I used pistachios and almonds)

4) ½ cup sugar

5) 1 Tablespoon rose water

6) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7) 3  cups whole milk

8) 1/2 cup heavy cream

§ Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 1-qt (2L) baking dish.

2) place the puff pastry sheets in the oven for around 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool so you can handle them with your hands. Break the puff pastry into small squares and arrange half the pastry in the buttered baking dish sprinkle with chopped dates and raisons and nuts. Do the same for the remaining half and set aside.

3) Bring the milk and sugar to a boil, whisking occasionally. Whisk in the rose water and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the puff pastry. making sure everything is covered.

4) Top with heavy cream and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.

5) Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes,garnish with chopped nuts. Serve warm.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas with home made tortillas


I've always wanted to make my own whole wheat flour tortillas but was never able to find the right recipe - they always seemed to be lacking something - well not anymore, because I have found the recipe for the perfect (If there exists such a thing) whole wheat flour tortillas!

Also the above quesadilla's where a big hit with my family specially my brothers who tend to be very picky eaters and don't do foreign. I mean even if its something simple like rosemary scented oven grilled fries they will refuse to look at them (if they found out that they are rosemary scented oven grilled potatoes), unless I tell them its plain ol' french fries then they will gobble them down - you get me , right? 

  Chicken and mushroom Quesailla's

  • Ingredients:
  1. 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 teaspoons chili powder
  3. 1 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  5. 2 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
  6. 2 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  7. 1 cups shredded cooked chicken
  8. 1 small finely chopped onion
  9. 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  10. 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar and masadam Cheese (masadam is one of my all time favourite cheeses - along with parmesan, gorgonzola, goat, cheddar, mozzarella, feta... the list will go on for several pages but I hope you get the picture!)
  11. Olive oil (to brush)
  12. 4 (around 8 inch diameter) home made tortillas (recipe follows)
  • Directions:

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chili powder, garlic and oregano. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add shiitake and button mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes then add onions and saute for a further 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in chicken and cilantro. Cool 10 minutes. Mix in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Heat a dry iron skillet.Lightly brush oil on 1 side of tortillas. Place tortillas, oil side down on skillet (one by one). Put the chicken mixture on the tortilla, spreading to even thickness. Let it sit on the skillet until slightly colored, fold the tortilla in half and cook both sides until golden brown. Do the same for the remaining tortillas. Cut into wedges. serve and enjoy.

note: I put jalapenoes in mine! You may do the same!

Whole Wheat flour tortillas

Adapted from homesick texans blog, you will need half this recipe for the quesadillas

§ Ingredients:

1) 2 cups of all-purpose flour (can make them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)

2) 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

3) 1 teaspoon of salt

4) 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil

5) 3/4 cups of warm milk

§ Directions:

1) Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.

2) Slowly add the warm milk.

3) Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.

4) Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.

5) After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)

6) After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.

If not making Quesadillas then:
In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Eggplant and green pepper kugel


A kugel? you may have not heard of it, I hadn't either until I came upon it day before yesterday on www.myrecipes.com .

Traditionally a kugel is made either with potatoes or noodles but this one uses matzo meal (you can substitute this with regular breadcrumbs - I used whole wheat ones that I made at home).

This dish kinda reminded me of a quiche, and it was very delicious and well accepted - the leftovers I used them the next day as filling in puff pastry (very clever if I may add).

Eggplant and green pepper kugel

  • Ingredients:
  1. 1  large eggplant (about 2 pounds)
  2. 2  teaspoons  vegetable oil
  3. 3  cups  finely chopped onion
  4. 1 1/2  cups  finely chopped green bell pepper
  5. 3  tablespoons  pine nuts
  6. 1 1/2  teaspoons  salt
  7. 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  8. 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  9. 3/4  cup  matzo meal
  10. Cooking spray
  11. 1  teaspoon  paprika
  • Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Pierce eggplant several times with a fork; place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly; peel and chop. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and nuts. Cook 6 minutes or until onion is tender. Add onion mixture, salt, black pepper, and eggs to eggplant; stir well to combine. Add matzo meal; toss gently to combine. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 450° for 35 minutes or until pudding is thoroughly heated and golden brown.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Deep fried and smothered in chocolate!


Ever since I saw  the post at joy the bakers blog regarding doughnuts, I've had an urge to make them. So a couple of days ago I went to her post to get the recipe but found out that The dough had to sit for around 8 hours as it had yeast and I was in no mood to wait 8 hours - I googled quick and easy doughnuts and ended up with this recipe.

Before I initiate my ramblings view on these cuties, I have to tell you about the title of this post - deep fried and smothered in chocolate, does it ring a bell? no? how about when I say its from a movie with a green ogre? well okay maybe I'm the only person who has watched shrek trilogy till all the lyrics, lines and scenes are embedded in my head! So the evil fairy godmother says this in the 2nd movie right after shrek, donkey and cat wreck her factory! And I've always wanted to use this line - and now I have! Thank you.

Okay so when you eat these doughnut balls ( that's what I made) don't be thinking about dunkin' doughnuts , alright?! Moving on to the positive - these are not your typical doughnuts (i.e. light and airy) but they are more like cake doughnuts (which I am a big fan of by the way)!And they can certainly, definitely fix any doughnut craving  instantly! Moreover if you have kids, you will be making these regularly ( My little bro he's 8yrs old loved them! Totally Off topic: Today was his first day in fourth grade he looked sooo adorable in his combed out hair and neatly pressed uniform! I should have taken a picture!!)

Cake Doughnuts

  • Ingredients:

1) ¼ cup Buttermilk

2) 2 tablespoons shortening

3) 1/2 cup white sugar

4) 1 egg

5) 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6) 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

7) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

8) 1/4 teaspoon salt

9) 1 quart oil for deep frying

10) 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting

  • Directions:

1) In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture alternating with the vinegar and milk. Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/3 inch thickness. Cut into doughnuts using a donut cutter. Let stand for about 10 minutes.

3) Heat the oil in a large deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fry doughnuts in the hot oil until golden, turning over once. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners' sugar while they are still warm, and serve immediately. (I dipped mine in chocolate icing and put blue sprinkiles on them!)


Monday, September 8, 2008

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti - 2 go!












So let me start by enlightening my dear readers with the ' 2 go ' next to the title of this post. Basically I made these Oh my gawd delicious biscotti to take with me in an airtight container to university. Weird - I know, but since I don't really do store bought cookies I thought this will be a good alternative - till it lasts.

The recipe adapted from www.joyofbaking.com actually called for hazelnuts but my nut of the moment has been pistachio lately so I opted for them instead.

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

  • Ingredients:

1) 4 ounces (125 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2) 1 cup (215 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

3) 1 3/4 (250 grams) cups all-purpose flour

4) 1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed

5) 1 tablespoon (4 grams) instant espresso powder

6) 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda

7) 1/4 teaspoon salt

8) 3 large eggs

9) 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure vanilla extract

10) 1 cup (150 grams) Pistachios, toasted.

  • Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). To toast Pistachios: spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.Cool. Set aside while you prepare the dough.

2) Reduce temperature of oven to 300 degree F (150 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

3) In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the coarsely chopped chocolate and brown sugar and process until the chocolate is very fine; set aside.

4) Sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the eggs and vanilla extract and beat to blend, about 30 seconds. On low speed mix in the chocolate/sugar and flour mixtures until a stiff dough forms, adding the pistachios about half way through mixing.

5) Divide the dough in half. Transfer to the baking sheet and drop the dough in the shape of a log using spatula , spacing them well apart (width-wise on the pan), and pat to even the shapes. Bake until almost firm to the touch, about 35 - 40 minutes (logs will spread during baking). Remove from the oven, place on wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes.

6) Using a long spatula transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife cut the dough into slices 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick on the diagonal. Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake until crisp and dry, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs


This may sound slightly odd but yesterday I was craving meatballs! And don't think that I've heard anyone crave meatballs. But anyway that was the case and the above picture was the result.

This Vietnamese recipe is adapted from cooking light: The best of cooking light.

These meatballs where very light and tasted amazing specially with a Thai sweet n sour chili sauce that I just got my hands over.



1) 1 pound Chicken breast (skinless/boneless)

2) 3 cloves garlic minced.

3) 3 shallots, chopped.

4) Handful of mint and coriander (more of the coriander)

5) 3 Tablespoon Fish Sauce

6)  1 stalk of fresh lemon grass, tender white inner bulb only, minced.

7) 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

8) 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

9) 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

10) 1/2 cup sugar


1) Preheat oven to 400degrees, line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor pulse the chicken until coarsely chopped, transfer to a bowl. Mix the rest of the ingredients EXEPT the sugar and combine with chicken using your lovely hands.

2) Spread sugar on a plate. Roll the chicken mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls with slightly moistened hands. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until browned and cooked through.

3) Serve on bed of lettuce with sliced red onion and cucumber. Serve with Asian chili sauce. 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Time - Savoury

Carmalized Onion and Eggplant Quiche3

So you might know from reading my last post that its Ramadan, and as per tradition lots of wonderful delicious goodies are made to break the fast with. And I made this quiche yesterday and decided to post it!

Up till now this has been a strictly dessert blog, but I decided to venture out a little bit - experiment.. although I do make fancy stuff for lunch and dinner all the time, but I rarely post them up.

This is a lighter version of the oh soo delicious but not soo light quiche. I was describing it to my best friend (over sms ofcourse) and I told her that this is an 'Abeer friendly' quiche (yes I have issues) :|

Carmalized Onion and Eggplant Quiche2  Caramalized Onion and Eggplant Quiche



1) 1 1/3 cup rolled Oats

2) 2 T Butter

3) 3 T Chilled Water (Approximately)

4) Cooking Spray


1) 1 large eggplant, cubed

2) 2 medium onions, diced

3) 4 medium tomatoes, (boil for around 10 min, then peel and chop)

4) 1 tsp dried oregano

5) a handful of chopped parsley

6) 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes

7) Salt and pepper

8) 1/2 cup skimmed milk

9) 2 egg whites (or one egg)

10) 1/4 parmesan cheese (you can put more - don't be precise)



1) Preheat oven to 375°.

2) To prepare crust, combine oats; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water; stir just until moist. Press mixture gently into a 9 inch pie plate coated with cooking spray.

3) Bake at 375° for 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


1) Put a little salt on the eggplant and let drain for 1/2 an hour.

2) Heat a little olive oil in a pan, add onion and saute until slighlty caramalized.

3) Add the egg plant and saute for 5 minutes, add tomatoes (juices and all) and the remaining ingredients except for the milk, egg whites and cheese. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

4) Put in Cooled Pie Shell, mix together milk and egg whites and pour over the quiche, top with cheese.

5) Bake in the preheated oven at 400 degrees, for approximately 40 minutes.

6) Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Good Ol'


I'm sure anyone reading this will agree that neutella is one of those things that you just cant got wrong with! Its chocolate and hazelnut and apparently tons of sugar thus making it highly addictive!

And any goodies made with this delicacy in it will some how or the other turn it to be incredibly delicious! And when I made this neutella frozen pie - I was Sooo not disappointed! :D

I made this deliciousness after my dad requested a cheesecake or something similar since for the past few weeks I haven't made any fancy stuff, last week I made those evil.. EVIL brownies. And then my aunt made lots and lots of plain ol' cupcakes, and my dad well he likes his cheesecake!

Anyway something off topic, most of you may not be knowing this, but this month is a very special and holy month, its Ramadan (Involves fasting - and breaking the fast with lots and I mean LOTS of special deep fried dishes, but me well I'm a very good girl as I've been sticking with dates and fruits)!


The recipe is adapted from Icebox pies by Lauren Chattman

Gianduia Pie

§ Ingredients:


1) 20 Fudge Wafer Bar Cookies

2) 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned

3) 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4) 1 tablespoon sugar

5) 1/8 teaspoon salt

6) 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1) 3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned

2) 1 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

3) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4) 1 13 ounce jar of Nutella

§ Directions:

1) Preheat the oven 350°F. Place all of hazelnuts (1 1/4 cup) on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until they are fragrant.

2) Place the nuts on a clean kitchen towel and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Once cool, rub the nuts with the towel to remove the skin. A little skin won't hurt but try to remove as much as possible.

3) Make the crust: place the nuts and cookies in a food processor and grind finely. Combine the crumb and nut mixture, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium size mixing bowl and stir until the crumb and nut mixture is moistened

4) Press the mixture evenly across the bottom of a 9-inch loose bottom pan, packing it tightly with your fingertips so it is even and compacted.

5) Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes until edges start to become firm. The crust will become more firm as it cools. Let cool completely before filling. The crust may be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month.

6) Make the filling: place 3/4 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts in a food processor and process until very fine.

7) Combine the cream and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

8) Place the Nutella in a medium-size mixing bowl and stir in one quarter of the whipped cream.

9) Gently fold the lightened Nutella mixture back into the remaining whipped cream. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts.

10) Scrape the filling into the prepared pie shell and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is completely set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Sinister Brownies


I saw the recipe for these oh so evil brownies at this wonderful blog called sugar plum. The minute I saw them I had no choice but to  try them out! Here's why, they started haunting me.period. Yes they haunted me in my day dreams at work (pssst.. that's where I discovered the recipe, when I was taking my well earned 10 minute break). They haunted me while I was at my daily 6k jog!

They are evil. They are rich. They are sooo unbearably delicious! You just want to keep 'em coming!


Some pointless information regarding myself - since I will be going off to university in like 18 days or so ( I'm going to The university of Nottingham - Malaysia campus), I've been really busy accumulating very important necessities - like a french press to make really REALLy REALLLLLY frothy hot chocolate - OMG I'll tell you about that later). Anyway yesterday we got all the food thingies and beautifying equipment (lotion, potions..)! So I'm really happy about that - it makes it all so real! I never thought that my way overprotective parents will ever part with me - ever! But I guess the beautacious 'A' that I got in my A-level economics did the trick! :D

The recipe from sugar plum

Oreo Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

  • Ingredients:

1) 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2) 3/4 cup granulated sugar

3) 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened

4) 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

5) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6) 1 cup all purpose flour

7) 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

8) 1/2 teaspoon salt (scant)

9) 2 large eggs

10) 1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped Oreo cookies

  • Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking dish with foil; coat foil with cooking spray.

2) Melt the butter in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Whisk in sugar and bring to a boil, whisking frequently; boil 1 minute. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

3) In a small mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract, until well combined, about 1 minute.

4) In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt; whisk until combined.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, until combined. Whisk in melted butter-sugar mixture until well combined. Stir in flour mixture until just combined, followed by Oreo cookies.

5) Spread half of brownie batter into baking dish, followed by cream cheese layer; dot the top with remaining brownie batter, and spread evenly, as best as you can. Run a knife through batter to make "swirls".
Bake at 350 degrees F, for 23-25 minutes (I kept mine in the oven for around 35 min because I thought they weren't done - but I should have taken them out earlier - well every body's gatsta learn somewhere)

6) Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before slicing. Lift foil out of baking dish, and slice into 9 bars. For easier slicing, try freezing the brownies for 30-60 minutes. ( I turned them out on a serving platter - BIG mistake! They got stuck to the plate - not stuck stuck, but you get the picture. I recommend you cut them in the pan then remove each beauty separately - you may notice the from the pictures that they are a somewhat disfigured, well this is the reason)
Yield: 9 brownies


Tuesday, August 26, 2008



I have good news.

Do you know how every single person on the planet is in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie?? okay so I haven't discovered the recipe . .yet, but I did find a recipe that hits close to the ultimate cookie!

I have found the recipe for the perfect peanut butter chocolate 'chunk' cookies!

These cookies were soooo right I cant even begin to describe them! The texture was just right they where kinda chewy but not so chewy and the had the perfect crunch (Is that what you call it?!). Not only that but these babies had chocolate CHUNKS instead of your usual mini wannabe's chips. *sighs deeply* Just perfection!

All I know is I will be baking them again!


The recipe:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies


1) 1/2 cup butter

2) 1/2 cup brown sugar

3) 1/2 cup sugar

4) 1 cup peanut butter butter

5) 1 egg

6) 1/2 tsp salt

7) 1/2 tsp vanilla

8) 1/2 tsp baking soda

9) 1 1/2 cups flour

10) 1/2 tsp cinnamon

11) 3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks


1) Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

2) Cream the butter and both sugars. Beat in the peanut butter and egg.

3) Scrape sides of bowl and beat in the salt, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla. When well blended, add flour and stir until it is blended. Stir in the chocolate chunks (Reserve a few chunks for the chef  - Trust me you'll need them to divert your attention from the dough when shaping it).

4) Shape dough into 1-inch balls (I used my measuring spoons tablespoon to get the same amount) and place on cookie sheets about 5 cm (2 inchs) apart.

5) Flatten balls with the bottom of a flat glass (I used the back of my measuring cups) and bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges.

6) Get a large glass of milk and enjoy!

Makes about 35 cookies. Store in airtight container.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Date and Pecan Pie


As I mentioned earlier, I had a date and pecan pie in the oven and as promised I give you the recipe.

This one is also from my 'brand new' cooking light: the best of cooking light book, which I'm in love with!

Also previously mentioned dates happen to be my all time favourite fruit/ dessert, so when I saw this pie I knew that I had to make it. I was very pleased with the result, it was just right - not too sweet and the crust ( which I somehow always struggle with was very easy to make and it did not involve me ending up crying) !

In the serving suggestions the recipe said serve with whipped cream, but I recommend vanilla ice cream (you don't need a reason for that)!


So anyway the recipe:

Date and Pecan Pie

(Adapted from cooking light: the best of cooking light)

  • Ingredients:

1) 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
2) 3 tablespoons ice water
3) 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4) 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
5) 1/4 teaspoon salt
6) 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
7) Cooking spray
1) 1/2 cup whole pitted dates, chopped
2) 1/3 cup chopped pecans (I didn't have pecan so I used Almond, walnut will go just as well) 
3) 1 cup dark corn syrup
4) 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5) 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7) 1/4 teaspoon salt
8) 4 large eggs

  • Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 325°.

2) To prepare crust: lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1/4 cup flour, water, and juice, stirring with a whisk until well blended to form a slurry.

3) Combine 3/4 cup flour, powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add slurry; toss with a fork until mixture is moist. Gently press mixture into a 4-inch circle on 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap that overlap; cover with two additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12-inch circle; freeze 10 minutes.

4) Remove top 2 sheets of plastic wrap; let dough stand 1 minute or until pliable. Fit dough, plastic-wrap side up, into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove remaining plastic wrap. Press dough into bottom and up sides of pan. Fold edges under; flute.

5) To prepare filling: sprinkle dates and pecans evenly over bottom of crust. Combine corn syrup and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with vanilla ice cream! :D


10 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

  Date and Pecan Pie10

Friday, August 22, 2008

M & M Chocolate Cookies - A la Abeer


Hey ya'll sorry for the lack of updates but things have been REALLY hectic since I started my very first job as umm .. well I do a lot of typing and filing. Anyway, this job has not been all that bad! I found a bookshop near the office and they were selling all kinds of books for the smallest fraction of the original price!! I got tonnes of books - I am in heaven!!
This recipe if adapted from my brand new cooking light cook book. I made quite a few changes but it turned out sooo good and the best part is they are very very light! So the cookies can actually be enjoyed! :D

M&M Chocolate Cookies2
M&M Chocolate Cookies
(Adapted from Cooking light: the best of cooking light)
1- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2- 1/2 tsp baking powder
3- 1/4 tsp salt
4- 5 Tbl Butter, Softened
5- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
6- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
7- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8- 1 large egg white
9- 3/4 cups M&M's
1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Fahrenheit)
2- Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
3- Combine the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla extract and egg white; beat one minute. Stir in flour mixture and M&M's.
4- Drop the mixture by level tablespoons 2 inch apart onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray.Place the pans in the freezer for 5 minutes.
5- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the pans, and cool completely on wire racks.


Yield: 2 dozen cookies; serving size: 1 cookie (yeah right!)

P.S. I just made a date pecan pie! Its baking in the oven as we speak!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Marmalade, Figs and buttermilk cake


Hey there, I made this cake last week, I got the recipe from sass and veracity but made a few changes to suite my pantry..and taste!
This cake turned out to be soo moist and sticky that you can easily pull it of as a pudding rather than a cake!

In the her recipe, she used some fresh and fig preserve as I didn't have any of which at home I opted for a lil change but using marmalade and dried figs (which she used in addition to the fresh figs).

This cake was really delicious, basically its like one of those dishes that ..well does not sound like peanut butter and chocolate but when you taste it , it will totally surprise you, so try it you won't regret it!

Marmalade, figs and buttermilk cake

adapted from sass and veracity


1) 1 1/2 cup sugar

2) 2 cup all-purpose flour

3) 1 tsp. baking soda

4) 1/2 tsp. salt

5) 1 tsp. ground nutmeg

6) 1 tsp. cinnamon

7) 1/2 tsp. ground allspice

8) 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

9) 1 cup vegetable oil

10) 3 eggs

11) 1 cup buttermilk (I used skimmed buttermilk - tastes the same but its skimmed so :D)

12) 1 TBS. vanilla extract

13) 1 cup marmalade

14) 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

15) Around 20 chopped dried figs

§ Directions:

1) Combine first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; add oil and eggs, beating well at medium speed with electric mixer.

2) Add buttermilk and vanilla, beating well.
Stir in marmalade,dried figs and pecans or walnuts.

3) Pour batter into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan.

4) Bake at 350º F. for 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

5) Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and place on serving platter.

6) Pour buttermilk glaze over cake while both are still warm.

Buttermilk Glaze:


1) 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

2) 1/4 c. buttermilk

3) 1 TBS. butter

4) 1 tsp. vanilla extract

~ Directions:

1) Melt 1 TBS. butter in saucepan over low heat, add the buttermilk and the powdered sugar, heat till dissolved, then add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

2) If the glaze is to thin or thick add powdered sugar or more buttermilk accordingly until you get the consistency you like.



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I scream .. you scream .. we all..


..scream for DATE ICE CREAM!!

Sometime ago I mentioned that I had made the most insanely delicious date ice cream .. well today you get to meet the recipe.

Where I live (Bahrain) you rarely find any cheap fancy fruit like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and rhubarb. So I have been so envious of all the food blogger's who somehow have unlimited supply to all these berries and have been posting delicious dessert after another consisting of these "fancy fruit" (as I choose to call them).

So now the only fruit that probably grows in Bahrain's painfully hot climate that can destroy the above fancy fruit and every other fruit in a  food competition is - dates.

Period. No argument. Cuz then we will have SERIOUS issues!

Dates are wonderful dried, but fresh dates with cold milk or buttermilk - its what I call heaven.

Not only are they so low in calories but they are extremely .. extremely nutritious.

Here are Some interesting facts about dates:

Dates Nutrition Information.

A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a premium source of vitamin C and supplies 230 kcal (960 kJ) of energy. They are fat free, cholesterol free, and are a good source of fiber Every 100 gram portion includes Vitamin A -- 5 mcg beta-carotene and 75 mcg lutein + zeaxanthin and Vitamin B-complex total folate - 13 mcg. A single date contains Vitamin B6 -- 0.192 mg. Dates also contain Vitamin A1, B1, B2, B3, B5, C and more than 20 different amino acids, helping us digest and assimilate carbohydrates easier and control blood sugar levels and fatty acids content in our bodies. The selenium lowers the risk of cancer and heart diseases, as well as helps us keep our immune systems healthy. As a single date contains around 23 calories, this very low calorie count and the huge amount of healthy substances in dates make them one of the best nutrition sources for a diet plan menu.

A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a premium source of vitamin C and supplies 230 kcal (960 kJ) of energy. They are fat free, cholesterol free, and are a good source of fiber Every 100 gram portion includes Vitamin A -- 5 mcg beta-carotene and 75 mcg lutein + zeaxanthin and Vitamin B-complex total folate - 13 mcg. A single date contains Vitamin B6 -- 0.192 mg. Dates also contain Vitamin A1, B1, B2, B3, B5, C and more than 20 different amino acids, helping us digest and assimilate carbohydrates easier and control blood sugar levels and fatty acids content in our bodies. The selenium lowers the risk of cancer and heart diseases, as well as helps us keep our immune systems healthy. As a single date contains around 23 calories, this very low calorie count and the huge amount of healthy substances in dates make them one of the best nutrition sources for a diet plan menu.

Traditional Medicinal Uses.

Dates have a high tannin content and are used medicinally as a detersive (having cleansing power) and astringent in intestinal troubles. As an infusion, decoction, syrup, or paste, dates may be administered for sore throat, colds, bronchial catarrh, and taken to relieve fever and number of other complaints. One traditional belief is that it can counteract alcohol intoxication. The seed powder is also used in some traditional medicines. The roots are used against toothache.

From www.organicfood.com.au

anyway the recipe:

Note: Since dates are very sweet, there is no sugar whatsoever in this recipe! :D

Date Ice Cream


1) 1 cup dates, seeded and roughly chopped

2) 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin

3) 1 ½ cups evaporated milk, whipped

4) ½ teaspoon cardamom powder

5) 3 tablespoon hot water


1) Place dates in a bowl with cardamom powder and mash to incorporate.

2) Put 3 tablespoon hot water in a small heatproof bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin. Place over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until dissolved. Pour on to the dates and mix well.

3) Add the whipped evaporated milk and fold to incorporate. Pour the mixture into a plastic freezer container and freeze until half frozen.

4) Place in a food processor until smooth. Spoon back into container and refreeze. Stir after two hours or so.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer 10 minutes before serving and place in the fridge. Garnish with fresh dates if desired.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Devil's Food Cupcakes With Fluffy Peanut Butter Icing!!

Devils Food Cupcakes7

howdy ho! So this past Wednesday I made baklava and I was going to post the pictures but the whole damn thing was gone before I could take any pictures!! Making baklava is dead easy but I had never had the opportunity to make it before since where I live (Bahrain - its an island somewhere in the Arabian gulf) you can find baklava like bread - its THAT common, yet its usually bought during special occasions like parties or Eid. So not many would consider making it, but I wanted to try! It turned out really great and my cousin who had dropped by that day actually compared it to one of the top pastry shops that sell baklava - I was pleased :D

But this post is not about the now gone baklava, its about the low fat devil's food cupcakes with a not so low fat icing!

I got the recipe from foodnetwork, its by Ellie Krieger.

They taste soo good that for you actually forget that they are lower in deadly artery blocking fat and calories! But then you remember and have a second one! :D

Devil's Food Cupcakes


1) Paper cupcake liners

2) 1/2 cup whole-grain pastry flour

3) 1/2 cup cake flour

4) 1/2 cup natural cocoa

5) 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

6) 1/4 teaspoon salt

7) 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

8) 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk

9) 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

10) 1/4 cup canola oil

11) 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

12) 1 egg

13) 1 egg white


1) Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Place a cupcake liner into each section of an 8-cupcake tin (My cupcake moulds are smaller so this recipe yielded 10 of 'em). Whisk together flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and reserve. Combine sour cream and buttermilk in a small bowl and reserve.

Devils Food Cupcakes2

3) Combine butter, oil and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg and egg white and beat an additional 1 minute. Add 1/3 of flour-cocoa mixture, then 1/3 sour cream buttermilk mixture, mixing well after each addition. Repeat with remaining dry and wet ingredients (I've always read that you should finish with the dry ingredients so that the batter holds together).

4) Distribute batter evenly among 8 (10 in my case) cupcake tins. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes (I baked for 20 min since my oven is psychotic and I never get the perfect result within the stated time) , or until a toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool slightly, transfer to wire racks and cool completely, 10 to15 minutes.


Don't they look sinister!

Fluffy Peanut Butter Icing


1) 1/2 cup butter, softened

2) 1 cup creamy peanut butter

3) 3 tablespoons milk, or as needed

4) 2 cups confectioners' sugar


Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

Note: I halved the recipe for these cupcakes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chocolate Abstract Meringue Pie - Triumph through tragedy

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My second biggest challenge in baking has to be meringue! Shocked?! I suppose you might be since meringues are .. well generally not that challenging to make. But Some how while making this pie which was pretty easy all the way through - the meringue got to me! It got to me BIG time! And that was only the beginning! Here's how everything played out yesterday:

14:00 ish - After lunch I started with the crust (Pate Brisse) while my mom was devaining the 10kg shrimps that my dad got!!! ( Any shrimp recipe - send them my way! :P) . So according to the recipe I turned the dough out of the food processor and turned into a disk and cling filmed it and then put it in the freezer for point five hours (Since the refrigerator was giving strong shrimp odors - as is my hair by the way!)

14:10 ish - Went to update my sony walkman mobile phone for my daily jog.

14:30 ish - Removed the dough from the freezer, rolled it out and it started breaking at this point so I picked it with the help of the rolling pin and fitted it in the pie dish with the help of me fingers, then returned it to the freezer so to firm it before blind baking it. At this point I decided to finish the pie after coming back from my jog.

17:30 on the dot - Leave the house with my gear intact ( gear includes: pouch for holding my sony walkman mobile phone, and tissue in case any allergies start to kick in - eew!, and my beloved nikes without which - well i wouldnt be able to jog)

18:30 -- 19:00- return home shower - yada yada - drink three glasses of water , pre heat oven, put patee brisee in the oven , make frothy hot chocolate with my magic whisk (the kind nigella has - I love it!)

19:00 ish - start the filling - everything is going smoothly I'm seriously happy and content and am humming peacefully to myself!


So eventually the pie gets filled with the chocolate creamy goo - yum yum and then the meringue ( da da da daa.. 'scary music on cue')

I start beating the egg whites till stiff - I'm beating with my electric hand held whisks (which are by some loser brand - a present from my cousin :) )

I'm beating on full speed ..

Then all of a sudden .. you guessed it... the frikin' peace of machinery stops! just like that! It stops working! And at this point i go into phase one of my hysteria where tears are slowly rolling down my cheeks and I'm calling for mommy who rushes to my aid and suggests that I may have over loaded the machine power or something like that!

So quickly I get my aunts electric beaters, and start beating away. I add the sugar, the vanilla and cocoa powder (a personal variation) . Then suddenly the whole meringue thingy turns into water!! And by water I don't literally mean water just liquid! So here I start sobbing hysterically! And calling for my aunt (who happens to be way better than martha - trust me! Although sadly she didn't opt to go main stream!). My aunt comes and with one look at the mess suggests that the meringue is now gone and i should move on to a fresh batch of whites. More tragedy follows when I discover we only have one egg in the fridge! So thus instead of a full on meringue thingy I have a Chocolate Abstract Meringue Pie!


The recipe is of Nigella's you can get it on her website: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/recipe.asp?article=636  - Its called a chocolate cream pie. 

and if you're wondering what happened to the failed meringue - I added the egg yolk from the last egg and baked into - and ended up with a mousse! Hence Triumph through tragedy!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mini Molten Lava Cakes - A Martha Recipe Success!

I know that there are many .. manyy bloggers out there who have tried dear Martha's recipes and regretted it since they usually have some missing ingredient or wrong instructions - trust me I've been there! So when I wanted to try a chocolate lava cake and was not able to find one with reasonable amount of ingredients ( some required 6 eggs..yadda yadda) and when i found this recipe on Martha's website I knew that I had to try it. The recipe yields 6 muffin size lava cakes but i decided to make mini ones by baking them in a cupcake pan but if you do that it's important that you reduce the cooking time else you won't get the lavaness - you'll just get a really gooey, fudgy, moist , chocolaty cake!
I served it with vanilla ice cream and powdered sugar. Speaking of ice cream just the other day I was craving date ice cream (where do you get that .. right?) so i decided to make my own and OMG was it good, and I didn't even use an ice cream maker - since i don't own one! I will be posting the recipe sometime in the near future - so stay tuned!
The recipe for the lava cake:
1)4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
2)1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
3)3 large eggs
4)1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5)1/4 teaspoon salt
6)8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
7)Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
8)Whipped Cream , for serving ( I say vanilla Ice cream!!)
- Directions:
1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin (or 12 smaller cupcake pan - but again you'll have to reduce the timing). Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.
2)In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined. Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
3)Place muffin tin on a baking sheet; bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes (less for mini ones around 5 -6 minutes). Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.

4)To serve, turn out cakes, and place on serving plates, bottom sides up. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with whipped cream (Or vanilla ice cream), if desired (Trust me you will desire it once you break into the yummy warm luscious lava cake and the chocolaty goodness oozes out).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Best Cheesecake EVER. Period.

Okay guys anyone who dares disagree will not be getting a slice of this OMG and I mean OMG delicious cheesecake! When eating this you will imagine yourself on a cloud with lots of angels floating around then suddenly it will dawn on you that you have just gobbled three slices of this uber delicious creamy ..creamy .angelic .. (I'm out of adjectives but you get the picture , right?) cheesecake and will start cursing me because ... well let's put it this way - the cloud will no longer be able to hold you up! get it?! haha
This recipe is from an Australian website who prefer to weigh everything instead of using cups - but lucky for you I went through the trouble of converting everything into cups!
Caramel Honeycomb Cheesecake:
1) 2 1/4 cups Graham crackers
2) 4 ½ tablespoon Butter

1) 1 ½ tablespoon Butter
2) ¼ cup Cream (35% to 40% fat)
3) ¼ cup Condensed milk
4) ¼ cup brown sugar
5) 1 tablespoon golden syrup

1) 500g Cream cheese (Use the package to do the math - I got one 300g container and one 200g one - so that makes 500g, yea?)
2) 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon Caster Sugar
3) 3 eggs
4) ½ cup sour cream
5) ½ cup thickened cream
6) 1 tablespoon lemon juice
7) 2 (50g) chocolate coated honeycomb bars (I used Cadbury's Crunchie)

For the base:
1) Line a 20 cm (8 inch) Springform pan with baking paper.
2) Crush biscuits in a food processor. Add melted butter and mix to combine.
3) Press mixture over base of prepared pan.
4) Cover and refrigerate while preparing caramel and filling.

For the caramel:
1) Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
2) Simmer gently for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Set aside to cool.

For the filling:
1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
2) Beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer or food processor until smooth. (Stop mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl).
3) Add eggs and beat until combined. Add sour cream, cream and lemon juice. Beat just until all ingredients are combined.
4) Stir caramel thorough cheesecake mixture – it doesn't have to be completely mixed in. pour half of cheesecake mixture over the base. (The recipe says half but then the crushed honeycomb bars will float - like mine did - instead of remain at the bottom like they should - so by pouring just less then half you would end up with better results)
5) Crush honeycomb bars gently hitting unopened packets with the smooth side of a meat mallet.
6) Sprinkle crushed honey comb over the cheesecake mixture. Cover with remaining mixture.
7) Bake cheesecake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow cheesecake to cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.

My Cheesecake cracked at the top although it looked even more gorgeous because of it - but I've read that if you leave the cheesecake to rest in the oven for an hour before refrigerating this wont happen! But I didn't do that and it cracked so you might want to follow that strategy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chocolate Spree – Chocolate Almond Torte

A couple of days ago I went grocery shopping with the 'rents (pathetic I know – don't rub it in!), and I spotted special offer on baking chocolate much to my utter delightment and I ended up buying 6 bars! So naturally the next baking assignment had to do with chocolate .. and lots of it! I came across this recipe while browsing this amazing website www.joyofbaking.com , while at school (it was a free period – honest!) and I had instantly fallen in love with the recipe but as it required cream of tartar and my then not so experienced self had no idea what cream of tartar was I saved the recipe hoping one day I'd be bold enough to try this wonderful torte! And as fate had planned I came across an article that stated it was absolutely O.K. to substitute cream of tartar with lemon juice or vinegar (for every 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar is required). And so I made it with high .. high hopes which and my patience was rewarded as this was seriously chocolaty and the almonds gave a wonderful taste and texture in the background.

The recipe:

Chocolate Almond Torte

    Ingredients:

1) 7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2) 11 tablespoons (150 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3) 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar, divided

4) 4 large eggs, separated

5) 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6) 1 cup (100 grams) finely ground almonds (Ground 1 cup of blanched or sliced toasted almonds in your food processor)

7) 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (or ½ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar)

    Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place oven rack in the middle of the oven.

2) Place the sliced or blanched almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool. Once completely cooled, place the nuts in a blender or small food processor and process until finely ground.

Note: The almonds need to be at room temperature before grinding to prevent them from clumping. If you find the almonds still clump when you ground them, add about 1 tablespoon (13 grams) of the sugar from the recipe. The sugar will help prevent clumping as it absorbs any oil exuded from the almonds.

3) Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and line an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

4) Separate the cold eggs, placing the egg yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until they reach room temperature (about 30 minutes).

5) Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat.

6) Meanwhile place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the yolks and sugar until pale and thick (about 2 to 3 minutes). Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract.

7) Fold in the ground almonds.

8) In a clean bowl, place the egg whites and whisk until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar and whisk until stiff peak forms. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the rest of the whites and mix only until incorporated.

9) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake has a few moist crumbs.

10) Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

11) The cake will rise during baking but falls during cooling, leaving a crisp and cracked crust.

12) Once cool, run a spatula around the inside of the pan before releasing the sides.

13) If not serving immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature.

14) Dust with powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar, and serve with whipped cream.

P.s. I made this two days ago and its gone so this morning I got up super early (pilates – I think we've established that by now) and I made a caramel honeycomb cheesecake! Recipe to follow soon. The cheese cake is in the oven as we speak!:D




Monday, July 7, 2008

Maple Syrup Creme Brulee

Whenever making use of egg whites I am usually left with nice whole yellowy not so useful egg yolks. This was the case yesterday morning as well. Having watched Sarah Moulten of Sara's Secrets creme brulee recipe just recently, i decided to try making creme brulee for the very VERY first time! Initially I was very fearful of the eggs curdling as I've of it happening whenever I read or watch a Creme Brulee recipe. Fortunately luck (and talent) was on my side and this ill fate did not occur! I also adjusted the recipe to make it low fatter (who knew that was a choice with creme brulee?!?!), instead of using heavy cream i used evaporated milk. Anyway the recipe follows:
 Ingredients:
1) 2 cups evaporated milk(full fat)
2) 1/2 vanilla bean
3) 1 small egg
4) 3 large egg yolks
5) 7 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
6) 4 tablespoons demarara sugar, for topping
7) 6 (4-ounce) brulee molds

 Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Pour the milk into a non-reactive saucepan and place over medium heat. While the milk is heating, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, using a sharp paring knife. Separate the seeds from the skin by scraping the bean with the knife. Place the seeds and skin in the heating cream. Scald the milk by heating it until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat.
3) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolks, and maple syrup until well blended. Continue to whisk while slowly pouring the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous in color. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the vanilla bean pieces and overcooked eggs. Your next step will be made easier if you strain the mixture into a large measuring cup with a spout.
4) Place the molds on a baking sheet with 1-inch-high sides. Fill the molds half-full with the custard and set the sheet in the oven (it’s much easier to transfer the sheet with the molds only half-full).
5) Now, finish filling the molds to the top. It is important to fill the molds to the top, as the custard will lose volume as it bakes. Traditionally, creme brulee is baked in a hot water bath to insulate the custard from the direct heat of the oven and to keep the eggs from cooking too fast, which would cause them to separate. Using hot water from the tap, pour enough water into the baking sheet to reach halfway up the sides of the molds. If you are using a convection oven, however, a water bath is not needed because the even circulation of the air insulates the custard from the direct heat.
6) In either case, baking time is approximately the same, about 40 minutes. When baked correctly, the custard should tremble slightly when gently shaken. If you detect any liquid under the skin, the custard is under baked. Put them back in the oven and shake them every 5 minutes or so until they are ready.
7) Remove the molds from the water bath and place on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Then refrigerate for 2 hours (or for to 3 days) before serving; the custards will finish setting in the refrigerator. Let the water bath cool before removing it from the oven.
8) Preheat the broiler.
9) If condensation occurs during chilling, carefully blot with a paper towel to remove moisture. Place the molds on a clean baking sheet. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the sugar over the top of the custards. It is important to spread the sugar evenly; if it is too thick or too thin in places, the caramelization will not be even across the top. When the broiler is hot, place the sheet about 4 inches under the broiler and broil until the sugar is caramelized. Keep a close eye on the creme brulee during broiling. They are finished when they are light brown. Place each mold on a small dessert plate and serve immediately.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Caramelized Banana Crumble Top Pie - My Near Disaster!!

With the cheesecake nearly gone i decided to make a caramelized banana crumble top pie! I got the recipe from Saturday Kitchen (On BBC Food). It seemed quite simple until I started making it and everything started falling apart!
Firstly, the crust: I don't know why but it was just too soft, it was close to looking like a batter - Close. Even after putting it in the freezer for half an hour rolling it proved impossible - literally! it was waayyyy to sticky! So instead i put it in the pie dish and pressed it lightly with my fingers so that it covered the whole thing then i put it in the freezer for another half an hour.
Secondly; the filling: Caramelizing sugar has always been a challenge and this was only my second attempt at it - my first attempt .. well that's another story ( It involves burnt tongue, fingers and my lips looking like Angelina's! - Don't ask!). So anyway the sugar caramelized fine it was only when I added the butter, cream and tried coating the sliced banana's with the mixture did everything backfire! The sugar went all hard and stuck to the bottom. Although now that I think about it my mistakes are obvious - remove pan from heat when stirring in banana's this will definitely save you from wanting to stab yourself with the tongs (that are being used to handle the le banane).
So anyway the end result was OMG!! The pie tasted exellento and went marvelously with the chocolate sauce! My advice stick to the recipe trust the pie is totallly worth it!
Caramelized banana crumble top pie:
- Ingredients:
For the pastry:
1) 250g/9oz plain flour
2) 100g/3½oz unsalted butter
3) 100g/3½oz icing sugar
4) 2 medium eggs
5) 1 vanilla pod - cut and split or a teaspoon of vanilla extract
For the crumble:
1) 2 1/2 tablespoon /35g/1oz plain flour
2) 2 1/2 tablespoon /35g/1oz caster sugar
3) pinch of cinnamon
For the filling:
1) 5 bananas, sliced li
2) 12 tablespoons /180g/6oz butter
3) 12 tablespoons / 180g/6oz sugar
4) 6 tbsp cream
For the chocolate sauce:
1) 100ml/3½fl oz cream
2) 50g/1¾oz chocolate
- Directions:
1) Rub flour and butter together, add icing sugar.
2) Beat the eggs and vanilla seeds or extract and add to mix. Bring mix together and wrap in cling film. Put in freezer for half an hour.
3) After resting, roll out the pastry, line 20cm/8in tart ring, return to freezer for another half an hour then blind bake at 180C/360F/Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes.
4) In a hot non-stick pan, add the sugar and take to a caramel stage, add butter and allow to melt.
5) Add sliced bananas, add cream and coat bananas all over. Put mix in tart case (After removing from heat)!!.
6) Rub flour, castor sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top.
7) Bake for ten minutes until golden.
8) Heat cream, take off heat and add chocolate.
9) Mix until chocolate melts.
10) Slice tart and drizzle the chocolate sauce around it.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake - O Nigella!

I saw this recipe of Nigella's sometime ago and it has been on my mind since then. So I finally I got an opportunity to make this oh so easy yet unbelievable delicious triple chocolate cheesecake. I mean its got chocolate three times I highly doubt it could taste bad. My dad - who has got incredible taste and i would blindly trust on any food related judgment - couldn't stop raving about the cake!
And since this was my first cheesecake ever - I couldn't be happier! :D
Honestly speaking, I did do one mistake, the recipe calls for 3/4 cups of sugar for the filling and I put only a half a cup and forgot the 1/4 cup, so it did taste a little less sweet and I'm sure the forgotten 1/4 cup would have made it le perfect!
Moral: don't accidentally 'under do' the sugar, or anything else as a matter of fact since this recipe honestly cannot be improved - although now that i think about it, a thicker crust would have been better as I'm more of a crust person. But Cheesecakes aren't supposed to be very crusty anyway - although I'm sure Nigella won't mind some small alterations *wink..wink*!
Okay so the recipe is as follows:
Triple Chocolate Cheesecake:
 Ingredients:
Cheesecake base:
1) 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
2) 1/2 stick butter
3) 1 tablespoon cocoa
Cheesecake filling:
1) 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped small
2) 2 1/2 cups cream cheese
3) 3/4 cup superfine sugar
4) 1 tablespoon custard powder
5) 3 large eggs
6) 3 large egg yolks
7) 2/3 cup sour cream
8) 1/2 teaspoon cocoa, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1) 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2) 1/2 cup heavy cream
3) 1 teaspoon dark corn syrup
Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan

 Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) To make the base, process the graham crackers to make rough crumbs and then add the butter and cocoa. Process again until it makes damp, clumping crumbs and then tip them into the pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.
3) Put a kettle on to boil.
4) Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.
5) Beat the cream cheese to soften it, then add the sugar and custard power, beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks, and the sour cream. Finally add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and melted chocolate and mix to a smooth batter.
6) Take the springform tin out of the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of cling wrap, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.
7) Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Fill the roasting pan with just boiled water to come about half way up the cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.
8) Peel away the foil and cling film wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool. Put in the refrigerator once it is no longer hot, and leave to set, covered with plastic overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.
To make the chocolate sauce: very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take off the heat and whisk it to a smooth sauce. Let it cool a little, and pour it over the chocolate cheesecake on its serving plate.