Monday, 29 June 2009

Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Crunchy Oat Clusters

I made this cake for an old friend at work who was leaving England for Brazil. This simple chocolate cake is a recipe by Hersheys that i have slightly modified. I made it special by topping it with dark chocolate ganache and cruchy oat clusters.
For the chocolate cake
Yields 10 to 12 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar coarse

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

    1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Heat oven to 350°F/ 175C. Grease a 23 inch round cake pan. 2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pan. 3. Bake for 1 hour and 10 mins or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack. Cool completely.

To make chocolate ganache:

  • 75gms bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 tbsps liquer
1. Melt the chocolate and cream on the top of the double boiler until satiny smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and add in the liquer and beat well. Spread the icing over the cooled cake.

3. Decorate with crunchy oat clusters and an edible petunia flower and cocoa dusting.

Flower fact: The Petunia hybrida or the common garden petunia is edible. These flowers are mild tasting and you can also use them as a garnish on salads.

For more on edible flowers.

Catch of the day

We mangies love our fish and we are fortunate to have a famous fishmongers shop a stone's throw away. Every saturday hubbie wakes up early ( amazing but true!) to get the choicest of the fresh catch. Just seeing all the wide array of fresh fish on sale and a crowd of fish lovers waiting to grab their own share sends bizzare signals to the brain and we end up buying a whole load of fish that can feed the neighbourhood!!!!
This Saturday we picked up huge crabs, mackerals, sardines and herring roes.
We returned home and marinated the fish with meet mirsang paste and made a traditional mangalorean curry with the crabs.
We had friends over to share our meal. It was a hearty omega 3 feast.
Poole harbour
Crabs from the Atlantic
Female crab
Mackerals
Sardines
Mangalorean Crab Curry
Very yummy had lots of eggs/ laak!
Mangalore Crab Curry- Recipe
Ingredients:
Crabs large 2-3
Grated coconut-1/4 cup
Onions-1 large/ 2 small
Garlic- 3 large flakes
Kashmiri dried red chillies- 12
Whole coriander seeds- 1tbsp
Whole cumin seeds- 1tsp
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Methi seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coconut milk- 1/2 can
Tamarind- marble size
Salt to taste
Oil- 3tsps
For tempering:
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Crushed garlic flakes- 3 large/ 5 small
Curry leaves-1 sprig
Oil- 2tbsps
Method:
1. Lightly fry in some oil sliced onions and sliced garlic till brown and soft. Add grated coconut and fry till slightly browned. Keep aside.
2. In same pan lightly fry the whole dried red chillies, coriander, cumin, mustard and methi seeds till aromatic. Grind finely all the broiled ingredients in a mixie or in a grinding stone using 1/2 can of coconut milk. Keep masala aside. Retain the masala water by rinsing the mixie/ grinding stone with 2 cups water.
3. Clean and cut crab into large pieces, slightly break claws with a hammer or back of knife. Place in a large thick base vessel. Add 2 cups of masala water, salt and tamarind extract, close vessel and bring the crabs to a boil 5-7 mins( medium flame). Add the ground masala, check for salt/seasoning. Close lid and bring to a boil again. .
4. For tempering: In 2 tbsps of hot oil add mustard seeds, when splutters add, curry leaves and crushed garlic and fry till garlic turns a golden brown. Add seasoned oil over crab curry.
Crab curry is ready. Serve with boiled rice and vegetable sukke.
Mangalore Fried Fish in Meet Mirsang paste.
To make simple Mangalore Style Chilli Paste- Meet Mirsang Paste:
Quantity of paste is for 2 large mackerals, adjust according to quantity of fish.
Chilli powder- 2 tsps
Cumin Powder- 1tsp
Tumeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Rice flour- 1/4 tsp
Vinegar- 1tbsp
Salt to taste.
1.Take all masala ingredients in a bowl, add water to make a shiny paste. Do not make runny or too thick. Marinate cleaned fish with the paste for 1/2 hour. Make slits in fish to allow masala to seep into the flesh.
2. To fry: In a hot tawa heat sufficient vegetable or coconut oil to almost smoking or very hot.
Place fish carefully in oil , reduce heat slightly and do not move fish till done on that side. Then turn over and cook the other side. Add more oil as require to prevent the masala burning.
Serve hot
Fried mackeral heads with meet mirsang paste.....remaining fish dissapeared before a picture could be taken :)

Mangalorean Crab Curry





Ingredients:
Crabs large 2-3
Grated coconut-1/4 cup
Onions-1 large/ 2 small
Garlic- 3 large flakes
Kashmiri dried red chillies- 12
Whole coriander seeds- 1tbsp
Whole cumin seeds- 1tsp
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Methi seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coconut milk- 1/2 can
Tamarind- marble size
Salt to taste
Oil- 3tsps

For tempering:
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Crushed garlic flakes- 3 large/ 5 small
Curry leaves-1 sprig
Oil- 2tbsps




Method:

1. Lightly fry in some oil sliced onions and sliced garlic till brown and soft. Add grated coconut and fry till slightly browned. Keep aside.
2. In same pan lightly fry the whole dried red chillies, coriander, cumin, mustard and methi seeds till aromatic. Grind finely all the broiled ingredients in a mixie or in a grinding stone using 1/2 can of coconut milk. Keep masala aside. Retain the masala water by rinsing the mixie/ grinding stone with 2 cups water.
3. Clean and cut crab into large pieces, slightly break claws with a hammer or back of knife. Place in a large thick base vessel. Add 2 cups of masala water, salt and tamarind extract, close vessel and bring the crabs to a boil 5-7 mins( medium flame). Add the ground masala, check for salt/seasoning. Close lid and bring to a boil again. .
4. For tempering: In 2 tbsps of hot oil add mustard seeds, when splutters add, curry leaves and crushed garlic and fry till garlic turns a golden brown. Add seasoned oil over crab curry.

Crab curry is ready. Serve with boiled rice and vegetable sukke.

Mangalore Meet Mirsang Paste/ Chilli Paste



To make simple Mangalore Style Chilli Paste- Meet Mirsang Paste ( without grinding):
Quantity of paste is for 2 large mackerals, adjust according to quantity of fish.

Ingredients:
Kashmiri Chilli powder- 2 tsps
Cumin Powder- 1tsp
Tumeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Rice flour- 1/4 tsp (optional)
Vinegar- 1tbsp
Salt to taste.

Method:
1.Take all masala ingredients in a bowl, add water to make a shiny paste. Do not make runny or too thick. Marinate cleaned fish with the paste for 1/2 hour. Make slits in fish to allow masala to seep into the flesh.
2. To fry: In a hot tawa heat sufficient vegetable or coconut oil to almost smoking or very hot. Place fish carefully in oil , reduce heat slightly and do not move fish till done on that side. Then turn over and cook the other side. Add more oil as require to prevent the masala burning.
Serve hot

To make the Ground version of Meet Mirsang Paste/ Puli munchi/ Chilli- salt paste:

Ingredients:
Dry red Kashmiri chillies: 50
Cumin seeds: 2 tsps
Tumeric: 2 tsps
Vinegar: as required to make a thick paste
Salt to taste.
Method:
1. Grind all the above ingredients in vinegar to form a thick paste. Bottle the prepared masala paste in a sterilised dry airtight bottle and store in the fridge for a few months. Use a dry spoon as and when required. Remember to close the lid tight after use.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Home Grown Greens

Our first green patch.
Hubby has green fingers. He has been busy all spring planting seedlings of exotic veges and salads to get us a good portion of organic homegrown exotic salad, veges and fruit.
Here is a glimpse into our very first garden.
1. Strawberry shrub
Our first strawberry- still not plucked .... too beautiful to eat.
Mums valcheybhajji is finally growing ....hurray....
Bell pepper plant
Sunflower plant
Our first salad radishes.
Baby corn plant & Sweet pea creeper behind.
Tomato plant
Hongkong cabbage
Salad leaves
Bell pepper
Baby potatoes

Friday, 26 June 2009

Fresh Cream Alphonso Mango Gateau

Fresh Cream Alphonso Mango Gateau
We both love our indian alphonso mangoes. Even more so, since it is a rarity in the UK. Fortunately in the last couple of years the UK asian shops do make special efforts to stock up on the alphonso and the honey dew mangoes. Both varieties are seasonal, intensely flavored and honey sweet.
Our dear friends picked up a big box of alphonso mangoes for us last weekend. We could hardly wait for them to ripen. The aroma of mangoes ripening in the kitchen is undescribable.....the mangoes were juicy, sweet and simply delicious.
I wanted to try and make a fresh cream pastry using these mangoes and thus the inspiration for this recipe.
The fresh cream gateau turned out to be moist, soft, finger licking good and MANGOOOOEY......
I made another one for a friends party..two days later..they simply loved the gateau.
As the recipe has been requested I have decided to post it here for you to try and enjoy.
For all mango lovers........the best way to have this golden beauty is on its own, but for an exotic twist..... this recipe will leave you for wanting more.
Recipe for Fresh Cream Alphonso Mango Gateau (Serves 10-12)
This recipe has 4 basic steps.
Step 1- make the sponges for the gateau.
Step 2- make the creamy mango filling.
Step 3- make a simple syrup
Step 4- assemble the gateau
Ingredients
For the basic sponge: ( make 3 sponge layers)
This recipe will give you a cocoa flavoured sponge, for a plain sponge replace the cocoa with plain flour.
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable/ sunflower oil, for greasing
  • 250g sunflower butter, softened
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 4 free-range medium eggs
  • 190g plain flour
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 50g cornflour
  • 1tsp baking powder
For the mango cream filling:
  • 2 fresh ripe alphonso mango,
  • 5-6 tbsps icing sugar
  • 200ml double cream softened
  • 2 tbsp whisky liqueur or any other liquer
For the syrup:
  • 3 tbsps liquer
  • 30ml of water/ canned juice preserve
  • 2 tsps of sugar
Method:
Part-1 Make the sponge- 3 seperate layers.
1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/Gas 6.
2. Base-line a 23cm loose-based cake tin with baking parchment and brush the base and sides with a little sunflower oil to grease.
3.Then sieve together flour, cornflour and baking powder once .
3. Cream the butter with the sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs one at a time till light and creamy. (Use an electric mixer to make the cake batter if you like.)
4. Fold in the flour a little at a time to get a homogenous mix.
5. Spread roughly one-third (1/3 ) of the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the fan assisted oven for 9 minutes. Remove, cool for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the baking parchment. Wash the tin, base-line and grease once more. Repeat the method 2 more times until you have 3 even-sized sponges. Leave the sponges to cool on a wire rack.
Part-2 Make mango cream filling and topping
1. To make the filling and topping, whip 200ml double cream to soft peaks with 5-6tbsp sugar. . taste cream for sweetness and add more sugar only if required.
2. Puree 1 and half fresh mango with 2tbsp liquer in a blender. Fold in this puree with the whipped cream.
3. Add 1/2 mango chopped into small pieces to the mixture.
Part-3 Make syrup
1. Dissolve sugar in 30ml warm water. Add liquer to it.
For a non alcoholic version you can use 30ml of syrup from canned fruit.
Part-4 Assemble the Gateau
1. Place one of the sponges on a serving plate, dribble a few tsps of syrup over sponge to moisten it, spread one third of the mango cream filling evenly. Repeat the method until the cakes are stacked one on top of the other with the mango filling between the layers.
2. Pour the remaining mango cream mixture over the cake and cover top and sides completely.
3. Place in the fridge for an hour to set.
4. The first time i made this gateau i decorated it with with white and dark chocolate shavings and roasted almonds.
The second time i made this gateau i used mango jelly to decorate the top with a slice of fresh mango and a dusting of cocoa.
Tastes best when served a day later.
As this is my first post ever id be happy to receive your comments on this recipe. Enjoy.

Mangalorean moong and tender jackfruit vegetable sukkhe

Moong and Tender Jackfruit Sukkhe

Sukkhe means "dry" and is one of the most popular ways of preparing vegetables in South Canara (South Mangalore). This vegetable dish contains a good sprinkling of grated coconut which gives the dish its flavour and texture. As every mangalore family has their own interpretation of a vegetable sukkhe this is my version.

Fruit fact :The Jackfruit is believed to be indigenous to the rain forests of the Western Ghats of India. It is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, reaching 80 pounds in weight and up to 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter.The interior consists of large edible bulbs of yellow, banana-flavored flesh that encloses a smooth, oval, light-brown seed. There may be 100 or up to 500 seeds in a single fruit. More info is available at http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jackfruit.html

I remember having this fruit during my yearly visits to see grandma in our native place in Mangalore. When a big jackfruit would be opened, took ages to clean but finished in seconds. I do not recollect seeing this fruit very often in Bangalore, on occasion we would get a portion from our friendly mangalorean neighbour who had a jackfruit tree.
The jackfruit in its tender green and raw form is used as a vegetable. It is considered to be a rarity and a delicacy. It is one of my hubbies favourite veges. We had been on the look out for it for ages and one fine day two years ago we found it in the canned form in our asian store . We were overjoyed.
We brought it home, cooked it and fell in love with this wonderful vegetable. The best part was we did not have to undergo the pains of having to clean and cut the vegetable and the flesh was firm and had a lovely texture.

Nutritional fact:
When sprouted the mung bean is a good source of Vitamin C.
(Per 100g: Enery 981kJ/231kcal, Protein 22g, Carbohydrate 35.6g, fat 1.0g)
This dish is low in fat, nutritionally healthy, having a is a good source proteins, vitamins and lots of fibre.
Ingredients: Serves 4
Mung bean/ Green gram (whole)- 1 cup
Tenderjackfruit- 1/2 can
Fresh coconut grated -1 handful
Onions- 1 large
Red chillie paste( Meet mirsang paste)- 1 tsp
Vegetable sukkha powder (raysons)- 2tsps
Garlic cloves-3 nos
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Red chillies (small dry)- 2 nos
Salt to taste
Olive oil/ Sunflower oil for cooking
Method:
1. Soak the green gram in water for 24 hrs then tie in a muslin and allow to slightly sprout (make take 2 days).
2. Boil the sprouted green gram in sufficient water, seasoned with salt till cooked. Do not overcook it or it will go mushy ( may take 15 mins on medium heat in a closed pan)
3. In a pan take 3 tsps of oil, add mustard seeds, when it splutters add red chillies, finely chopped garlic, curry leaves and fry for a minute.
4. Add chopped onions fry till lightly brown.
5. Add finely chopped jackfruit , add red chilli paste, vegetable sukka powder, salt and fry on medium flame till jackfruit is cooked( may take 7-10mins).
6. Then add the cooked mung/ green gram , mix well.
7. Add fresh grated coconut, cook for a further 3 mins.Taste for seasoning sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
It is a good accompaniment to rotis or rice and dhal. We have it along with rice, saaru and fried fish.
An alternative to tender jackfruit is tender bambooshoots. Can be made using above recipe.