Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coconut Sesame Seed Biscotti Recipe

Coconut Sesame Seed Biscotti

This is almost a very healthy biscotti, as long as you forget that it contains white flour and sugar. All the rest of the ingredients are good for you. This made me feel less guilty when I ate one too many!

If you don’t like either coconut or sesame seeds, substitute one for the other, in the same amount.

Coconut Sesame Seed Biscotti

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup sesame seeds
2 eggs
¾ - 1 cup sugar (original recipe suggests 1 cup, I prefer less)

1.      Heat the oven to 160°C/325°F
2.      In a bowl, mix flour, rolled oats, coconut and sesame seeds.
3.      In another bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until sugar has completely dissolved. 
4.      Add the flour mixture and mix until just blended. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
5.      Divide the dough evenly into 2 equal mounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. With moist hands, space the dough evenly apart and form into logs.
6.      Bake until lightly browned, about 25-30 minutes.
7.      Cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise into ¼ - ½ inch thick diagonal slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are pale golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prior to making and eating this dish, I don’t think I had ever tried a pumpkin dessert before.  Considering the popularity of pumpkin desserts, I had always been really curious to see what all the fuss was all about. The Pajama Chef blog has a number of pumpkin desserts so it was a great opportunity for me to finally bite the bullet.

I love cheesecakes but the idea of having a pumpkin cheesecake sounded a bit unappealing to me. However I was very pleasantly surprised. Far from unappealing, it was outrageously delicious. The pumpkin flavour was subtle but present, it was just enough. The texture was amazing, soft and silky. Pumpkin added a nice creaminess, as well as a pleasant yellow color. While eating the cheesecake I got reminded of dulce de leche, not sure why. Maybe cooked pumpkin and cream cheesecake has a slight dulce de leche flavor or aroma. Or maybe my senses went astray.

The recipe suggests cooking the cheesecake in a water bath. However I didn’t do this and it turned out fine.

Adopted from The Pajama Chef

This is part of the Secret Recipe Challenge

Pumpkin Cheesecake

2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
½ cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
¾ cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
32 ounces cream cheese, softened
About 2 cups [15 ounces] canned pumpkin
4 eggs, at room temperature
2½ tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger

1.      In a food processor or blender, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan and bake at 175°C/350°F for about 7 minutes or until set and golden brown. Cool completely before filling.
2.      Mix cream cheese and sugars until creamy. Add pumpkin and mix until combined. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well.
3.      In a small bowl, whisk together cream, vanilla and spices, then pour in the batter and mix until combined.
4.      Pour batter onto crust. Bake at 160°C/325°F for 55-65 minutes, or until edges are set and middle is slightly underbaked. Remove from oven and run a metal spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen the cheesecake. This helps prevent cracking. Let the cheesecake cool for about 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight before serving.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sumac Crusted Crispy Skin Salmon Recipe

Sumac crusted salmon

Sumac is a spice common to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It has a slight lemony tangy flavor, hence it goes well with fish and other dishes that are complimentary to lemon.

Sumac crusted salmon is a very simple but flavourful and healthy dish. Its easy to prepare. I served it with coriander onion mashed potato.

Salmon Fillets

1.      Score the skin of the salmon fillets and season both sides generously with sumac. Chill for at least an hour (optional but recommended)
2.      Place a non stick frying pan over medium heat and add about a table of oil
3.      Season the salmon with salt on both sides and place skin side down in the frying pan
4.      Cook until the salmon is 75% cooked and the skin is crispy. The side of the salmon will start to change color. Once about 75% of one side has changed color flip and salmon and cook on the other side until the salmon is cooked to your preference. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes otherwise the salmon will be overcooked

Sumac crusted salmon

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Semolina Coconut Apple Cake Recipe

Semolina Coconut Apple Cake

Semolina adds a fantastic soft grainy texture to cakes. I’ve made many different variations of semolina cake and it never disappoints.  The cake is also super moist.

I chopped the apples into centimeter cubes. As a result the apples maintained a slight crunch. If you prefer the apples to have a softer texture, cut into smaller cubes, or grate them.

Semolina Coconut Apple Cake

1 cup semolina
¾ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup chopped apples (or 1 cup if you prefer lots of apples)
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1¼ cups yogurt
½ cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

For syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice from ½ lemon

1.      Soak coconut in yogurt for ½ hour (optional)
2.      Beat eggs and sugar until sugar has dissolved
3.      Add yogurt, coconut, apples and oil and mix well.
4.      In a separate bowl mix together all the rest of the ingredients. Add to the liquid mixture and mix to combine. The batter will be quite 'wet'
5.      Line a 8×8 pan with baking paper and pour batter in it.
6.      Bake at 175°C/350°F until golden brown and delicious, about 25-30 minutes.
7.      To make the syrup: Boil water and sugar for 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and boil for further 3 minutes. Let it cool completely
8.      Pour the cold syrup over the warm cake. Let it cool completely, or chill, before serving.

Semolina Coconut Apple Cake

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lamb Vindail Recipe

Lamb Vindail

The dish is really called vindail, it is not a typo. Vindail is slightly different from vindaloo. Unlike vindaloo, vindail does not contain potatoes, and the spice mix is slightly different.

Vindail is really delicious. The sauce is rich, spicy and tangy. Its a comforting dish to have on a cold day. On first sight the list of ingredients looks long but its not too bad. I skipped some of the spices that I didn't have them and the dish still turned out really delicious.

Prior to recently coming across this recipe, I had never heard of vindail, nor seen it on any menu. There are a number of vindail recipes on the internet, and they all are attributed to Rick Stein. But I don’t think Rick Stein invented it.

The original recipe is for chicken. So if you are not a fan of lamb, you can substitute with chicken. It may work with just about any other kind of meat.

Adopted from With a Glass

Lamb Vindail

1 kg lamb (or chicken thighs)
500 g tomatoes, chopped
10 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 whole clove
1 whole star anise
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chilli powder (or more)
1/2 toasted and ground fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt+ more to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon oil

1.      Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan on medium heat.
2.      Add cinnamon, clove and star anise and cook for one minute .
3.      Add onions and cook, stirring constantly, until they are browned, about 15 minutes.
4.      Add garlic and cumin powder and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
5.      Add chilli, fenugreek, turmeric and salt and cook for 30 seconds.
6.      Add tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.
7.      Add lamb and about 200 ml water. Simmer, covered, until the lamb is soft. Add more water during cooking if it gets too dry. Just before serving, add vinegar and sugar. If the sauce is too watery, remove lid and reduce the sauce until it reaches the desired consistency.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hot, Sweet and Sour Black Pudding Recipe

Hot, Sweet and Sour Black Pudding
At university one of my favourite Chinese dishes was sweet and sour pork. I’ve never made a sweet and sour dish so I thought why not start with hot sweet and sour black pudding. The black pudding I used was made from pigs blood, so it is sort of sweet and sour pork!

The hot, sweet and sour sauce worked really well with black pudding. If you want a quicker alternative, try black pudding with thai sweet chilli sauce. If you don’t like black pudding, this recipe will work well with pork or chicken.

Hot, Sweet and Sour Black Pudding
This is part of the Secret Recipe Challenge

½ kilogram of black pudding, cubed
1 (20 oz., 566 grams) can pineapple chunks in heavy syrup or juice, undrained
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup regular distilled or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Chili powder to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 oz. sugar snap pea pods
8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
16-20 sweet whole spears baby corn on the cob packed in water, rinsed and drained well

1.      Heat oil in large deep frying pan and sauté black pudding until done. Set aside in a bowl. Drain and wipe the frying pan
2.      Mix cornstarch, chili powder and brown sugar. Stir in pineapple with syrup or juice, and vinegar and soy sauce.  Heat frying pan to medium heat and add cornstarch mixture
3.      Bring to boil and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Reduce heat.
4.      Add the vegetables, cover and simmer over low heat until cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5.      Add black pudding and serve.

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