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Archive for January, 2012

In my baking life, long before there were cakes and pies and cupcakes, there was cheesecake.

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Crunchy, buttery, biscuit base.

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White, beautiful, luscious, decadent cheesecake.

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I will attempt to convince you of its greatness in five points.

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1. I promise you, nothing creamier has ever been in your mouth.
2. You don’t need your oven.
3. You don’t even need gelatin.
4. Your friends will fall to your feet, singing odes to your epic cheesecake-making skills.
5. You can make them in the most darling little cups, like I did! (Yes, this counts!)

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Convinced? Good :)

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This is a really easy recipe. I’m sharing the basic recipe, but you could change/add toppings or even flavour the cheesecake itself. Lemon works well, as does coffee. Fruit compote over this cheesecake is bliss.

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Make some and drown in creamy cheesecake happiness.

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Easy no-bake cheesecake

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Prep time: 30 mins, plus overnight (yogurt) and setting
Makes: 10-12 mini cheesecakes or 1 big one

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Ingredients:

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250 g digestive biscuits
2-3 tbsp butter, melted
250 g yogurt or dahi, hung in a muslin cloth overnight (to drain the excess water out)
250 g soft cottage cheese or malai paneer, mashed up with a fork
100 ml heavy cream
50 g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

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Method:

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1. Put the digestive biscuits in a zip lock bag and crush well. You want a mixture of fine crumbs and small pieces, rather than a powder. Put this in a bowl, add the melted butter and mix well with your hands.
2. Press this biscuit mixture down firmly into either small bowls or 1 large one to make an even base at the bottom. Put the bowl/s in the fridge.
3. In a mixer, add all the yogurt, cottage cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add half the cream and give this a good whizz till you get a smooth consistency. If it’s too lumpy add the rest of the cream slowly till you have a thick mixture. It should be smooth and creamy, but moderately thick. Remember the thicker it is, the faster it will set.
4. Take the bowls out of the fridge and pour this mixture over the biscuit base. Return to fridge for 4-5 hours. Then eat :)
Note: I served these with fruit compote. To make a compote, just chop up fruit of your choice, add sugar and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, mashing up the fruit with the back of a spoon as you do.

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Winter soup

It’s cold. Really, really cold.

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(No this isn’t the one-fourth Bong in me speaking.)

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It’s the Dilli in me. Serious.

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And on nights (and days) like this, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of steaming soup.

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Not the claggy, corn-floury stuff you buy.

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Wholesome, heart-warming, soul-reviving soup.

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The lovely part about this recipe is I just did what I wanted.

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I had no measurements in mind. I just kept tasting and adding stuff to balance the flavours. I can safely say anyone can adapt it to their taste and have pleasing results.

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I don’t know if the cold is here to stay, but if it is- I’m armed. :)

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Bring it on!

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Winter soup

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Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Eat this with: Buttered toast

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Ingredients:

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2 chicken (or veg) stock cubes
500 g spinach
200 g button mushrooms, halved
200 g baby corn, chopped into bite sized pieces
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp chilli sauce (more if you like it spicy)
salt and pepper to taste

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Method:

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1. Bring a litre of water to the boil in a large pot. Once boiling, reduce the heat, and add the stock cubes. Stir till the cubes dissolve, and simmer.
2. Add the baby corn, as this will take the longest to cook. Follow with all the sauces/liquids. Cook for 10 minutes, and then taste. Add more if you want.
3. Add the mushrooms and cook some more. Wash the spinach, remove the ends of the stalks and add to the soup.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, simmer for a maximum of five more minutes and take off the heat. Eat warm with some buttered toast.

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This weekend was a good one.

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I had the opportunity to sample some fantastic Sri Lankan food.

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And that wasn’t even the best part.

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I met some really cool food bloggers!

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I was amazed at how people with SO much more experience and wisdom could be so down to earth, friendly, and fun!

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There was Deeba from Passionate about baking. It’s such a beautiful blog, with stunning pictures and really fabulous do-it-from-scratch recipes.

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The lovely Rekha of My tasty curry, a healthy cooking blog.

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The three fun guys from Belly Centric, who blog about the best places to eat.

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And Sid, from Chef at large, who has to be one of the warmest and most fun people I’ve ever met!

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The food was delicious. Sri Lankan food is a mix of spicy and mild. They use a lot of coconut (which I love), and rice flour.

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What really blew me away were the salads, particularly this one called Brinjal Mozu.

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Soft, succulent pieces of brinjal, tossed with tomatoes, onions, and shallots. Just delicious.

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There was a black chicken curry, full of pepper and other spices. And a lovely red tamarind fish curry.

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Hoppers (which are sort of like appams, but with crispier edges) and Pittu (grated coconut and rice flour) were the perfect mild accompaniments to the spicy curries.

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The desserts were interesting- especially this Kaludodol, made with dark jaggery.

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If you enjoy coastal cuisine, spices, and coconut, you shouldn’t miss this.

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The Sri Lankan food festival is on at Blooms at Eros Hotel – managed by Hilton, Nehru Place, for lunch and dinner, everyday until the 22nd of January, 2012.

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Strawberry tart

Strawberries.

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The pretty young things of the fruit family.

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Pink and posh.

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Sweet and sour.

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Bright and beautiful.

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Good strawberries are quite rare in India, and when you get your hands on some, it’s only fitting to make a dessert that really celebrates them.

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Like this Strawberry tart.

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Gorgeous isn’t it?

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Take a look at how it shaped up.

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Can I be evil and offer you a slice? Hehe :)

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The luscious crème pâtissière is delicately sweetened.

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The crust crumbles in your mouth.

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And the strawberries are a burst of freshness.

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You could try this with any fruit on top, but I doubt anything would look as gorgeous as this.

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Don’t ya agree? :)

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Happy new year folks! Let’s hope this is the best year yet :)

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Strawberry tart

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Largely adapted from: Step by step Baking

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Prep time: 40 mins (plus chilling)
Cook time: 25 mins
Serves: 8

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Ingredients:

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150 g plain flour, plus a bit more for dusting
100 g butter, diced and kept cold, plus a bit more for greasing
50 g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla essence
4 tbsp strawberry jam

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For the crème pâtissière

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100 g caster sugar
50 g cornflour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
400 ml milk
20-25 large strawberries, sliced

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Method:

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1. Mix the flour, butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla essence and mix again to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Grease a tart tin with butter and then press the pastry into it, using your hands to get it all around the base and sides in as even a layer as possible. Use a fork to prick the pastry all over. Line the pastry with baking parchment and cover with baking beans. Bake for 25 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven, discard the parchment and remove the beans. Mix half the jam with some warm water and brush the tart, before letting it cool.
4. For the crème pâtissière, beat the sugar, cornflour, eggs, and vanilla essence in a bowl. Gently boil the milk in a pan and remove from the heat. Let it rest for a couple of minutes, and then gradually pour it into the egg mixture, beating all the time. Cook this mixture over medium heat and keep beating as it cooks. The mixture will thicken, and you need to watch very carefully because it could suddenly become very thick. Once it starts to thicken, turn the heat to low, and keep taking it off the heat (while stirring) to check the consistency. When it is thick and creamy, transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool.
5. Once the crème is slightly cool, beat it again to give it a creamy consistency and spoon it all over the tart. Cover with strawberries. Mix the remaining jam with some warm water and brush this over the strawberries so the tart looks glossy and bright :) Eat as it is, or chill for a while before you do.

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