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Archive for September, 2012

Sometimes it’s good to break the rules.


To not think things through.


To do something on a whim.


To take a short cut.


That’s what I did with this pizza dough.


I know, I know, the right way to do it involves yeast, and resting, and more time, but I’m feeling like a culinary dare devil these days ;)


2 ingredients. Like seriously. How amazing is that? (Here is the original recipe)


You end up with dough that looks like this.



After that it’s only a question of rolling it out on a greased baking tray, pre-baking for a few minutes, topping it with whatever catches your fancy and baking it again.


You will end up with this yummy, yummy pizza.



I’m not even going to bother writing out a recipe for this one.


The next time you want to eat pizza, and eat it NOW, here’s what you do: Mix 200g self-raising flour and 180g yogurt together. Now you may need a little more flour if it’s too sticky, so have some extra at hand. Mix together till you have rough ball of dough and then knead on a floured surface for a few minutes. At this point, pre-heat your oven to 250º C (Yes, I know that’s crazy hot, but just go with me on this, won’t ya?) Divide the dough in two, grease a baking tray (you’ll get 2 pizzas out of this amount of dough, if you stretch it thin enough to cover a standard baking tray), and spread out one half of the dough on the baking tray. Use your hands to spread the dough out as thin as possible, reaching the corners of the tray. Pop this pizza base into the hot oven for 4-5 minutes, and then remove.


Now, at this point you can do one of two things.


1. Be fancy. This means you make Marinara or Pesto from scratch, buy some deliciously stringy, melty cheese, and make some toppings that require more love and attention than cutting open a packet of pepperoni.
2. Be cool. Bravo if you choose this one. I foresee a great friendship in our future. You will start by looking inside your fridge. If you see tomatoes and onions you will smile and proceed to chop them up, cook them in some oil, add a dash of herbs, some salt and sugar, and look mighty pleased at your impromptu Marinara! Then you will look in your freezer and fish out the packet of pepperoni that was sitting there, and a few cheese slices. If nothing else, you pull out your all-time fav kitchen love- the egg <3



Slather your sauce over the pre-baked crust, cover with toppings, and bake again for about 35-40 minutes, at the same temperature. You’re done!
Proceed to stuff your face with yumminess.



So once in a while do things the crazy way. The (delicious!) results may surprise you :)




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I’m a big fan of Sri Lankan food.


Generous use of spices, lots of seafood, and coconut features in almost two out of three dishes.
What’s not to like.


So I went knowing I’ll eat some amazing food.


What I didn’t expect was this gorgeous view.



After catching up with my fabulous blogger friends over some wine, we headed inside to eat.


We started with this refreshing spiced coconut water drink.



A little walk around the buffet spread and I decided what I wanted to try. Here’s a look at the things I stopped by.


Assorted pickles



Spicy prawn curry



Cashew-nut curry



Crunchy, dried fish (This was lovely. So unapologetically fish-flavoured.)



Sri Lankan chilli crab and Batticlo mutton curry



I ordered an egg hopper as well. Look at the yolk. Gorgeous.



Here’s my plate. Yes, greedy me.



I must admit I tried some non Sri Lankan things as well and loved them. Special mention to the Sticky pork ribs and Penang chicken. That’s the beauty of a buffet :)


For dessert I got the jaggery-rich Kalu dodol and some sinful chocolate mousse cake among other things.



It’s always fun to spend an evening with friends over good food, isn’t it?
Here’s what the rest of them had to say about the evening:


Sangeeta Banaras ka khana
Sushmita My Unfinished Life
Ruchira Cookaroo


Drop by DoubleTree by Hilton, Mayur Vihar for a taste of Sri Lanka. It’s on till 23rd September for dinner, and priced at 1500/- INR plus taxes per person.
And please say hello to that stunning blue pool for me!


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What do you want to be when you grow up?


Remember being asked that question when you were little? Me too.


My answers varied from dancer and fairy, to “someone who is with animals” and cricketer.


Infinitely more exciting than my brother, I’d say, who usually answered liftman and policeman.


Here are the two of us monsters.



My love for baking didn’t arrive until much, much later in my life. It’s funny how that happens.


Suddenly one day you do something and think- Oh my god! This is amazing! Why haven’t I been doing this all this time?


A few months ago, watching Junior Masterchef Australia and those crazy talented kids on the show made me wonder about how lucky it is to find what you’re good at early in life. These kids can give an adult chef a serious run for his/her money. Their passion really reinforces the fact that age has nothing to do with talent.


They were all super talented kids in the kitchen, but their poise, sportsmanship, and gentleness was what made them truly lovable to me.


I have been wanting to try Isabella’s (Junior Masterchef winner!) Lemon Meringue Cupcakes for a while. It wasn’t as easy as she made it look, but they were delicious nonetheless.



The cupcakes are slightly unusual because the recipe asks for cream instead of butter. So the cupcakes are more dense than fluffy, but that helps when you have to carve out a piece from the centre to fill with lemon curd.



Speaking of Lemon curd- even if you don’t want cupcakes, make this lemon curd. It is so divine, I can guarantee you will lick the spoon and pan and bowl and whatever else the lemon curd touches- clean. It would be lovely as lemon tart filling too. Will try that soon :)



The meringue gets beautifully golden after only a few seconds in the grill, but retains a creamy softness inside.



All together, a posh looking cupcake with a yummy lemon curd heart.



If nothing else, just make the lemon curd. You will be a happy child :)



Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Adapted from: Isabella’s recipe


Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Makes: 12


Ingredients:


250 ml cream
225 g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
225 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


For the lemon curd


juice of 3 lemons
100 g butter
110 g caster sugar
1 egg
3 egg yolks


For the meringue


3 egg whites
110 g caster sugar


Method:


For the cupcakes


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line a 12-hole cupcake tray with paper liners.
2. Put the cream, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until well combined. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt and add this to the cream mixture, a little at a time continuing to whisk until it is smooth.
3. Evenly divide the batter between the cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool in the tray.


For the lemon curd


1. Put the lemon juice and the butter in a non-stick pan, and heat over a low flame until the butter melts. Add the sugar, egg, and yolks and whisk non-stop until the mixture becomes smooth and thick. It’s essential that you’re whisking continuously and briskly after the adding the eggs, or they might scramble. If you feel the pan is too hot, take it off the heat for a while to cool a bit and then put it back on the flame again.
2. Pour the lemon curd into a shallow tray or plate and leave to cool.


For the meringue


1. In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until you have firm peaks. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue whisking. Transfer the meringue mixture into a piping bag with your choice of nozzle.


Assembly


1. Preheat the grill setting of your oven to 160º C. Cut a round hole in the centre of each cupcake and scoop out a small piece. Fill the hole with some lemon curd.
2. Pipe meringue over each cupcake carefully. Then place the cupcakes in the oven for about 1 minute (more if you want your meringue darker- but be careful it burns quickly). Remove from the oven and enjoy! :)



Here’s a peep inside!



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My ALL time favourite food show is Masterchef Australia.


It’s fun and honest and the focus is always food (not random drama like in the Indian version).


Also the judges are so adorable. Like don’t you want to just hug them?



(image from: http://www.masterchef.com.au/)


Masterclass is an integral part of learning on the show. The mood is relaxed and the focus is only on learning new techniques and skills to add to your cooking/baking repertoire.


So when the folks at Hilton, Mayur Vihar invited us over for a Pizza masterclass with their Italian chef Theo, we (our CAL Blogger’s table) all jumped at the opportunity.


Focused yet funny, Chef Theo took us through the basics of pizza dough, Marinara sauce, and ways to bake the crust properly.



Just look at this wonderfully reduced Marinara sauce.



And these fluffy balls of rested pizza dough.



I learnt that a wood fire oven has the advantage of really high temperatures, so you don’t need to pre-bake your crust. In the ovens we use at home, pre-baking your crust is essential. This was a massive revelation to me and I can’t wait to try it this way.



Also overloading your pizza with toppings is a rookie mistake. Do that and you’ll have a soggy crust.



A thin crust, a few simple toppings, and a rich, well-reduced tomato sauce base is all you need for a great pizza.



We tasted the pizzas fresh as they came out of the oven and they were divine. See?



Very inspired, I’m going to try my hand at a home-made pizza soon!


Thank you Hilton, Mayur Vihar for hosting us. It’s always amazing to learn first-hand from chefs who know their stuff like Theo.


Here’s what the rest of the Blogger’s table had to say:
Ruchira @ Cookaroo
Sushmita @ My Unfinished Life
Sid @ Chef at large
Sangeeta @ Banaras ka Khana



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