Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Cake Fruit Mix

 
I waited a whole year to start the process to bake this cake.

I have had tons of cakes, and 1000's of plum cakes. Even had a JD soaked cake from Lynchberg. But never made the old fashioned traditional Christmas cake. Last year our local news paper had a supplement on Christmas cakes and puddings and I wanted to bake and eat one. But they needed a few days time. I had planned to start this cake last week of November but here I am on 9th December finally soaking all the fruits needed. I took help of a few online recipes too. So I am late but 15 days is good to get the fruits soaked and one soaking of the cake. Better now cause there is no guarantee if I'll be punctual next year...

Ingredients:

850 grams Mix Fruit
- 200 grams Dates, 
- 200 grams Dried Figs,
- 150 grams Apricots,
- 100 grams Dried Golden Plums
- 100 grams Raisins
- 100 grams Black Currants

150 grams Dry Fruits
- 50 grams Almonds
- 50 grams Cashewnuts
- 50 grams Walnuts

450 ml Rum (or Whiskey or Brandy)

Zest of one Orange
Chop all the fruits into small pieces; I cut the apricots and figs into 9 pieces, like a tic-tac-toe. Dates were quartered and cut into 3 pieces, raisins and sultanas were cut in half. 

The golden plums were the toughest to chop. Chop thick peel from one flat side of the seed.  The rest of the fruit will peel off from the central seed. Then chop into small pieces. 

The almonds and cashew nuts are chopped into three pieces each. The walnuts are quartered and cut into three. 

Take all these fruits and nuts, mix them and put them in an air tight glass jar. The jar should be large enough to allow the fruits to double in volume. 

Pour the alcohol into the fruit mix. Stir with a silicone or wooden spoon so that the fruits on top also get soaked. I used a wide mouthed jar so I simply inverted it at night (it balances well). The fruits will absorb some of the alcohol and will swell. 

Depending upon your timeline to bake, keep this overnight, for a month or up to three months before baking the cake. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kheer / Chawal ki Kheer


How do I introduce Kheer? It's one of our most traditional and loved desserts. I started making it pretty recently and now there's no stopping me! 

Ingredients:

2 litres full fat milk
1/2 cup rice (see notes)
1/3 cup sugar (or more per taste)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
Pinch of saffron
1/4 cup chopped almonds, pistachios and cashew nuts (see notes)
2 tablespoons raisins

Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it in water for 20 minutes. 

In a very thick bottomed wok, heat the milk. When it comes to a boil, add the strained soaked rice and saffron. Cook on a low heat stirring intermittently. When the milk if reduced by half, add the sugar, raisins and dry fruits. Continue to boil in low heat till it reaches a thick consistency and the rice is completely cooked. The whole process takes about an hour and half (90 minutes). You can also cook it on high heat but you have to continuously stir it; this way it takes 45-50 minutes. Serve warm or chilled garnished with slivered almonds. 

Notes:
It is best to use any small grain rice or broken basmati, known as tukda basmati for kheer. 
I typically chop and add almonds with skin. For a smoother bite, soak the almonds in warm water, de-skin and then chop and add almonds. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Date, Coconut and Cocoa Bites (With a Sugar free option)

My R masi is my inspiration for trying out new recipes. She always has a new recipe to share when I call and now in the Whatsapp age, she never fails to send photos of her dishes.

She had made these date, coconut and cocoa bites for Raksha Bandhan and it was a hit with everyone. I made these for Diwali. Here's her recipe...

Ingredients:

1 cup tightly packed chopped dates
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons powdered sugar (to make it sugar free, see notes below)
1 tablespoon ghee

Heat ghee in thick bottomed pan. Add the dates and cook for 8-10 minutes till the dates become a smooth lump. Add the cocoa and sugar and mix well. Cook for another minute and add the coconut. Quickly mix into the date mixture and after a minute, put it off the heat. 

Line a chopping board or any flat surface with a cling film. Put the lump in a tube form and form into a roll with the help of the film. Cut into discs and let them cool. Finally roll the sides in coconut. 

Enjoy! 

Notes:
You can store it in the refrigerator upto 1 week
Use good quality Omani dates which are sweeter and have more moisture in them
If you want to make it sugar free, add 2 tablespoons more dates 
You can add nuts to this mix as well 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rose flavoured Karachi Halwa

My mother used to make this for Diwali when she was young. It's quick and easy and for me, a recipe to continue tradition. Typically it's made with a cardamom or kewra flavouring but I picked rose. It's a keeper!

Ingredients:

1 cup Corn flour
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Ghee
5-7 Sliced Almonds
2 drops Rose essence
2-3 drops Pink colour 

Mix the corn flour with 1 1/2 cup of water while whisking. Make sure there are no lumps. 
Add about 1/2 cup of water to the sugar and heat till it just dissolves. 
Mix the corn flour and sugar syrup. Cook this in a non-stick or thick bottom pan on a low heat while stirring. In about 15 minutes, it will start to thicken. Add ghee at this time and continue to cook till all the ghee is absorbed in the halwa. Add the colour and essence and cook for 2-3 minutes more. It will be a thick mass now. Taste a little bit, it should not taste floury. Place this into a greased container and level. Press down the almond slivers while it is still hot. It will harden once it cools down. You can refrigerate it to cool it. Cut into squares and serve. Store in an air-tight container upto a week. 

Note:
I found that I was not fast enough to have all the almonds placed in the halwa before it cooled. As a result a lot of nuts came off the sweet. To avoid this, mix in the almonds when you add the colour and flavouring. 
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