The almond cake with cocoa nibs

This is a cake I baked a few days back an hour before I had to fly out from Sydney to Singapore enroute to Mumbai. Was meant to be a surprise dessert to take to meet my friends from a long time back. They are christened as Gatarganga for the filthy language they use when talking to each other ..Ahh boys who still pretend that they and I are teenagers.

I was very pleased to see that it survived the journey in my backpack all the way to here so I thought to write down the recipe before I get senile or dementia or both.

  1. Butter softened -75 g
  2. Oil( vegetable )-50 g
  3. Sugar brown or white – 125 g
  4. Flour 95 g
  5. Almond powder- 50 g
  6. Baking powder-10 g
  7. eggs large-2
  8. Cream 50 g
  9. Cocoa nibs – 10 g/1 t( these are for the crunch and a hint of bitterness to contrast with the sweetness of the cake.
  10. Sliced almonds -20g/1 T

I made this like a modified version of a pound cake. First things to do is get your oven preheated before you start to175 C. Line one 8 inch cake tin with baking paper atleast at the base( or use a precut silicone cake base)

whisk the eggs with sugar and add a little vanilla extract. Melt the butter and oil and add to the whisked eggs mix. Add in the cream and mix lightly.

Mix together the almond flour and baking powder and fold it into the egg mix. Gently mix in the cocoa nibs.

Pour it into the cake tin and top with sliced/ flaked almonds. Bake for between 20-25 mins or a bit more till done .

Warm Flourless Chocolate soufflé

serves 6..

  • Egg yolks- 3 ea
  • Sugar- 30 gm
  • Cocoa powder- 30 gm
  • Cornflour -15 gm
  • Egg whites- 3 ea
  • Sugar -30 gm
  • Chocolate dark- 120 gm
  • Butter- 100 gm

Additional butter to grease ramekins

Additional sugar to dust ramekins with.

We used to make this dark chocolate souffle in my hotel in Dubai and serve it in our Latin American restaurant Pachanga, and 5 years and several menu changes later this was one item which had stood the test f time. Never fails to please or your money back!!

Method.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 C.
  2. Grease ramekins with some melted butter and line with sugar, just enough to coat the bottom and sides of the ramekins.
  3. Separate egg yolks and whites.
  4. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler
  5. Whisk egg yolks and sugar till well combined and fluffly.
  6. Sieve cornflour and cocoa powder together
  7. Add cornflour and cocoa mix to chocolate mix.
  8. Whisk egg whites with 30 gm sugar till stiff .
  9. Mix egg yolk mix and chocolate mix.
  10. Fold in egg whites, a little at a time, to ensure we do not lose too much volume.
  11. Fill into the ramekins approximately ¾ th full.
  12. Bake at 200 C for 8-10 minutes, for soufflé with a soft centre. For a fully cooked and drier product can be cooked for upto 12 minutes.
  13. Dust with icing sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Note- these soufflés can be kept in the refrigerator and cooked to order and will stay without losing significant volume for upto 1 day.

Mulgapodi / Gunpowder/ Podi

literally means pepper / milagai and powder/ podi but we can add more layers of flavor to it than just that .

Typically made in southern India to put on dosa/ or to mix with ghee or aesame oil to serve with idli it’s very versatile and I’ve even used it to crust on salmon and bake it or serve as a dukkah and olive oil and focaccia.

There are more recipes than you can shake your tail feathers at..and in the end it’s also upto your creativity and to see what you have.

  • Roasted chana dal / this comes pre roasted I’m most indian shops and also persian or arabic shops- 20 g / 2 large T
    1. Peppercorns dry- 5 g roughly
    2. Shredded coconut not traditional but I like it
    3. Salt
    4. curry leaves 1-2 sprigs ..I grow mine fresh at home and the flavor is to die for
    5. Dry red chilli/ I like to use Chipotle for the smoky flavor.-2-3 can increase depending on how hot you want it..
    6. Cashewnuts- 20 g/ 2 T
    7. Cumin seeds -5 g/1 t

Toast the above in the microwave- yes you can ..or in a fry pan if thats what you prefer. Cool down and blend/ grind to a coarse powder.

Sometimes i also add sesame seeds to mix above..Like i said sometime before all food needs your own touch to make it special and to your liking.

Crab or prawn tortellini

This is a kid of a pleasant fusion recipe i want to make and have made before using prawns..

  • Crabmeat or chopped prawn – 425 g approximately
  • wonton wrappers- 1 small packet
  • egg 1/2 to seal edges of pastry above
  • onion – 50 g/ 1/2 a medium brown / yellow onion
  • oil-10 ml
  • mustard seeds-1/4 tsp
  • curry leaves- 1/2 sprig stripped and shredded
  • ricotta or cream cheese- 30-40 g to bind the meat and keep moist
  • Basil and coriander – to embellish , chop and make your crab even more sexy
  • ,Heat oil, add mustard seeds and crackle them, then add chopped onion and saute with the curry leaves
  • Add your crabmeat or chopped prawns and take off the heat..
  • Add in ricotta and herbs and mix well.
  • The next bit is tricky but with practice easy to do.Take each wonton sheet/ wrapper and brush with beaten egg. Put a small piece of filling in the centre and fold into a trinagular shape and seal the edges. Then turn the two edges of the triangle to the back and stick to each other to form the classical tortellini shape.
  • Poach in boiling salted water and serve as is or with a moilee sauce

How to rescue a knife

This was knife found buried in the garden for God knows how long
After

We found this knife buried in the garden. When I say We it was actually my friend “Alana Williams”. She was digging a hole in the huge backyard to replant the ginger we had brought back from Dural.

I said we must try and resuscitate/ rescue this as I’ve done before so many times. The first step was to take off the old plastic bakelite kind of handle and I was able to use a chisel for that.

The next part of the puzzle was to find in my stash of wood ( mostly all recycled) a suitable piece to make a new handle.

once the wood was chosen then I cut it to the right size and marked a cross on the back to drill for the rat tail tang.

Cleaned blade and rat tail tang

Then I had to get a special extra long drill bit to be able to accommodate for the tang . Drill as straight as possible and check if it fits . Fill hole with epoxy and fit it up.

next was to shape the handle with my Shinto rasp and then sanding waxing and using burnishing oil

Moilee

.

this is a creamy coconutty sauce that’s traditional with fish. We can also use it with prawns.

But tomorrow I’m doing this for my friend Gautam Kotwal ,with crabmeat wontons/ravioli.

That recipe is for another time though. Today we just make the sauce. or rather you make the sauce and can add some fish or prawns to cook in the sauce.

Oil -15ml.

Mustard seeds-1/4tsp about 1g

Onion brown/ yellow depending on the country you are in just not red -1 medium sized one about 200g.

Curry leaves -fresh only please 1sprig

Asafoetida/hing -small pinch.

Green chilli- 1-2 slit length wise.

Ginger – 1 small piece maybe 5 g sliced vey thin or cut in julienne

  • Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds until they crackle.
  • Add in everything else on list above and saute till onion is transparent, do not brown.
  • Then add in half a tin of coconut cream or 3/4 of a full one (400 g) usually and a pinch of turmeric , and salt.
  • Simmer with pescado/ fish for those of you who do not speak spanish of your choice and eat with rice , appams or thick dosas( there is recipe for that here).

Turmeric- pinch

Coconut cream -1 can – use maybe 3/4th. hard to say without seeing how good your coconut cream is.

Salt – to make bland things better and increase your blood pressure if you eat too much

Chicken or not 65

This i first ate on the streets on Hyderabad, and was great as a starter, snack to munch on. This is my version of it..

Make a fritter batter with
flour -25 g
cornflour – 40 g
chicken stock powder- 2 g/ ½ tsp
pepper – .5 gm ¼ tsp
water .. to form a thin batter
Paprika- 5 g/1 tsp
.Mix with raw sliced chicken/ paneer/ canned baby corn or mushroom, approximately 250 g , and deep fry…we never said was going to be healthy.

Then
Heat 10 ml oil add some curry leaf ,1 sprig
sliced chili – ½ or more if you want to be a fire breather
and chilli powder. -5 g/ 1 tsp
Whisk
yoghurt -1T/ 25 g
coriander -½ t/ 2 g
cumin powder – ¼ t/ 1 g
Ginger and garlic paste- 10 g/ 2 t

Add to the curry leaf and chilli mix and saute with the fritters till dry and coated with the mix..

Garnish with crunchy spring onions.

Best eaten with warm beer..yes i like warm beer.

stories of foods from the world over, laced with a hint of sarcasm and some black humour, its not for everyone, but then never was meant to be..