Monday, 16 May 2016

Fudgy Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake in any form and any recipe is always a delight for kids and adults alike. This is again a recipe I learnt at the cooking group I have joined recently and I am happy to say that it is delightfully easy. You can use this recipe to make a chocolate tart, as a base for fruit truffle, or to make an ice cream cake. Make it once and you will know how to use this recipe further. Enjoy!!
100 g salted butter
250 gms brown sugar (I used roughly 200 gms as I like it less sweet)
2 eggs
150 gms plain flour
45 gms cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract 

30 ml of strong coffee (optional but recommended)

Frozen Raspberries/Strawberries (fresh can be used as well)

1-2 tbsp almond meal/semolina/desiccated coconut/plain flour for greasing(whatever is available but one of the first two options are recommended)


Grease and flour a 6" pan (I used almond meal). Pre heat the oven at 175 degree celcius. 

Melt butter in a bowl in the microwave and let it cool slightly. Add the eggs and beat. Now add sugar and mix well. Add the coffee if using.

Add rest of the ingredients and mix well making sure there are no lumps.

Pour some batter in the prepared pan and in an artistic way push raspberries into the batter.  

Pour the rest of the batter on top. Put in the middle of the oven at 175 degree celcius for about 15-20 mins. Use a toothpick to check if it is done. Batter should not get stuck on the toothpick. It should be just cooked otherwise the cake will be too dry (I went wrong here and overbaked it by about 3-4 minutes). 

Note that there’s no baking powder so cake will not rise. It should be quite flat and compact.

Serve warm with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream. The cake is well suited for freezing. Do try and experiment different recipes and tarts that you can use this recipe for. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Vietnamese Fresh Rice Spring Rolls

These rolls are as fresh as fresh can be. Prepared in a jiffy and so refreshing to eat, these rolls are a perfect starter on a hot summer day. I have recently joined a cooking group which meets fortnightly and consists of members from across the globe. There are over 300 members from across 73 countries divided into 26-27 groups of 10-12 members each. The members of each group meet fortnightly or weekly or monthly and one of them hosts the session each time with a cooking demo and followed by a lunch thereafter. Not only do you get to learn and taste different cuisines free of cost, you also meet wonderful people from across the globe and get to know different cultures and eating habits. Isn't that a wonderful group to be in? I am completely loving being a part of it and this recipe is just the beginning of many such sessions (read recipes) that I shall be attending (tasting and trying) in the future. So stay tightly tuned!! 
Fot the rolls
Rice paper sheets preferably 8" (else it gets too small and fat to roll)
1/2 cup Rice flour vermicelli 
Few leaves of lettuce and cilantro 
Few slices of mango cut lengthwise 
Few slices of baby cucumber cut lengthwise 
Handful of shrimps 
1/4 cup boiled and shredded chicken 
Few pieces of an omelette cut lengthwise (optional, I skipped)

For the sauce 
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped 
1" piece of ginger finely chopped 
2 tsp brown sugar
5 tsp sesame oil
5 tsp extra virgin olive oil 
6 tsp light soya sauce 
2 tsp lime juice (or 3/4 tsp vinegar)
2 extra hot chillies chopped 

Prepare the sauce first. One thing to note about this sauce is that it can and is better prepared little ahead so that the flavors are well blended and infused for maximum taste. The left over sauce can be enjoyed with boiled noodles (or the vermicelli if left over) or even with steamed rice. It is simply delicious! Just mix all ingredients under sauce and keep it aside until used. If storing for the next day, keep it in the refrigerator. The vinegar/lemon juice helps keep it fresh for longer. 
Next get the vermicelli ready. Soak the rice vermicelli in tap water for 10-15 minutes till slightly soft. Now take a bowl of boiling water (off the stove) and dip the soaked and drained vermicelli in the hot water and keep it soaked for a maximum of 10 minutes or until just soft. Take care as too much soaking in the hot water will make them soggy. This is how they should look. 

Now time to prepare the rolls. Take a huge bowl of room temperature drinking water and set your station with the filling well arranged in one plate and the dry sheets and the bowl of water on one side. 
Dip a rice sheet in the big bowl of water and quickly take it out and place it in your kitchen counter or plate. Fill it up with all the ingredients starting with the lettuce, cilantro, mango, cucumber, shrimps, chicken, omelette strips, and the vermicelli. Now roll it up carefully from one end and tucking the filling in as you proceed. When you reach the end, just fold in the two edges from both ends. They will stick to the surface. Place the roll on a plate and proceed to make the next one. It is possible that the sheets tear in the process of rolling. That is when you soak them too long or the sheets are not too fresh. Don't worry, just procced and a few torn edges do not really matter. 
Serve with the sauce and enjoy this popular Vietnamese delicacy!! 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Strawberry Crumble

With loads of strawberries packed in the freezer and not really keen to indulge in high calorie desserts, this extremely easy Strawberry Crumble recipe was such a delight. The best part about this recipe is its low calorie count and equally delicious output. I adapted the recipe from Nigella Lawson's website with very minimal changes in the sugar content. Prepare this dessert just ahead of your guests and be ready to enjoy the compliments. 
500 gms strawberries quartered (I used frozen and a little less than 500 gms)
50 gms fine sugar (my strawberries were already quite sweet when bought and so I added around 30 gms or 2 tbsp)
3 tbsp ground almonds
5 ml vanila extract
110 gms plain flour
1 tsp bsking powder
60 gms chilled butter (original recipe called for 75 gms)
50 gms brown sugar
60-70 gms finely chopped almonds (increase or decrease or skip as per choice)
Whipped cream for topping (optional)

Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree celcius. Place the strawberries, sugar, ground almonds and vanilla in a medium baking dish and mix well to coat. Make sure the baking dish is deep enough not to let the strawberry juices to seep off the edges. 
In a separate bowl, rub the flour, sifted with baking powder, with the chilled butter till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. To this add the sugar, chopped almonds and mix well. Gently place the flour mixture on top of the strawberries in the baking pan and cover all edges and spread well to cover evenly. 
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until the strawberry juices start seeping up from the edges reaching on to the top of the crumble and the top is golden and crunchy to touch. 
Remove from oven and serve warm with a dollop of ice cream, whipped cream or just like that!