Wednesday 29 May 2013

**Spreading Fragrance : )**

I thought to sprinkle some irresistibly beautiful fragrance in your homes, as you open this site you’ll get the lovely fragrance, if not then at least this sight will give you a freshness for sure  : )
My friend Katharina brought me a bunch of early spring Peonies and Grape hyacinth. Just very pretty and charming flowers. Thank you my sweet Heart :)
 Peonies are very elegant and rare flowers which bloom very shortly in the spring and just till early summer, that’s the start of June


I just took photos as they were very fresh and the buds were totally closed, and it is so much fun watching them bloom a little each day.

They are an eye catcher because of the  vibrant colors and the huge form. There are many different varieties of it and these here are probably the most beautiful : )
It is called the “Pfingstrose” here and you see them everywhere in the months of April till June.
Subhaan’Allah that nature is extreme lovely!
Who could think that once a closed small bud can open up into a great exploring lovely flower : )
I was reading through different articles about Peonies and came through this interesting one that a Chinese saying claims that if you plant a Peony you plant it for you, your children and your children’s children. I think I’ll plant them next time in my balcony pot and see how long they survive.
Today the first flower showered it’s petals on the table, but still looks gorgeous!

Monday 27 May 2013

T-Bone Steaks/ Roast Potatoes with Fried Mix Veg/Paprika cheese balls

One of my Family’s favorite dish, very rich and heavenly tasty: )
Over the years I have experienced that the lesser you marinate the steaks the more tastier they are, the main taste developers are the side dishes with it and in this case they are these light spicy Veg and roasted potatoes which give it a Royal taste : )
I bought the T-bone meat and marinated them over night to get the best tender steaks. If we prepare all things ahead it is easy to manage all at a time so all comes warm and fresh on the table.

Okay I just noticed the two different colours of my pictures, please don't get irritated the cause is 2 different cameras :D

The steaks are usually fried in butter/ Ghee/clarified butter but it is your choice, you can of course take oil, but we just shallow fry NO deep frying!!!
 It is important NOT to prick the steak while frying because this releases the juices and the steak can become dry and hard, some like their steak raw in the middle, so you have to fry it on a medium high flame, if the steak is thin it will take around 5-8 minutes on each side.
Keep in mind that you have to wrap the steak soon after you have baked or fried it, this makes the steak soft as it stays wrapped in its juices and steam.
We usually don’t add salt in the start as this also absorbs the moistness of the meat, but I have mixed all in the spice and actually my steaks were okay…
What I did was, just marinated the steaks with:
8 medium sized steaks
½ cup clarified butter
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp black pepper from the mill
5-6 crushed garlic pods
2 tbs of mixed dry herbs, (thyme, rosemary, oregano, province herb)
½ tsp paprika powder
Some red chili flakes to taste
*It is your choice if you want to add the hot red chili powder but we don’t make it hot, it is just to give a slight taste so the paprika powder is ideal. The main taste is of the black pepper and the herbs
*I mix all the spices and garlic in the oil and then prick the meat all over and rub the mixture of oil very well on the steaks.
Just make sure that all the meat is well covered with oil and spices then cover with a cling and I always keep meat in a glass container.
So the next day, prepare the side dish first so you can serve the steak warm direct from the pan  : )
For the side dish :
Roasted potatoes:
7-8 medium potatoes
 *Wash, peel, cut in thick rounds and boil in some salty water till cooked
*Drain the water and let them cool before you fry them
*heat some olive oil and fry the potatoes till nice gold and crispy
*sprinkle some salt and some pepper while frying
For the Vegetable:
1small can of maze (250gram)
1can of red kidney beans (340gram)
1small pack of frozen beans
1small can of baby corn
1large red paprika (bell pepper)
2-3 tbs butter
*Open the cans and drain the water completely
*cut the paprika in small but a bit thick slices
 **start to fry the Vegetable when you have started frying the steaks so all stays warm and crunchy**
*heat some butter in the pan, sprinkle some salt in it and add the Veg in it
*we don’t cook this Veg like a normal curry so take care that all stays firm and fresh and crunchy in taste
* I just kept frying twisting and turning till it had a nice fried aroma and removed as the Veg was still firm to bite.
For the Cheese Balls:
These are so yummy tiny balls you get addicted to them, and it’s so light to make and I did not make many of them, as they are heavy along with all the other stuff : ) You need:
250 gram cheese cream (such as Philadelphia)
½ green bell pepper
½ red bell pepper
1-2 tbs olive oil or any cooking oil
 *cut both the bell peppers very fine then crush them with a chopper into tiny grains. I used my meat chopper and just kept crushing like a seesaw : )
*now mix the half of these and the oil in the cheese cream, grease your fingers and palm and just make small tiny balls… Roll them in the rest crushed bell peppers….. That’s it!!!
Serving tip is: with fresh plain bread, French baguette, Onion baguette or garlic bread.
This is a heavy Lunch or Dinner item and I try to make it for lunch so our tummy can work it over till night : )
Enjoy making it!


Thursday 23 May 2013

Aloo Channay Chaat (Potato/Chickpea Salad)

It is difficult to describe what a heavenly Chaat/Salad/Tea Snack this is : )
It’s the most common and highly loved dish in whole of the South Asia, where as this is surely made in other continents as well, but as a side dish in salad
My Mom always used to make it at any gathering, on Eid , in Ramadhan, on parties and family get to gathers and I remember how we all sat around peeling potatoes and also keep putting one or the other piece in our mouths :)
My Mom made the best ever as her master tip made it so heavenly tasty that one couldn’t stop eating it.
Alhamdolillah I have given her recipe to all my friends and they swear of the best chaat ever and I thank Allah, as all this credit goes to my Mom dear!
Today I made this for a farewell party for my daughter, so you see this in a big bowl as it was ready to be transported so I couldn’t take  out any portion for more lovely pictures . I do have one from my last time so I’ll post that as well : )
So this is what you need:

1 kg potatoes
800gram Chick peas can

2 medium red onions
2 medium tomatoes
3-5 green chilies
1 medium red bell pepper
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 fresh lemon
-boil the potatoes and let them cool down, then peel and cut in small cubes
-drain the chickpeas and wash so the extra salt is washed away

-now take a big bowl
-slice the red onion
-tomato in cubes
-red bell pepper
-fresh lemon juice of one lemon
-rings of green chilli
-half cup of imli chutney
8-10 tbs oil
2-3 tsp white cumin seeds

-sprinkle spices to taste such as:
-red chili flakes
-cumin powder
-half bunch fresh corriander,corse chopped
-mix this all good with your hands wearing a thin glove

-sprinkle lemon juice
-mix again



-Now add the chick peas and the diced potatoes and mix all well


And now the queen of all tips which is my Moms way!
After it is mixed well, heat the8-10  tbs oil in a pan and roast the 2-3 tsp white cumin in it, as soon as it starts to sizzle pour it directly  on the chaat , this brings out the flavour and gives it the special taste!!!

You can make it before time as it is served cold, just give the baghaar when you have to serve, this gives it a shinny glaze and a very fresh look!!

I’m sure you’l love it : )
Tamarind (Imli) Chutney:
 1 packet Tamarind
6-10 tbs sugar (can be more to taste)
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp red chili powder
1 ½ tsp cumin powder

-soak one pack of Tamarind (imli) over night

( I get a packet of around 300 gram)
-squeeze and take out pulp and sieve twice thrice
-mix in a good amount of sugar along with salt/chili/cumin powder
-whisk all well and let cook at least an hour
-mix in more sugar if u want to have it very sweet
-best is sweet and sour
-you have to keep checking and stirring it off and on till it form a thick consistency:-)
- let it cool and store in a glass bottles, lasts nearly over a month in the fridge.
-Don’t use a wet spoon in it, this protects it from turning bad or getting any fungus in it (phapoondi)
I'll take a picture of the chutney and upload tomorrow :)

Tuesday 21 May 2013

**Soft and Spongy Lamingtons**

Once upon a time, my sis Ruhi and i planned to make these Lamingtons, we kept making thousand other things but never came to make these :) I had thought one day I will give her a surprise and make it for her, so today is THE day when I  thought if not today then when?  : )

The name Lamington is so famous and nearly everyone has tasted and quite probably also made them. The Australians have really scored full marks by producing such excellent scrumptious treat!

I won’t say that I always knew how to make them as this is not right, yes I did see them and thought hmmm it’s like a sponge cake with filling with coconut coating : )


I surfed around in the net and saw like over 1 million recipes of it lol.. The main version was with the cocoa filling, some had custard and some had jam into jelly form , so I liked the jelly variation and got all set to make it.
Basically we make a nice spongy sponge cake, it should really be soft so the more butter and eggs the more fluffy and yummy :)
Mostly all had the choco sauce with little milk in it, so I used both, choco milk and grated some fine milk chocolate  bar to make it yummier.
I think I will upload the pictures and settle down in peace and then write the recipe which is actually very easy but at the moment I have another tray which I still have to dip and toss and let it rest so I am off to work and you enjoy these ultra delicious lamingtons : )

Okay so here I am today as promised :)
 I cannot mention that this recipe is from A B or C because I had a look at many and then did what I felt will go good, the sponge cake is a normal soft one with the basic ingredients.
First some useful Tips to get good results:
 1*What I usually do for my cakes is, that i sieve the flour 2 to 3 times, this makes the flour very fine and your batter turns very light, never over beat this flour as it will become sticky and produce lots of bubbles which will spoil the cake’s structure and you will have hundreds of holes all over : )
2*Many use a special Lamington form for it, I don’t think it is necessary as you can make it in any square form and cut nice cubes out of it.
3*I always put my cake in the freezer for a cold shock before I cut it, because if you cut your cake while it is still warm, this will end in many crumbles and the surface will crack and spoil the smooth look
4* Whenever you have to do any filling in any cake which you need to cut in halves always let it cool down complete and if you have  less time then simply place it in the freezer.
This is what you need, sometimes the things added are a bit more or less, but this makes no big difference so worry not if the flour is a tsp more or less :D
But yes the baking powder should be exact as this can over blow your cake : )
 To make the Sponge cake:
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3  eggs (small size)
¾ cup soft butter
¾ cup sugar
200 gram raspberry jam
200gram desiccated coconut
*mix the flour and baking powder and sieve 3 times
*beat the butter till fluffy white
*add the sugar and beat again
*break in the eggs and beat on high speed till all turns into smooth and soft batter
*now start to add the flour/baking powder slowly and just fold in with a wooden spoon
*when all has been mixed well, just beat the batter once or twice with the mixer and then stop!
*lay a baking paper in the tray, I took the small sized 9x9” tray
*spread the batter evenly with a spatula and bake in a preheated oven on 170°C for 20 -25 minutes
*just check with the tooth pick, it’s ready when the stick comes out clean
*take out of the oven and let it cool down a bit, then turn over to a wooden board
*place the board in the freezer if you have enough place or just keep in the fridge so it sets well
*now very carefully cut the cake in halves and lay in separate plates
*now heat a small saucepan and put the raspberry jam in it and mix it very slowly, it will change into jelly, keep mixing so it does not burn or get thick.
*remove the pan, and with the help of a tbs pour it all over on one side of the cake
*just spread till all corners so you have a nice filling and then cover the second part carefully
*now put this sandwich in the fridge or freezer again to set
In the mean time prepare the Choco coating:
75ml milk
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbs soft butter
¾ cup castor sugar (icing sugar)
50 gram chocolate block (grated)
*heat the milk on a low flame
*mix in the cocoa powder/sugar
*grate the choco directly in the sauce pan
*now add the butter and keep mixing, this will form a light thick consistency, keep aside
*now take out the cake from the fridge (not more than 15 minutes) and cut equal and even squares
*dip the square in the choco sauce, toss in the coconut and keep on the wire rack to settle
Usually we toss in fresh grated coconut but I din’t have any and if then who would open it : ) So I used the dry one, which tastes equally super!
There you have your ultra yummy Lamingtons ready!!!