Apple, Coconut and Jaggery Hand Pies for SABH

This month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop theme is Childhood Favourites, hosted by Sophie from the Sticky and the Sweet. The theme set my mind racing.  After all, aren’t we all spoilt for choice when it comes to the sweets we were introduced to as kids? For me as a small child in India, there were gems (Indian equivalent of Smarties), 5-Star Chocolate bars, Amul Pista ice-cream and countless traditional Indian sweets.  When I moved to Australia, there was even more sugary goodness to be discovered and toffee apples, Chupa Chups, push pops, Buffalo Bill ice-creams and Jelly Pythons came into the picture.

Apple coconut jaggery pies 2

It is a special quality of childhood enjoyments that often when we try them as adults, we either don’t quite enjoy them as much, or we do but are old enough to know how appallingly lacking in nutrition they are (I’m talking to you, sherbies and redskins!).

So I decided to choose something that I would happily indulge in even now, and not just for the sake of nostalgia.  Two things, to be precise.  The first is that bubbly pastry pocket of lava-hot goodness, the McDonalds Apple Pie.

The second is a South Indian dessert that my mum has made for as long as I can remember.  It is mostly made as a religious offering on festival days a few times a year, making it all the more appealing.  Sliced bananas are tossed in jaggery (unrefined Indian brown sugar), cardamom and fresh grated coconut.  Sometimes a little saffron or a handful of raisins and cashews are sprinkled in.  It is good fresh, amazing half an hour later and a sludgy, syrupy mess the day after, if it even makes it that far.

Apple coconut jaggery pies 1

I used apples instead of bananas for two reasons.  They stand up better when baked in pastry than do bananas, and I had an abundance of them after going apple picking in Bilpin last week.  So it was that two desserts from my two worlds came together in these hand pies.

The pastry was the trusty sour cream pastry from Smitten Kitchen that I have now used several times because it is so good.  In hindsight though, a traditional, thinner shortcrust pastry may have suited these pies better, although I’m certainly not complaining abut the outcome.  The apple pie filling was enhanced by the coconut and almost caramel-like jaggery, with a bite of cardamom just to remind me exactly where I’m from.

Apple coconut jaggery pies 3

Apple, Coconut and Jaggery Hand Pies

Makes 12-15

Get:

Filling:
5 or 6 small red apples, diced (I used Aussie Royal Galas)
1 ½ cups (about 300g) of firm Jaggery
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
The insides of 15-18 cardamom pods, powdered
Generous pinch saffron strands

3 quantities of this pastry (leave out the ajwain and cumin seeds and only use 1/2 the amount of salt)

Make:

Toss the filling ingredients together in a bowl and allow to sit for 10-20 mins.

Roll out the pastry to 4-5mm thickness.  Cut out shapes of your choice.  I went for squares, so I cut strips of pastry that were about 25 cm x 10cm.  I spooned the filling into the middle of one side of the pastry, leaving the edges clear.  I then folded the pastry over to cover the filling.

Use your fingers, then a fork to press around the edges.  Place the pastries in the fridge again for about 20 mins.  In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200 C.

Place the tray of pastries in the oven and bake for about 20-25 mins or until the pastry is crisp and cooked.

Apple coconut jaggery pies 4

Advertisements

Ricotta, Sweet Potato and Chilly spread + Happy New Year!

Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
-Les Brown

Ricotta Sweet potato crostini 4

This year, let’s keep it simple, ok? Ok.
Instead of resolutions, let’s make a decision.  One single, easy decision.

This year we will make a decision to be good to ourselves, to understand when it needs to be about us and not those outside of us. An effort will be required, yes. To keep sight of what is in the best interest of our souls often doesn’t come naturally.

Know that it is an effort worth expending.

Let’s give ourselves only the best, without hesitation.  After all, life will only give us what we feel we deserve, no?

Ricotta Sweet potato crostini 3

Twenty fourteen will see us treating ourselves with nothing but kindness, whilst never losing sight of our needs and goals.  It will be the year when we are true to us, when we don’t allow anything, least of all ourselves, to hold us back.

It will be the year we will move forward, shoot for the moon.  Because God knows we deserve it.  And along the way it will finally dawn on us that we do deserve it.

You know what?  Once we understand that, that we have every right to expect the best from the things we pour our hearts into, it will be so much easier to be kinder to ourselves.

And if we do shoot for the moon and land on a star?  Well, no matter……the stars are luminous, and we may just find that they are enough after all.

Ricotta Sweet potato crostini 5

In the interest of keeping things simple, here is a little spread I put together, on a day when the world was like an oven and spending more than ten minutes in the kitchen seemed the most unkind thing I could do to myself.  I had this for lunch, spread thickly onto crostini and with some finely sliced red cabbage and good anchovies piled atop it.  A few drops of white wine vinegar finished it off nicely.  And on that day? Well, it was enough.

You could really use whatever toppings you wanted, but I would suggest a combination of fresh, crunchy and salty with a drizzle of something acidic.

Happy New Year dear readers.  This blog has brought me so much fulfilment in 2013 and you, all of you, are instrumental in that.

Ricotta Sweet potato crostini 2

Ricotta, Sweet Potato and Chilly Spread

Get:

1/2 Habanero Chilly or 1 small red chilli
1/2 cup firm ricotta
1/2 cup boiled sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small handful fresh coriander
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the Crostini:
1 or 2 baguettes, sliced into 1cm slices
Olive oil

Suggested toppings:
Thinly sliced red cabbage, watercress, alfalfa sprouts etc.  Combine with anchovies, feta or olives and drizzle with a little vinegar of your choice.

Make:

If using a habanero chilly, roast it over an open flame or on a BBQ.  Place half of it, or a small red chilli in the bowl of your food processor with all the other spread ingredients.  Blitz until it is a paste consistency. Taste and add a little salt or olive oil if required, then blitz again.

Brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil and grill both sides until toasted to your preference.

Spread the crostini thickly with the ricotta mixture and top with toppings of your choice.

Get out of the kitchen quick and enjoy with something cold in front of the TV.

Ricotta Sweet potato crostini 1

Spiced Tamarind and Date Truffles

Anyone who has lived in India will know about Dabur’s Hajmola, the digestive tablet packed with various spices that are known to aid digestion.  Hajmola became so popular that they released candy with same spices in two different flavours, Imli (tamarind) and Aum (Green Mango).  Now I’ve made no secret of my love for tamarind here and here and my almost equal love for green mango here.

So it is a logical conclusion that I went through a phase when I was positively addicted to Hajmola candy.  I may or may not have, on one trip to India, purchased all of the candies at one tiny street-side shop to bring back with me.  I left the shop keeper completely bewildered, as he handed over the large bag of candies to a fully grown adult with not a kid in sight.

Tamarind Date Truffles

When December’s Sweet Adventures Blog hop theme of Truffles was announced by JJ of 84th & 3rd, I had the borderline insane idea of creating a Hajmola candy inspired spiced tamarind truffle.  It was one of those things that could have failed miserably and yet in a strange way, it worked and the results were really quite enjoyable. I have avoided adding sugar but if you like things a little sweeter, throw in about a tablespoon of honey.

I have said before that I like things to be textural around here, so I added cashews but you could choose any nut.  The toasted sesame seeds that coat the whole business add a lovely crunch and totally redeem themselves for getting annoyingly stuck in your teeth, but you could use shredded coconut or more crushed nuts if you feel like it.

Tamarind Date Truffles 2

Spiced Tamarind and Date Truffles

Get:

 1 ping pong ball sized piece of tamarind
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cloves
3/4 tsp kala namak (Indian black salt)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup cashews
500g dates
1/2 cup sesame seeds

Make:

 Shred the tamarind roughly with your fingers and place in a small bowl.  Pour the boiling water over it.  Allow it to soak until the water cools enough to handle, mashing with a fork a couple of times while it is still hot.

In a non-stick fry pan, roast the cumin, black pepper and cloves until fragrant.  Grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and set aside.

In the same pan, toast the sesame seeds until they are golden brown.  Remove from the pan and set aside in a food-grade plastic or paper bag.

In the same pan, heat the coconut oil and fry the cashews till golden brown.  With a spoon, remove the cashews from the pan and set aside, leaving as much of the oil behind as possible.

When the tamarind/water mixture has cooled enough to handle, use a (clean) hand to squish the tamarind between your fingers to make a thick tamarind flavoured water.  Strain the water into the frypan with the oil, on medium heat.  Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the water has visibly reduced.

Add the dates and cook, stirring, until the dates are softened (about 7-10min).  While stirring, add the spice mix and black salt.

Allow to cool and blitz in the food processor with the cashews until a smooth dough forms.  Roll into balls (mine were about a tablespoon of mixture each).  Drop the balls into the bag of sesame seeds, 3 or 4 at a time.  Hold the top of the bag closed and shake the bag to coat the truffles.  Place the sesame coated truffles on a plate or tray and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to firm up before eating or serving.

Tamarind Date Truffles 3

Six Ingredient Microwave Chocolate Burfi (Indian milk sweet)

Yes, yes I know….it’s been a bit of a dessert overload around here, hasn’t it?  I mean, there were these Pots de Crème and these feline Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.  Oh OH! And this Crumble!

But let’s just think about that phrase…..dessert overload.

Is there such a thing, really?

No, no I thought not.

Chocolate burfi 2

Certainly not at this time of the year when the air is ripe with the cheer of one festival or another.  For Hindus, the one just gone by, Diwali, is a major one and surely not a time to be worrying about silly things like the waistline.

Diwali, or Deepavali is the festival of lights.  Yes you read that right- a festival named after me.  Or was it the other way around?  I’m not keeping track.

The lighting of lamps and the setting off of firecrackers symbolises an awakening.  An illumination by the light of truth to dispel the darkness of ignorance.

Diwali to us is like our Christmas and New Years rolled into one.  We pray to the Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity and exchange gifts of new clothes to symbolise fresh beginnings.

And after the prayer is done, lamps are lit and gifts are given, we do what we do best…….cook up a storm and eat ourselves into a food and sugar coma.

Chocolate burfi 1

This year, Mum and I put together several sweets in addition to the main meal.  I decided to try my hand at Chocolate Burfi, which it will surprise none of you to hear is one of my favourite Indian sweets.  There are two versions of this sweet that I have seen.  Many like to mix cocoa powder in with the basic burfi (milk sweet) mixture.  My preference is the way that the sweet shop down the road from me used to make it when I lived in London.

The base is a fudgy, milky layer and it is topped by a good thick layer of dark chocolate.  I like a chocolate to milk sweet ratio of around 1:2. You could use milk chocolate, but I enjoy the way the dark chocolate cuts through the sweetness of the bottom layer.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.  For those who celebrate, I hope your Diwali was filled with love and decadence, and was the fresh start you needed.

Chocolate burfi 4

Chocolate Burfi

Makes 32

The microwave milk sweet technique is also described here

Get:

For the milk sweet layer:
120g butter, cubed
1 can condensed milk
2 cups full-cream milk powder

For the chocolate layer:
200g good quality dark chocolate (I like Plaistowe 70%)
2 tbsp thickened or double cream
1/3 cup nuts coarsely ground (I used pistachios)

Make:

Prepare a tray.  I used a greased silicone 20cm x 20cm baking pan.  If you are using a non-flexible pan, I suggest you grease it and line it with baking paper.

In a large microwave safe bowl, place butter and microwave until melted (about a minute).  Add condensed milk and milk powder and whisk well.

Microwave on high for a minute, then whisk again till smooth.

Microwave on high for another minute and whisk again.

Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then 30 seconds again, whisking in between.

Spoon into the prepared tray and spread evenly.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

When the milk sweet layer has set, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 20-30 second bursts, stirring in between.  When the chocolate has melted, stir in the cream.  If the mixture starts to seize up, microwave for a further 20 seconds.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the milk sweet layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle with coarsely ground nuts and refrigerate until the chocolate is set (at least 3 hours).

With a sharp knife, cut into shapes of your choice. I went for squares that were then cut diagonally to make triangles.

Chocolate burfi 3

Black Cat Pumpkin Cheesecake bars and 5 Tips for Safe Pets this Season

Halloween is coming!  And in anticipation, I present you with these Pumpkin Cheesecake bars which I assure you, you will love as much as I do.  The base is one that refuses to play second fiddle to the fresh, tangy topping.  It is packed with nuts and shredded coconut, providing a roughage that contrasts nicely with the smoothness of the cream cheese and pumpkin.

I used melted dark chocolate to pipe these funky little black cats, and adorned them with shiny edible pearls for eyes.  You can of course choose whatever design you please; witches hats, bats, evil eyes……the world is your cheesecake!

Pumpkin cheesecake bars ingredients

Speaking of cats and holidays, for those of you who have four-legged family members, I thought I’d put together a list of ways to care for them during this season.  Our beloved furry friends can get a little neglected during the festivities and that, as well as the insanely hot summers we experience here in Oz mean that vet hospitals are the busiest during this time.

Here are a few important ways to look after our creatures over the next few months…….

1.  Watch what they gobble: Our pets love a Christmas feast as much as we do.  In fact, we often see patients that have eaten something silly, causing them to become sick.  Nothing ruins a holiday like having to spend an hour in a busy waiting room of a vet hospital!  When pets eat fatty foods such as bacon, sausages and sweets, it can trigger a condition known as pancreatitis.  This is a very painful and debilitating condition whereby the pancreas becomes inflamed, causing vomiting and a lack of appetite leading to dehydration and illness.  Most cases are treated with hospitalisation, antibiotics and IV fluids, but severe cases can be fatal.

Fatty foods aside, certain foods such as onions, chocolate, raisins and many others are actually toxic to pets.  So while you enjoy your meal, treat your pet to something pet-friendly such as a raw bone or doggy treat, and ask visiting relatives nicely not to feed the pets human food or leave it lying around within reach.

Pumpkin cheesecake bars ingredients2

2. Remember that things that are not food can seem edible:  In addition to eating inappropriate foods, some dogs (think Labrador!) have a knack for eating things that really shouldn’t be eaten by anybody!  While you are celebrating the holidays, your pooch may do the same by gulping down something that may get stuck in his or her gut causing an obstruction.  Some holiday related things that I have had to fish out of doggy intestines include wine corks, skewers, fish hooks and corn cobs.  Believe me, spending Christmas eve elbow-deep in a dog’s abdomen is no fun for the vet, the dog or the anxious owner!

3. Protect against nasty critters: In Australia, the heat tends to bring out some of those nasty creepy crawlies that we are well known for.  Paralysis ticks are a horrible little bug, and if I could choose one species to be extinct, it would me this one.  They latch onto an unassuming animal and proceed to inject them with a poison that paralysis first the legs and then the respiratory muscles.

There are one or two good products available from vets to protect dogs against these ticks and they should be used in high risk areas such as national parks and near water bodies.  Unfortunately none of these products are highly reliable and you should search your pet after visiting these areas, focusing on the head and neck.  If you notice any signs of paralysis such as weak legs, a change in bark or breathing difficulty, veterinary care should be sought immediately.

Snake bites are also more common during summer and this should also be treated as an emergency.

Pumpkin cheesecake bars 3

4.  Stay on top of routine treatments: Ensure your dogs are fully vaccinated.  Diseases such as Parvovirus and Canine Cough (Kennel Cough) are more frequently transmitted in the warmer months.  Parvovirus occurs mostly in young, inadequately vaccinated dogs and causes severe vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration.  It is also a condition that can be fatal due to the profound dehydration and weakness it causes.  Vaccinations and worming can often be overlooked during the excitement of the holiday season so stay organised!

Pumpkin cheesecake bars 1

5.  Beat the heat: Keep your pets cool during the scorching summer months.  Keep them indoors or provide plenty of shade outdoors.  Ensure there is plenty of clean drinking water within reach, and add ice cubes to it on hotter days.  Pets should not be left in cars on hot days and if this must be done, leave a couple of windows open a notch, don’t leave them for more than a few minutes and park the car in the shade.

So with a bit of care and vigilance, your furry friends can enjoy the holiday season while staying happy, healthy and out of hospital!

Hoping I haven’t put you off your food with all this vet talk and on a brighter note, here’s the recipe for my Black Cat Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars for October’s SABH.  The lovely JJ from 84th & 3rd is hosting this one.  These bars are gluten-free, vegetarian and fructose free (not including the decoration).

Happy Halloween to you and your pets!

Pumpkin cheesecake bars 2

Black Cat Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Makes 8

Recipe for the base is from Sarah Wilson’s Blog

Get:

For the base:
1/2 cup nuts- hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios or macadamias work well
1/2 cup shredded or dessicated coconut
1/3 cup nut meal- I used almond
2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the topping:
1 block (200g) cream cheese
1/2 cup pumpkin puree*
2 1/2- 3 tbsp rice syrup or honey
1 tsp allspice
1/3 cup almond meal

To  decorate:
About 10 squares dark chocolate
Sprinkles, pearls, et al
A piping bag or homemade version (try this tutorial)

Make:

Preheat the oven to 160 C.

Use a food processor to grind the whole nuts to a very coarse meal with some small chunks.  Place in a large bowl and add all the other ingredients.  Using your (clean) hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture forms a sort ok kneadable dough.  Press the mixture into a grease-proof paper lined loaf tin or a deep baking tray if you decide to double the recipe.  The base should be about a centimetre thick.  Bake on the middle shelf for about 15 mins or until firm and very slightly browned.  Allow to cool before adding the topping.

Place the topping ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until well combined and smooth.  Pour the mixture over the cooled base and spread evenly.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing into 8 even squares.

Line a tray with grease-proof paper or a silicon mat.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in 20-30 second bursts in the microwave.  Place in the piping bag and pipe shapes of your choice.  At this point, I placed the edible pearls to make the cats’ eyes.  Place the tray in the fridge till the chocolate sets.  Once the cheesecake bars are set and sliced, decorate with the chocolate shapes and any other decorations you wish to use.

*I make pumpkin puree by placing a chunk of pumpkin, skin and all, on a tray in an oven preheated to 180 C.  Bake until the pumpkin is quite soft, about 30 min.  Scoop out the flesh and mash by hand or using a food processor.

White flowers

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Indian Tapas: Fish Tikka Tacos

This is the first of a series of dishes called Indian Tapas that I will share on this blog. It is my attempt to get a little more adventurous with canape and appetiser ideas using Indian flavours, expanding on the classic chicken tikka, samosa and bhaji option that one usually finds in restaurants.

Eventually, I hope to build a collection of Indian and Indian-inspired short-eats.  The sort of thing you serve when you have friends over for drinks or just as an appetiser at a dinner party.  The sort of thing that can line the stomach nicely for a glass of wine, or with a few different dishes, can build up to be a full meal.

For the first of the Indian Tapas series, I decided to create little grab-and-munch mini soft tacos using Indian flavours.  What I love most about this dish is that it combines my all-time favourite Indian cuisine with one of my other loves, Mexican food.

Fish Tikka Tacos 1

My experience of Mexico spans but a few hours.  It was when I was almost thirteen, on a trip with my parents that we took a bus tour from California across the border to Tijuana.  As far as cities go, it reminded me of almost anywhere in India; over-populated, polluted and full of smiling faces and intriguing smells.

I remember being told to be careful with photography as Mexican policemen did not like being snapped by tourists.  There was the warning to be even more careful with our valuables if we wanted to keep then.

I vividly remember the underground market where hawkers tried to sell us things.  Ponchos, blankets, trinkets and so on.  There was the sleazy old stall-keeper who offered to buy me from my parents, an offer which was politely declined.  There was the colourful watch my parents bought me, the face of which was half sun, half moon.  There were two soft leather bags that we took home and used for years, encouraged by our guide’s advice that Tijuana was known for its leather goods.

Fish Tikka Tacos 2

Strangely, I have no memory of the food we ate there, surprising as food normally plays a strong part in my recollections of a place.  My best experiences of Mexican food were during my visits to Texas, which is close enough to the border to have developed their own version of the cuisine and to dub it Tex-Mex.

These appetiser sized tacos are the perfect little four or five bite morsels to be served with drinks and eaten with fingers.  I couldn’t resist using Indian flavours.  The fish tikka is one I’ve been making for a while now, and when it occurred to me to incorporate it into mini-tacos to create my first Indian Tapas recipe, I was unnaturally excited.

You can make the different components ahead of time and just bring it all together to serve.  Vegetarians, this would also work well with paneer or firm tofu.

Fish Tikka Tacos 4

Fish Tikka Tacos

 Makes 6-8 mini tacos

Get:

300g swordfish or other white fish (fillet or steak)
Cooking oil- olive, canola, sunflower or vegetable should all work well

For the marinade:
2/3 cup greek-style yoghurt
2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely grated
1-2  hot chillies (optional)
3 tbsp tikka masala
1/2 tsp salt

For the yoghurt sauce:
1/2 cup yoghurt
2 tbsp fresh Dill
1 garlic clove, peeled
Pinch salt

To serve
Approx 1 cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 Red onion sliced thinly
A few fronds of fresh dill
Mini tortillas or normal sized tortillas quartered
Fresh lime wedges

Make:

Blitz the marinade ingredients in the food processor until a smooth mixture is formed.  In a large bowl, place the fish and cover with the marinade. Use your (clean) fingers to make sure the fish is well coated.  Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

In the meantime, rinse out the food processor bowl and blitz the yoghurt sauce ingredients until the garlic is well incorporated.  Also, prepare the other ingredients ready for serving.

In a hot pan, preferably a griddle pan, drizzle a cooking oil of your choice.  Once the oil is hot, fry the fish until it is cooked through with nice char marks on either side.  When the cold marinade hits the hot oil, there will be a hot little spitty tantrum so do keep a lid ready to contain it.

Once it is slightly cooled, slice the fish up into bite sized pieces.

To serve, Lay out the tacos.  Along the midline of each taco, place a few spinach leaves, then some fish. Top with yoghurt sauce, red onions (don’t be shy!) and a few fronds of dill,then a squeeze of lime.  Serve with something alcoholic (preferably).
Fish Tikka Tacos 3

A Crumble for Comfort

I had serious arguments with myself before I finally made my mind up to post this recipe.  After all, who needs yet another recipe for baking fruit covered in a simple flour and oat mixture?  Especially when we are solidly in spring here in Australia, decidedly not a time for hot baked desserts.

Apple Blueberry Crumble 1

What finally convinced me to post was the reminder that this blog is as much for me as it is for the ten or so of you who regularly read it.

It is a place for me to chronicle my recipes, so that when I am old and senile, I will still be able to whip myself up a quick dessert, a dhal that tastes like home or my palak paneer.

As soon as I remember where I left my glasses so that I may read the screen.

It is a place for me to share my thoughts, memories and experiences.  To excitedly show you what I whipped up in my kitchen that made us happy over here.  I decided that perhaps a classic recipe with some equally sweet memories attached is the perfect thing to share in this, my corner of cyber-space.

All that and the fact that I had some sad, softish looking apples trying to die a slow death in my fruit bowl which simply had to be used up.

Green apples 3

 

I learnt the original version of this from a housemate during my time in Glasgow.  We were interns then, poor for both money and time.

As interns, our days were a blur of hospital duty, scrubs and pagers.  There were weeks of nightshifts where day became night and night was day.  A unique form of jet-lag without the fun parts like aeroplanes and cocktails by the pool.  Amidst it all we did all we could to absorb information from our seniors while attempting to appear knowledgeable in front of the students.

We ate when we could and coming home to a prepared meal was a luxury we never took for granted.  The local pub knew us well as making our way further afield to eat out in the city was a trip we seldom had the time or energy to make.  Piled into a big house together, we found that sharing meals was the most economical, not to mention most enjoyable way to go about things.

When my housemate made this crumble, an enormous dish of this would stretch to be both dessert and breakfast for several days.  During the busier times, it might have served as dinner as well.  We would store it in the cooled oven, which in the Glasgow winter was not too different from a fridge in any other place.

Apple Blueberry Crumble 3

You can make this your own as I did.  I usually use Granny Smith (green) apples but just about any apple will work.  The blueberries do that thing they do, exploding in the heat and covering everything rather dramatically in their purple juices.  Feel free to use whatever berries you like, or even raisins.  The crumble can only be enhanced by add-ins such as shredded coconut, pecans or hazelnuts, but I quite enjoy the way pepitas swell with hot air and go all crunchy.

Apple and Blueberry Crumble

Serves 6-8 for dessert or 4 hungry interns for dinner

Get:

For the fruit layer:

6 apples
1 punnet blueberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp rice syrup, honey or brown sugar

For the crumble:

3/4 cup wholewheat plain flour
3/4 cup quick oats
3 tbsp pepitas
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 & 1/2 tbsp rice syrup, honey or brown sugar
1 & 1/2 tbsp butter
8 cloves

Make:

Preheat the oven to 160 C.

Core and dice the apples to a 1 1/2 to 2 cm dice.  In a mixing bowl, mix the apples, blueberries and the rest of the fruit layer ingredients so that the fruit is well coated in the other ingredients.  Distribute the fruit mixture evenly in a medium sized deep ceramic dish.

Place all the crumble ingredients, apart from the cloves, in the same bowl.  Use your (clean) fingers to massage the butter and syrup into the other ingredients.  Stop when it is well mixed to a moist crumble consistency.

Scatter the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the fruit mixture.  Dot the cloves into the crumble.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes until the apples are soft and yeilding.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, cream or Greek yoghurt. The latter is probably a more sensible option if you are having leftovers for breakfast but if you opt for ice-cream it’ll be our little secret.

Apple Blueberry Crumble 2

Scrambled Eggs, Indian-Style

Hello there….I was wondering when you’d arrive.  I thought I’d make us some breakfast, although I think most normal folk would call this brunch-time.  I hope you like eggs?

egg bhurji 3

Sit on that stool and chat to me while I chop these tomatoes.  I’ll pour you some orange juice.  Oh yes, you can grind those spices if you feel like it.

What’s that?  No, no it’s easy.  Just a sizzle of spices, a stir fry of some veggies and then the eggs.  It’s the sort of thing that’s done on a tiny kerosene stove in a stall on Juhu beach on a balmy Mumbai evening.  Then the whole fragrant, spicy, steamy  mess is piled onto some buttery bread to be devoured standing up amongst a crowd.

There, it’s done already.  Butter that toast, will you?  I’ll get you some cutlery but it really is better just to use your fingers, Indian style.

So then….tell me what you’ve been up to……

egg bhurji 2

Egg Bhurji (Indian-style scrambled eggs)

Serves 2 with toast

Get:

1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp butter + more for bread
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 small green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
1/4 – 1/3 capsicum, diced
4 eggs
Salt
1 tomato, diced
Small handful coriander, chopped
Bread, toasted and buttered

Make:

In a large non-stick pan, dry roast 1/2 tsp cumin and the coriander seeds until fragrant.  Grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.  In the same pan, melt the butter and add 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds.  When the seeds have popped, add the spice powder and turmeric, frying for a couple of minutes on low-medium heat.  Add the chillies and onion and fry until the onion is softened.  Add the capsicum and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 1/4 tsp salt.  Add the eggs to the pan and stir continuously to scramble.  When the eggs are half-cooked, add the tomato and more salt according to taste and stir until the eggs are fully cooked.

Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve on buttered toast.  Dousing with chilli or tomato sauce is optional but recommended.

egg bhurji 1

Chocolate-Drizzled Macaroon Cookies for August SABH

I spend a lot of time in my own little world. Call it a Piscean trait or an only child thing that la-la land seems to be a second home for me.

It’s nice up there you know, and for the most part I have no complaints.  But being somewhat of a space cadet leads to some muddled and sometimes embarrassing effects.

Macaroon Cookies 4

There was that time during my primary school days in Mumbai.  It was a Tuesday and I somehow had it in my seven year old mind that it was a Wednesday, a day when school finished at noon.  So little me waited at the school gates for my mum, slightly puzzled as to why I wasn’t surrounded by the usual crowd of kids waiting and parents collecting.

To add insult to injury, despite normally being a perfectly angelic student, I was reprimanded for my confusion and wound up utterly humiliated!

Macaroon Cookies 1

Last week, the days of the calendar jumped around without any warning again.  I got my Mondays mixed up and posted this Indian spiced cookie recipe for Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, hosted by The Sticky and Sweet.  Seconds after I hit publish, I realised that SABH week was actually this week!

My embarrassment was significantly soothed with the realisation that two batches of cookies can only be better than one.  So I set about to put together another batch.

Macaroon Cookies 3

This is a macaroon like cookie- not the fancy schmancy high maintenance French macarons that are currently on a mission for world dominance.  No, this is like the much simpler coconut macaroon but with other good things added in.

Think of the egg whites as merely a vehicle for all the awesome nuttiness.   You can totally personalise these.  Add almost whatever you want- other nuts, dried fruit or chocolate chips.  The original recipe which is the inspiration for this uses chunks of marzipan.  If you want this to be totally fructose-free, leave out the cranberries and use unsweetened or fructose-free chocolate.

Chocolate-drizzled Macaroon Cookies

Inspired by these cookies from The Tiffin Box

Makes 20-25

Get:

4 egg whites
1/2 cup rice syrup and honey
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup cranberries
10-12 squares dark chocolate

Make:

Preheat the oven to 150 C.

Roast the almonds on a baking tray for about 15 mins.  Allow to cool and chop roughly.

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks.  Fold in the syrup gently.  Sift in the almond meal.  Add the coconut, almonds and cranberries and fold all the ingredients together gently, being careful to preserve as much of the lightness as possible.

Line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking paper and grease the paper for insurance purposes.  Place tablespoon sized dollops of the batter on the paper with about 2 cm between dollops.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cookies have browned a little.  Allow to cool.

Melt the chocolate in a Bain Marie or double boiler, or in the microwave in 20-30 second bursts.  Using a fork, drizzle the cookies with chocolate.

Macaroon Cookies 2