Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Walnut Mocha Torte




Walnut Mocha Torte

Not everything has to look picture perfect or flawless. In fact in my opinion, it enhances the feeling of warmth and comfort in enjoying a homemade cake. 
This cake is absolutely delicious. It has a soft light walnut textured cake and its rich and luscious frosting is the mocha flavoured chocolate that is so luxurious with its sweetness and a tinge of bitter from the coffee to combine it. A steaming cup of coffee only enhances the absolute treat it brings to us mochaholics!

This cake is from my mothers recipe collection of over 60 years. She was a brilliant baker. 







The creamy texture of this frosting and the walnuts crumbled over it, gives this cake its homemade look. It is my personal favourite. 


Serves 10

Cake

3 cups walnut halves
6 tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp coffee granules
1 tsp vanilla

6 egg whites
2 tbsp sugar

Prepare two pans approximately 24 cm/ 9 1/2 inch. Line with a parchment in each and butter it well.


In a food processor pulse together the walnut, flour, baking powder and salt. The mixture should be like "crumbs" and not fine.

With an electric beater beat the egg yolks, sugar, coffee granules and vanilla . Whip for 10 minutes until light and fluffy. 

In another bowl beat the egg whites until light and foamy, slowly adding the sugar half way through. The egg whites should not be dry and beaten only until soft peaks are formed.

Now fold in 1/3rd of the egg white. Alternate by adding 1/2 the walnut crumbs. Repeat with egg white, walnut and finishing it off with egg whites.

Divide the batter in two, pouring it into the prepared pans.

Bake in a preheated oven of 350F/ 175C for 22 minutes.
The cakes should start to leave the sides of the pan. Run a knife immediately. Allow it to cool completely.


Frosting



1 1/2 cups cream  - whipping or 35%
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 tbsp coffee granules

8 oz/227 gm dark chocolate - broken in pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract


Combine the cream, corn syrup and coffee in a saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat and mix until it is completely dissolved. 
Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate.  Cover and let the residual heat melt the chocolate. You may shuffle the pan but avoid using a spoon until its almost melted. It will take about 5 minutes. 
Stir it gently to help it smoothen out and lastly add the vanilla extract. 

Refrigerate and allow to chill for up to 2 hours. It should be creamy and thick but not hard nor set. 
With a whisk or a spoon or an electric mixer, beat it until light, The colour will change from dark to light and the texture will change from creamy to buttery. 

Use all of it to frost the cake above.

Tips

Lindt 55 % gives me the perfect sweetness. Use your favourite dark chocolate.




My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.



Monday, 8 November 2021

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken

An easy recipe that will always be successful.

The key to it is the fresh whole chicken. Get a free range one, get it with the skin, get it organic if you like - increase the cooking time for the organic one. 

A Sunday roast prepared at the very last minute, improvised with "something in the fridge" - a wheel of soft cheese, Boursin. This cheese is made up with ingredients that flavour the meal -  garlic, herbs and cream, salt, pepper and soft cheese. What more can one wish for on a simple roast chicken? Subtle enough to serve it with sides, yet tasty enough to eat by itself.

I served this delicious chicken with a mushroom gravy, tartiflette, some roasted caulilini and a salad. It worked well, as I placed the chicken in the preheated oven, and then calculated the timing to place the potatoes and caulilini at the right times.






Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F

Serves 6

1.5 kg/3.3 lb free range chicken - whole with skin on

1 wheel of 150 gm/5.29 oz Boursin garlic and herbs soft French gournay cheese


Pat dry the whole chicken. Place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment. 

Gently loosen the skin all over as best as you can, being careful not to tear it apart. Starting with the breast side, generously apply the cheese under the skin , and place the remaining in the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken breast side down.

Cook the chicken for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, loosely cover this with some foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Serve.


Tips

The free range chicken should be cooked for approximately 20 minutes per lb. But it is important to note that organic chickens need more time to cook. 

To achieve the right balance, increase the ratio of cheese to match the larger bird. 

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala



Sunday, 7 November 2021

Caulilini

Caulilini

Caulilini is the new vegetable that is both pretty and delicious. It is a tender variety of the cauliflower. It looks like broccolini but stems from the cauliflower. It cooks rather quickly and needs little dressing to serve it.

Caulilini is also known as sweet sprouting cauliflower.


                                                      Raw prepped Caulilini

                                                                   

                                                        Cooked Caulilini



Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F

 3/4 lb/ 350 gm Caulilini  or Sweet Sprouting Cauliflower


Mix together

2 tbsp olive oil
a generous pinch of allepo chilli saffron
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup orange juice 

Place the caulilini on a baking tray lined with parchment and pour the marinade over the vegetable. 
Cook in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tips

If you do not have allepochillisaffron - simply mix a pinch of saffron and a generous pinch of chilli flakes.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Fish in a Thai Sauce

 Grilled Fish in a Thai Sauce


A favourite of the family, we often prepared this rather simple dish to serve as a side with Thai curry or noodles. Traditionally in Eastern culture whole fish is always used. It is the head, skin and bone that gives the fish its flavour and prevents it from drying. You could also use large filleted sides if you prefer.

While I prepared this in the oven, you may use your grill or even deep fry it whole, especially if you like the fish skin crisp. Either way its delicious. 

Sea bass, red snapper, ramus, sea bream, pomfret are some of the fish we generally used. Fresh fish is recommended. 

                                       

      Whole Sea bass with leeks, green onions, fresh ginger and kaffir lime leaves, oven grilled .

                                  

 

 Serves 4                                             

Wash and pat dry a 2lb whole fish of choice. Slit on both sides, rub with salt and sesame or peanut oil and keep aside for 10 minutes.

  

The Marinade; In a bowl mix together

8 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

6 tbsp  fish sauce

2-4 red Thai birds eye chillies - finely chopped

1 tsp tamarind paste

4 tsp palm sugar

1 tsp fresh ginger - crushed

 1 tsp fresh galangal - crushed

 

Rub half the marinade generously ( about half of the quantity ) on to the fish and cook in a preheated 350 F/180 C oven for 20-30 minutes till done. This can be done on a grill too. 

In a pan heat a teaspoon of sesame or peanut oil. Saute` on a high flame very quickly, the thinly sliced vegetables of choice - red and yellow peppers, leeks and green onions. Keeping it crisp. Pile onto serving plate. 

Boil down the remaining half of the marinade until it is a sticky sauce, pour over the fish and serve immediately.

 Alternatively - as in the picture above

Toss the rest into the prepared vegetables and top the fish with it. Cook this together with the fish. The skin of the fish will not be crisp using this method.

 

 Tips

Tamarind, galangal and lemon grass are all available in pre-packaged sachets and tubes. 

Adding a kaffir lime leaf and or lemon grass gives added flavour. 

Palm sugar can be alternated with brown sugar.

 

 

Friday, 22 October 2021

Chicken with a fondue top

Chicken with fondue sauce


Inspired by the series on cheese of the world I prepared this amazing chicken breast with a dripping cheese similar in consistency to a fondue - a Franco Suisse speciality. It was simple and elegant. 

While it may not be perfect for a warm summers day - it would work really well for days in cold winters. Served with a nice salad like Panzanella or a warm ratatouille and a glass of wine the meal could be embraced with warmth and a foodie fervor.





        Caramelised chicken breast on a cheese sauce and grilled with a topping of cheese to serve


Serves 6

6 chicken breasts with bone and skin on
2 oz salted butter
3 large cloves of garlic sliced in halves
6 rashers smoked bacon or any meat with little fat attached and not streaky
1 1/2 tbsp strong dijon mustard
1 cup sweet muscato wine
3/4th cup full cream

salt and pepper to season

200-250gm grated Comte` cheese

In a large skillet melt the butter and add the garlic. Add the smoked bacon and cook until soft. Remove and keep aside. 

Turn the flame on high, once it is hot and sizzling add the chicken skin side down.

Continue to cook on a high heat for 3 to 5 minutes until the skin is brown and crisped up. Sprinkle with salt. Turn over and continue to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat and remove the chicken on a board to rest for 5 minutes. 

Slit the breast through the middle just enough for it to open like a book. Sprinkle with pepper. Put the raw side down and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove to the board. Check how long more the chicken needs to be further cooked. Put each slice of the bacon in the center of the chicken. Close the chicken firmly and use toothpicks if necessary. Let it rest. 

Prepare the sauce while the chicken is resting. Add the wine to the  pan to deglaze. Add the mustard and cream, whisk until smooth. 

On a low heat, return the chicken to the pan. Cook until its just cooked through - tender and juicy. Generously place the Comte` cheese on each piece of chicken breast. Broil this until it melts under the broiler or by covering the lid of the pan on a very low simmer. 

Serve immediately.

Tips

Chicken breasts must be similar in size for an even cook.

If they are too thick the cooking time will increase. Do not over cook your chicken it will be dry and tasteless. 

Using a mix of green, pink, white and black peppercorns gives it a delightful taste.

The prepared Dijon mustard is best to use.

Adding the leftover rinds of the Comte` cheese gives an additional creamy texture and flavour to the sauce. 


Photography courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

 

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.




Tartiflette

Tartiflette is typically a dish from Savoy in the French Alps and from the surrounding Aosta Valley. It is made with thickly sliced potatoes, reblochon cheese, small cubed lardons/lardoons and sliced white onions. A splash of white wine can be added to the dish.

The tv series I love Cheese inspired me to prepare baked potatoes this way.

It was one of the best baked potatoes I have ever eaten!




Green onions and chives added instead of garlic scrapes and onions.








Serves 6

Preheat the oven to 350F/180 c degree 


1.5lb/650gm baby potatoes, scrubbed and washed in warm water

2/3 lb / 300 gm lardons or pancetta cubes 

12 roughly chopped green onions

3 garlic scrapes if in season - or a clove of garlic

3/4 cup whole milk OR sweet white wine like muscato

2/3 lb /300 gm reblochon, chopped into cubes

salt pepper to taste

3 oz / 85 gm salted butter

Smashed potatoes

In a baking tray lined with parchment, roast the baby potatoes in oven for 45 minutes until they are tender. Remove and 'smash' adding little bits of butter all over. Very lightly salt these.

Tartiflette

In a pan saute` the bacon on a low so the bacon releases the fat and still remains soft. Add the green onions and the finely chopped garlic scrapes adding a dash of butter continue to saute` for a few minutes. 

Remove into a 13 x 9 baking dish. Rub this with a clove of garlic all over. 

Place half the reblochon cheese all over. Sprinkle it with freshly ground melange of peppercorns - pink, green, white and black. Place all the prepared smashed potatoes  Place the remaining reblochon cheese. Pour the milk over. 

Bake for 35 minutes until golden and crusty on top. Serve immediately. 

Tips 

Substitute a sweet white wine like Muscato instead of the milk if you prefer.

While traditionally bacon is used in France it can be substituted with duck, or smoked turkey bacon or a smoked sausage as a variation. 

Garlic scrapes are these tube like garlic which grow before the bulbs. They are fairly hard, hold their shape when cooked and pungent to the taste. The tips both at the top and the bottom are tough and can be discarded.

in season fresh green garlic can be substituted. Alternatively simply rub a clove of garlic all over the serving dish before adding the rest of the ingredients.


My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Veal and Swiss cheese stew

 The Swiss enjoy a cuisine that includes a variety of milk, butter, cheese and meats - veal being a favourite preparation. Often cooked in a simple sauce prepared with stock/broth and finished with milk and cheese. This is served up as a stew or as an accompaniment to a veal escalope. 

I still recall the velvety sauce I had years ago in the alps off Zurich in a small mountain town. The food is simple, the ingredients always pristine makes the flavours pleasing to the palate. 

Similar to the traditional Zurcher Geschnetzeltes, I was inspired to try this out after watching a tv show by the Cheese Boutique in Toronto,  I share my own  creation of how I remember it.









Serves 6

1.5 lb / 650 gm veal, cubed or sliced + a veal bone

oil

salt to taste

water

12 pickled onions

3 tsp butter + 3 tbsp flour  mixed together to resemble crumbs (or cornstarch that has been mixed in a little water)

3 oz whole milk 

3 oz hard cheese like gruyere or pick your own that is nutty, sweet and flavourful

optional

vegetables of choice, mushrooms, onions, carrots, parsnips.

a splash of wine

freshly ground black pepper

sprinkle of mustard


In a pan heat a tbsp of oil, caramelise the veal bone, turn it all over,  will take about 10 minutes. Add a splash of water, add the rest of the meat. Sprinkle with salt. Add the water. Bring it to a boil, cover, lower the heat and cook until tender. About 45 minutes to an hour. Adding the pickled onions for 10 minutes at the end will infuse the flavour but stay firm.

Allow this to cool slightly.

Remove the meat and onion. Return the pot with the prepared broth/stock and add the crumbs of butter and flour and milk. Whisking it in to ensure it all amalgamates, bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Add the cheese and melt that in to prepare the cheese sauce to a wonderful smooth creamy and can coat the back of the spoon. Allow it to boil until the consistency reaches your desired thickness.

Return the meat, onion and any other vegetable.

Bring to a boil, serve with garlic bread.

Tips 

Add any other vegetable to the pot of meat for the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking time.

Fresh pasta like Tagiatelle or paparadelle is an option. 




My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.









Greek Lamb in red wine

 Greek Lamb in red wine


Stews can never be replicated. 

The best ones are prepared from what one has in the fridge on the day off.

Here is one we all loved this afternoon that I wanted to share. Use any vegetable that you enjoy - The three main ingredients in this recipe are the beautiful lamb shanks, seasoning like the oregano and fresh mint and the dollop of goat cheese. 






Serves 2

In a dash of oil 

Braise 2 lamb shanks till brown and caramelised all over. Sprinkle some salt over it. Sprinkle a tablespoon of oregano fresh or dry.

Add two cups of roughly diced red onions, and add it to the hot sizzling pot of lamb. Allow it to cook for a few minutes and then stir. gently start adding the red wine, one tablespoon at a time. You are still trying to caramelise the onion. Once done, pour the 3 cups of red wine all in. 3 cups of boiling hot water.

Bring to a boil, cover and cook on a slow simmer for an hour.

Add three large peeled potatoes. whole.

9 black olives

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp of goat cheese ( or feta )

a few pickled asparagus or fresh, 

3 cornichons

2 small carrots

a bunch of fresh mint

a courgette

Continue cooking, covered on a slow flame for another hour or until the meat falls of the bone. 

Serve with a Horiatiki - Greek Salad made up of tomatoes, cucumber, onion, crostini, olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and oregano. Adding a piece of feta and crumbling it into the tossed salad completes it. Optionally add some fresh mint.

 A chickpea and soft cheese dip pairs well with this lamb dish. 


        Warm chickpeas smashed with a fresh cheese called Topli nu                Paneer silky home made cheese made with full cream buffalo milk. Drizzled with olive oil, olives and fresh mint. 


My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.


Thursday, 16 September 2021

Schezwan Sichuan Schezuan Prawn

 Schezwan Sichuan Schezuan Prawn


As the name suggests these popular type of prawns belong to the Schezwan Sichuan Schezuan regional cuisine of China.

With the Sichuan peppercorn famously added to heighten the spice levels, one should toast the peppercorn before grinding it to get the vibrant flavour. 

1 tablespoon of this peppercorn will equal about 1 teaspoon of the powder.




                                 
Serves 6

2 lb/1 kg clean washed shelled prawns
4 tbsp soya sauce
2 tsp sesame oil

Marinate and leave aside for 15 minutes
 
Heat the wok with oil
 
Coat the prawns with 
1/2 cup cornstarch/cornflour- you can use plain flour if preferred
1/4 tsp salt
Cook the shrimp few at a time until just cooked. 3 minutes. 
Remove and drain.

The Sauce
In a pan heat together - cook until fragrant, keep tossing. Add the liquid, bring to heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Keep aside until you are ready to serve. Reheat the sauce and pour over freshly cooked prawns.  

1 tbsp oil
12 finely cut green spring onions - keep some of the greens to decorate with later
8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp of finely chopped ginger in shoestring or 1 tbsp finely chopped
16 dry red long chillies
5 tbsp soya sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp shaoxing wine or rice wine or sake or sherry

Toss in the cooked prawns and sprinkle with 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn powder
Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with the greens of the shallots.

Tips


Add an extra teaspoon of Schezuan pepper if you enjoy the flavour. 

Use only as much sauce as required to pour over.


If you are using green onions an additional 3 sliced/diced shallots adds to the texture of the sauce.

Add an extra teaspoon of schezuan pepper if you enjoy the flavour. 

Serve immediately as it is hard to reheat. 
 


Photo courtesy Fazilah Vajid


My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Crêpes Suzette

Crêpes Suzette

A classic from the 1800's in France its origins are debated. I would like to believe the most romantic story - of the one where chef Henri Charpentier erroneously lit up the liquor while he was about to serve the Prince of Wales. Left with no choice but to serve the dessert he proceeded with confidence to present this "flambéed" dish! later on when he was asked the name of this delicacy he said Crepes Princess. A young girl Suzette seated at the table requested the Prince to rename it after her instead - hence the creation of Crêpes Suzette. The one questionable fact in the story remains unanswered - Henri was 14 years old at this time, was he serving the Prince?

This dish remains a classic. Not much has changed over the years in its ingredients. 

Growing up we had it on special occasions and continue to enjoy it to this day. 






Crepes 10

1 cup sifted flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp melted butter

2 eggs - well beaten to a froth

Beat the eggs first and keep aside.

Mix the rest of the ingredients until smooth and add the eggs to it. Stir and let it rest for 30 minutes to thicken.

Heat a skillet. Pour 1/10th of the batter. Swirl the pan and allow it to cook for 40 seconds. Flip. Wait for 30 seconds and flip it over on a flat plate. Repeat. 

Once all the crepes are done, fold each one into four quarters.  Keep aside.


For the Beurre Suzette - orange sauce

3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

4 oz butter

5 tbsp sugar - or more to taste

pinch of salt

1 orange sliced 

3 tbsp liquor - grand mariner, rum or cognac

In a large skillet melt the sugar and bring to a boil all the ingredients except the liquor. Cook this on a simmer for 30 minutes until it thickens and feels sticky. 

Add the liquor. Place half the crepes into the pan and boil for 3 minutes. 

Serve in plates. Repeat with the rest of the crepes.

Tips

The "sweeter" the butter in nature the tastier this dish is. Salted butter is my personal preference.

The best oranges to use are kinoo, narangi, clementine and mandarin. 

A little tartness helps enhance the flavour of this recipe. 

Traditionally Grand Mariner and Triple Sec or Cointreau  - orange liquors are used.

Flambe` the 3rd tablespoon of liquor if you wish to light up the pan. To do that you will need to heat the metal spoon, pour the liquor into it and light it. quickly pour the liquid over the skillet and it should alight. The already added liquor will catch the flame!

You must be careful while you do the flambe`. 

1. Measure the liquor our in a glass. DO NOT pour directly from the bottle.

2. Stand away from the pan. Do not try this with young children in the room.

3. Keep a lid handy to cover the pan in an emergency. 



My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.