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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Holiday Season brings out the desire to bake cookies. I love to turn the music up loud and dance to the jingles while enjoying the aromas of some amazing cookies and biscuits being prepared. The house smells wonderful too.
There are probably a hundred types of Chocolate Chip Cookies to pick from!
Here is one that I share that I grew up with. Our family has been baking and enjoying these since before I was even born. It is fool proof and simple to make. My girls started their love of baking with this very recipe. They  continue to be the choice each time they want something quickly to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee with their friends coming over.
I hope you all will share some pictures with us over these next few weeks as you prepare them for your school, office gifts or just to share at home. 

A back of the cookie and the fronts of them too!

4 oz/125gm / 1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup brown sugar 
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup broken walnut pieces
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Cream together with an electric beater, the soft butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 3 to 5 minutes, Add the egg and let it beat another minute. Add the vanilla.
On the slowest speed add the flour spoon it in until just folded in. Do not over beat.
Stop the machine. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips. The batter will be thick and sticky.

Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the cookies on to the sheets with the help of two spoons, about 2 fingers apart. Should make about 28 -32 small cookies.
Bake in a preheated oven of 375F/ 190C for about 15 minutes until golden brown. They should be slightly soft and chewy.

Keep ample space between the cookies as they will spread while baking. Cool completely and store them in an airtight container to remain fresh.
Use the chocolate chip of your choice, white, milk, dark etc. If you do not have access to chocolate chips cut small pieces from a bar of your favourite chocolate.

Walnuts can be substituted for pecans or macadamia nuts.

White and brown sugar can be mixed or interchanged.
Sift the flour twice to make it perfect.

Use a large egg if possible.

For more holiday recipes try this perfect Menu
Niloufer's Kitchen : Winter from

Saturday, 21 November 2015

French Toast

Simply French Toast ?

Adopted by France from Medieval Europe, this bread and egg recipe is set to date back to the 4th century where it is mentioned in the Apicius the oldest inscribed collection of Latin recipes! At the time white bread was only for the rich and prepared for Royalty; referred to aliter dulcia or just another sweet.

Now during the 14th century Taillevent (born Guillame Tirel), a cook in the royal court of France wrote the first official cookery book and mentions the "golden toast" in it. He was later recognised as a culinary genius of sorts.

While in the 15th century the French referred to it as pain perdu (perdue) the literal meaning being a lost sentinel! But in reality it referred to the stale bread which should not be lost or wasted. 

Fast forward to the 1900's when it was once again revived to glory during the days of the World War. A time when food rations were acute and stale bread was reused in this very popular way. The Austrian and Germans called it Pavese; representing the "shield" used in battle.

The Spanish have their very own 'French Toast' called Torrija/Torreja very similar in concept and yet the olive oil and spices mark the difference. 

Still fairly popular in Europe, diners in North America and in other parts of the world it has seen much transformation and adaptation. It seems to have started off as being a sop - dipped in milk and fried; to be served with game meat. Moving on to an egg bread and now a delicacy for breakfast, brunch and tea offered with a variety of combinations from deli meats, to cream and jams, fresh fruit platters, fried eggs or just simple maple syrup.

This is my daughter Nasha's concoction which she loves to prepare for her friends since Uni days. She has perfected it and shares it for all to try.

Sticky and moist, delicious French Toast with maple syrup  spiced with cardamom

6 slices brioche bread

1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup + more to drizzle on
dash of salt
1/4 tsp each of cardamom and nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp salted butter to fry in

Beat the egg and add the ingredients. Mix it well.
Heat a skillet and add half the butter. 
Dip 3 slices of bread into the mixture. one at a time and pan fry it. Turn just once, allow it to cook through.  Repeat, with the other 3 slices.  This should take  about 3 minutes on each side on a medium heat. Serve it warm with maple syrup and fruit.


If Brioche bread is not available use any stale white bread. 
The brioche is an egg bread with a slight sweetness to it. It adds to the amazing flavour of this very simple dish. 
Use a mix or singularly the spice of your choice. Cardamom and nutmeg blend rather well. Cinnamon being another option.

For more recipes  Niloufer's Kitchen: French Bistro from

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Francesinha/Portuguese club sandwich

The Francesinha
The Portuguese Club Sandwich.

Legend has it that  Daniel Da Silva a local Portuguese having returned from France and Belgium missed his Croque Monsieur sandwiches. He decided to make a Portuguese version of this traditional French sandwich with locally available ingredients.  His creativity led to what we now know as the Francesinha or the Little Frenchie. It is also lovingly referred to as Frankie; Not to be mixed up with India's famous street food also called Frankie; a wrap with delicious spicy fillings of meat, chicken or vegetables named Kathi rolls that were predominantly named Frankie by the European Colonisers.

The gravy of the Francesinha is quite unique. Most restaurants serving  Francesinha prepare their own secret recipe which ranks the place popular or not! It is natural that every Francesinha will taste a little bit different depending on the person cooking, but nevertheless it's always a wonderful experience to eat like a local. Porto in Portugal is the place most popular for this delicacy. 
Popularity of this sandwich over the decades has made it available  with different fillings. You can find it with shrimps and vegetables as well as simple hot dogs dunked in gravy, which are more popular at food stands in game arenas.

The Francesinha, adapted from the French sandwich Croque Monsieur

For The Gravy

The gravy recipes is made up to suit your personal taste from hot to mild. However the basic recipe will need the following. 

1 tbsp brown sugar
2 medium Onions
3 cloves fresh Garlic 
125gm/4 oz of bacon cut in very small pieces
salt to taste
1 dry bay leaf
6 tbsp Tomato paste
3/4 cup  Vino Verde
1/4 cup each of port, whisky and cognac
1 cup beer
1 cup of chicken stock mixed with 1 tbsp of corn starch/cornflour

Optionally: A few dashes of Piri Piri sauce.

In a deep pot heat the sugar and caramelise the onions with the bacon pieces. Chop and add the garlic and a dash of salt.  Stir in the tomato paste. Pour in all the liquids and the bay leaf. Stir and bring it to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for at least 45 minutes. Now remove the bay leaf. With a blender pulverise the sauce to a thick gravy. It is generally quite smooth and passed through a seive. Add a few dashes of Piri Piri to make it spicy if you like.

To make a traditional Francesinha sandwich you will need the Linguica sausage with its wonderful flavors, slices of roasted pork, sweet ham,a minute steak, a slice of cheese, preferably a queijo. Topped with the gravy and a fried egg. Some serve it with fries over the gravy; similar to the Poutine in Canada.

For 6 sandwiches

6 eggs

12 thick slices of bread
6 thick slices of Queijo cheese
6 thick slices of roast pork
6 thick slices of honey roast ham
optionally 6 flat lightly salted minute steaks, pan-fried for a minute on each side on a nob of butter.

Toast the bread and 
layer one slice of each cheese, pork and ham on the bread top with the second toast.
Grill it on both sides on a hot skillet, pressing it down. Place each of the sandwiches on a plate. 
Fry the eggs. Pour a ladle each of warm gravy over each sandwich and place an egg on top of each one.
Optionally add a large slice of cheese over the toasted sandwich before pouring the gravy and egg!! It will melt down to the sides.
Serve immediately.

This quantity will make a lot of gravy. It can freeze  well. 
Save in batches according to your requirements.
Vino Verde is a local wine.
The Quijeo is a local Portuguese cheese which is made on the island of Azores. It has a variety of the same name and the one used for this dish is closest to a semi soft cheese that can be sliced and melts well. Edam or your personal may be the best substitute for this cheese. I would pick the horseradish cheddar for myself.

For other recipes from Niloufer's Kitchen download

Niloufer'sKitchen: Spanish Tapas
Niloufer's Kitchen: French Bistro

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Macaroon Cup Cake

Macaroon Cup Cakes

The subtle taste of almond and butter makes these cup cakes different from most others I have tried. Growing up we had these as treats prepared only on very special occasions for they are a true labour of love. The  idea of this has been taken from the original recipe which may have been from the late 1950's; now tweaked and changed.

A  perfect mix between a pastry and a cake;  in fact it is a bit of both!
You first cream and prepare the base of the cake. Drop it into a cupcake/muffin pan (which is properly greased with butter) making it into the shape of a "cup" with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate to harden these while you make the filling. Spoon in the creamed almond mixture in the  prepared "cups" and bake.
Its simply delicious when eaten fresh and warm with a cup of coffee. Hard to resist?

Almond filling centered cup cake

In a bowl cream together
 8oz / 250gm /1 cup butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 extra large egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
Fold in
2 cups twice sifted flour

1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

Divide this into 24 greased muffin pans, leaving a dip to fill,

In a bowl beat until very light and fluffy
2 extra large eggs

Gradually add to this with the beater running
3/4 cup sugar
Now gently fold in
2 cups finely grated  peeled almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Drop into the 24 prepared cup cake bases.

Bake in a preheated oven of 325F /160C for 25 minutes.
The tops must be lightly coloured to be cooked through.

Cool for 15 minutes and remove each cup cake, lifting it gently with a butter knife.
Best eaten warm and fresh. Store in an airtight box for up to 3 days.


Keep the cupcake/muffin pan well greased with butter.
Use the back of the spoon to make the outer layer stick to the base and walls of the muffin pan. It is sticky like dough and may take some patience to get it all done. To make it simpler keep a bowl of hot water to dip the spoon into while working on the base.
Fold in the almonds into the eggs for the filling with a large metal spoon.
Peeled and grated almonds are available readily in most supermarkets and Indian stores.
Make sure the eggs and butter are at room temperature before starting.
Preheat the oven when you begin preparations.

For more recipes from Niloufer's Kitchen click on

Niloufer's Kitchen: Winter from

Friday, 6 November 2015

Green Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney

The key to a perfect green coconut chutney is the balance of the Holy Trinity of Parsi Cooking, Tikhu-Khatu-Mithu ( Spicy-Sour-Sweet). It is easy to prepare and is used in many dishes like the Patra Ni Machi, Chutney and Fish Pastry Roll,  Ribbon Rice, sandwiches and many more recipes.

Enjoy my version from Niloufer's Kitchen.

Ingredients to make your Green Chutney

Makes approximately 2 cups Chutney

1 cup desiccated coconut
1 ½ cups of coriander leaves; packed tightly
2 tbsp jaggery
6 green chillies
½ tsp salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 green peeled mangoes
10 fresh mint leaves


In an electric grinder/food processor or blender; grind till fine and smooth the desiccated coconut. Then add the rest of the ingredients in order green chillies, salt, coriander leaves, salt, diced mangoes, mint leaves and lemon juice. Taste for the salt, the heat from the chillies, the sourness and the sweetness. Balance must be perfect to suit your palate.  


Prepare ahead of time and freeze. It will stay for up to 1 month.
Defrost for 24 hours in your fridge. 
Texture of the chutney must be as smooth as possible. This will depend on your grinder and the coconut. 

For more recipes from Niloufer's Kitchen click
Niloufer's Kitchen Quick and Easy available from

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Chutney Fish Pastry Roll.

Chutney and Fish in Pastry Roll

A wonderful party dish. This is a fusion of Parsi Food westernised. The sharpness and tangy chutney pops this recipe.  Try it out in different ways. Fill up smaller vol au vents, and present it individually if you prefer.  Each Roll will serve 8 persons generously. 

As individual servings, open style?

Perfect for larger groups at a buffet table,
(This roll has not been overturned. hence the seam is visible)

Preparing and Poaching Fish

1 lb/1/2kg  fillet of fish, thick fish works easier.
Apply a mix of 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp vinegar all over it.

Now poach the fish for a minute or two in

1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 chopped small onion
1 slit green chillie
1 small chopped tomato

Remove from the water and flake the fish in large pieces and keep aside.

The Tomato Sauce
Mix together
1/4 cup of the fish liquid
1 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp flour 
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp brown sugar 
1/2 tsp chillie powder
Mix  this well and cook it on the stove top till it comes to a boil. Allow this to boil for a full minute to ensure the flour is cooked through. It should be thick and shiny. Yets soft enough to apply over the fish.

Coconut Chutney

1 cup desiccated coconut
1 ½ cups of coriander leaves; packed tightly
2 tbsp jaggery
6 green chillies
½ tsp salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 green peeled mangoes
10 fresh mint leaves


In an electric grinder/food processor or blender; grind till fine and smooth the desiccated coconut. Then add the rest of the ingredients in order green chillies, salt, coriander leaves, salt, diced mangoes, mint leaves and lemon juice. Taste for the salt, the heat from the chillies, the sourness and the sweetness. Balance must be perfect.  

Assembling the Puff Pastry

Roll out 1 lb/450gms of puff pastry, into two sheets on a parchment paper. 

Leaving an inch or two all around the pastry apply  half the chutney over the pastry. Place  half the fish in the center lengthwise, pour  half the tomato sauce over the fish part only. Then fold the short sides of the pastry on to the fish, next take the bottom part of the pastry over the fish and  lastly bring down the top of the pastry  just over the bottom part of the pastry to seal and fold properly.
Gently push it over to turn the "seam side" down. Make a slit on top  and glaze the top portion going down the sides. It can be any of the 3 methods, an egg wash, plain milk or  a spoonful of left over cream.  Place the parchment paper with the roll on to a large baking tray. Bake in a hot oven of 400F/200C for 35 minutes until cooked and golden brown.
This is best served freshly baked from the oven.


DO NOT over cook the fish while poaching. This is just to ensure the fish does not remain raw and help to flake it into pieces to fill the puff pastry. The vinegar  helps keeps the fish firm and the rest  of the ingredients in the poaching water give it a taste  to avoid the fish to taste like "boiled " fish.

Slice it with pizza cutter for clean cutting.

Keeping a parchment paper at the bottom makes it simpler to handle it before and after baking. It will easily slide on to your platter to serve.

For more recipes from Niloufer's Kitchen click

photo courtesy
Kainaaz R Patell
Yazad Parakh

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Pineapple Upside Down.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

An old classic with a new twist. It looks like its Van Gogh's birthday here and the art credit goes to a friend across the seas who is truly an amazing lady and ever so obliging. You can use any 10 inch/ 25cms pan you like, round, square or even a specially manufactured one in the shape of a flower!
You can use Peaches or Apricots if you prefer. Fresh or canned pineapple, both are fine. Use Marischino cherries if you want to add colour. Walnuts if you want to add texture. The choice is yours.
Design the bottom of the pan as best you like as it will be the top of the cake when you turn it upside down!!

Wonder if it is Picasso or Van Gogh celebrating a birthday?

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C

For the Base you need
1/3 cup melted salted Butter
1/2 cup sugar
12 rings of Pineapple
About 15 pieces of walnuts

For the Cake
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 /2 tsp salt
2/3rd cup pineapple juice plus 2 tsp vanilla essence

Step 1
In the cake pan itself, 
melt  the sugar over a low stove top until caramelised to a nice golden amber.
Pour the butter all over and twisting pan around to ensure it has reached all over.
Decorate with pineapples and walnuts. Keep aside.

Step 2

With an electric beater whip the eggs until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Slowly add the sugar, lower the setting of the beater to the lowest. Gently fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, salt. Alternate this with the fruit juice and vanilla.

Gently pour it over the ready fruit and caramel in the pan. Give it a slight shake and put it into the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Test with a skewer for it to be clean. Do not go all the way down to test.
The cake will also be beginning to leave the sides of the pan.
Remove from the oven and wait for 3 minutes. Place a large platter over the cake and turn it upside down. Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the juices to all come down well. Keep it in a warm dry place rather than in a draft at this time.
Tastes best when fresh. Serve it with fresh cream or ice cream.

If the cake has not left the sides, run a flat butter knife before you turn it over.

If you do not have enough juices left over from a fresh pineapple substitute it for any juice like orange, lemon a mix of it, do not omit the exact liquid quantity.

For more delicious cakes download,
Niloufer's Kitchen: Persian Fusion

Photo credit Kainaaz R Patell.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Fish Curry ~ Parsi Food

  • Parsi Fish Curry

  • Parsi Food loves their curry, specially the fish or prawn one. Traditionally it must be with bone-on fish. My personal preference is having a whole fish as it adds to the flavour. The Western world however tends to eats fish fillets and many are squeamish when served with a whole fish! Here I share my curry recipe with salmon fillets. 

Smooth, deep and delicious the Parsi fish curry is hard to beat!

  • 1kg/2lbs fish
  • 1 cup desiccated or freshly scraped Coconut
  • 6 large flat dry red chilles
  • 1 whole pod of fresh peeled garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp corriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 12 curry patta/ leaves
  • 2  slit green chillies
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh tomato puree
  •  1 tsp tamarind paste or kokum paste

  • Grind together until fine, the coconut and red chillies. Now add the onion, garlic, sugar, salt and the corriander and cumin powders with the vinegar to make into a paste.

  •  In a pan heat a tsp of oil and add turmeric curry patta/ leaves and the green chillies.

  • Gently stir for a minute and add the curry paste. 

  • Now add the water. Mix well, bring it to a boil, cover. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Now add the fresh pureed tomatoes and the tamarind or kokum. Cover again and cook for another 30 minutes on a very low steam. 

  • Add the fish and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Cover and close the stove. Let it rest for 10 minutes and serve with freshly boiled steaming hot rice.

  • Tips

  • Substitute 1 cup of coconut water for water if you wish. 
  • If you cannot get tamarind or kokum use the juice of one fresh lemon or lime.
  • 2 tsp of chillie powder equals the 6 large flat dry chilles, however the chillies do give the colour and flavour.
  • Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk to make it creamier.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Thanksgiving Cake.

Thanksgiving Cake

Autumn is festive for many reasons. The leaves changing colours to beautiful hues of orange and yellows, the weather bringing out our coats, scarves, boots and gloves!! Foods are seasonal too. Fall also means time for a fresh crop of dry fruits and nuts, apples, oranges and pears in fresh abundance everywhere and time to think of the "Autumn Warmers"  like soups, Pies and Baked puddings!

Here is a wonderful cake to share which gives our souls a warm glow. Have it with a cup of steaming coffee or tea, or serve it as a dessert with whipped cream, custard or even ice cream. Caramelised apples or pears and even oranges compliments this cake beautifully. Glazing it with maple syrup is just another option. Happy Thanksgiving Canada.  

Beat together until light and fluffy
8oz/225gm soft butter
2 cups sugar

add 2 eggs, one at a time and continue beating

Lower the speed of the beater to the lowest and add 

Dry ingredients
Sieve together
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of 2 oranges

1 1/2 cups broken walnuts

Wet ingredients
1 cup cream with 1/2 lemon freshly squeezed. Stir it rapidly with a tsp for 1 minute to make it slightly thicker, 
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp grand marnier; You may use Cointreau, Drambuie or Whisky if you prefer.

Tip To add the dry and wet ingredients, alternate both, always starting and ending with the dry. 

Prepare a 10 cup bundt pan,  well buttered and floured.

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C, pour the batter inside the pan and bake for about 50 minutes. Test the cake with a skewer to ensure it is clean before removing from the oven.
Let it cool for 5 minutes and over turn the cake on your serving platter.

Serve with whipped cream or cream cheese.
If you wish to glaze it, Mix 2 tsbp butter, 2 tbsp maple syrup and 2 tbsp icing sugar. It should be thick enough to be a paste, yet soft enough to drizzle with a spoon. 

For more cake recipes click
Niloufer's Kitchen: Persian Fusion

Friday, 9 October 2015

Apple & Cheese Turnover

Apple and Cheese Turnover

Any pastry folded over fruit is a turnover ; generally made individually.
This is a tad different. The combination of cheese and apple is always perfect. It adds creaminess to the whole dessert. 
An autumn fruit, apples are cooked and prepared in many ways. Strudels, apple crisps, turnovers, apple pies, crumble, muffins and cakes. In Italy they prepare croissant and doughnuts with fresh fruit home made jams like apple, peach and apricot, all incredibly delicious.

Try this simple and impressive dessert for your family and friends. Enjoy it warm with a blob of fresh cold vanilla bean ice cream or plain fresh cream.

Warm apple and cheese filling in a puff pastry casing.

The puff pastry oozing with the cream cheese and apple moisture.
Served with ice cream or cream its yummy.

Puff Pastry;The filling is enough to make 2 rolls of approximately 8oz/225gms each of ready made frozen puff pastry block or rolled. Puff Pastry packets are generally sold in 17oz/475gms. But anything close enough is perfect.

12 ozs/ 375gms Cream Cheese of your choice
1/3 cup Icing Sugar or very fine sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence

3 large peeled and sliced fresh apples
3 tbsp sugar
lemon juice
pinch of salt

Whip the cream cheese with the fine sugar and vanilla essence. Divide in half and keep aside.

Peel and slice the apples, sprinkle it with sugar, salt and lemon juice. Divide in half and keep aside.

Roll out two puff pastry sheets on parchment paper approximately 13 x 9 in /33 x 22 cm

Now spread both the sheets evenly with the cream cheese mixture all over but do not go all the way to the corners.

Top it only in the center in a long line (horizontally across the 13in /33cm ) piling it up. The juices will run a bit, do not worry about it. To fold it up make a parcel. Start with the shorter sides and bring it over the apples. The fold the top half of the pastry over the apples, and finally the  bottom half to go over the top half so it  all seals well. Now gently roll it over so the seams are hidden and it all looks neat. Brush the raw pastry with either an egg wash, or cream or milk. This will beautifully glaze it once baked. With a pair of scissors snip an X in the spots. You may use a sharp knife and put 3 slits if you prefer. This is to allow the steam to escape while baking, preventing it from bursting.
Finally sprinkle a pinch of demerara sugar crystals all over. 

Bake in a preheated oven of 400F/200C for 22 minutes. It will puff up and be a golden brown. Allow five more minutes if it is not properly browned. Serve this immediately.


Make it your own by adding a sprinkle of either freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon or all spice over the apples. It is delicious.

Demerara Sugar is in soft and crystal forms. It is an option and not a necessity. It makes the final product look more professional.
Keep the pastry "cool" at all times. This will allow you to roll it out easier and not get stuck all over. Use a little dusting of flour on your rolling pin and parchment paper.
Pick hard, tart apples for best results.
A few extra slices of apples is better than less. remember the apples all shrink while cooking.
Slice the puff pastry with a pizza cutter. It keeps it neat and clean.
Cream cheese must be at room temperature to whip well.

For more amazing recipes download
Niloufer's Kitchen: Autumn Menu

Niloufer's Kitchen :Winter Menu