Tag

recipes

Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping “Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”
Jo Brand

Moist, dark and absolutely delicious are words enough to describe this Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping. The base is a simple chocolate genoise sponge, layered with a low fat whipped cream. The top is a brown sugar meringue topped with slivered almonds, quite optional if you are torn for time, but it does add a lovely touch to the final look. The secret to the moist cake and whipping up low fat cream is melted, cooled clarified butter/ghee. This is my new favourite sponge recipe and my new favourite light buttercream.Eggs and chocolateIt’s been a busy last few months and I stare at a hungry blog. We’ve had a great food styling workshop just recently, packed to the gills, on one of the hottest days of the season. It was a LOT of work and planning, but it was all so worth it. The venue {Lodi – The Garden Restaurant, New Delhi}, the folk who attended, the food we ate and shot, was all great fun. A great learning experience too.Food Styling Workshop, The Lodi, New DelhiThen of course there is obsessive everyday shooting, something that keeps me so engrossed, I often lose track of time. Some work for others, some for myself, yet all a learning process. Add to that Sunday Stills where I join Simi as she shoots stills. Pitcher #sundaystillsAmaltasThe Masala Dabba with Dolphia has fallen prey to procrastination but I will get back there soon since spices is what I enjoy shooting a lot! Gundu Chilies from Karaikudi

Masala Dabba, spices

The Masala Dabba #2Getting back to baking and this wonderful cake, here’s something I recently discovered. I often find a lot of folk these days baking out of a box and frosting the cake with ready made cream,  ingredients loaded with preservatives, enhancers, emulsifiers and what not. Read the label and you’ll figure out. Baking  or cooking ‘from scratch’ conjures up images of cooking with fresh ingredients and lovingly preparing meals. Boxed meals emphasize just the convenience. Add a few ingredients and then you’re done. Making a cake from scratch gives you control over the quality of the ingredients, also allowing for a bit more creativity. Wholewheat Dark Chocolate Fudgy Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting 3 1000 1Creativity and experimenting go hand in hand. The revelation that I could use clarified butter / ghee instead of normal butter has made life really simple for me. The recipes need to be adapted a little here and there, but the huge plus is that clarified butter stays good on the shelf for long. You don’t need to melt and cool in summer as it doesn’t set hard at warm temperatures. The convenience of use is indescribable in weather like we have here these days at 45C! That’s how I got the low fat 20%  cream to whip up so I could pipe it.  Wholewheat Dark Chocolate Fudgy Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting 2 1000 1Worked each time but once when it was really really hot and humid. Whip chilled low fat cream to medium soft peaks at a high speed. Then drizzle in about a teaspoon of cool melted clarified butter / ghee for every 100ml of cream and continue to whip at high speed, you will notice the cream gradually firming up and holding shape. This is because you’re putting the fat back into low fat cream. I have also seen this works better with the ‘Go’ brand of fresh cream as compared to ‘Amul’ {in India}. Do let me know if it works for you!Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping Well everyone can’t ‘do it from scratch’, and even though additives etc are often considered part of the package when it comes to boxed meals, it really doesn’t have to be. Interestingly enough, at least one company thought that way. San Francisco-based food tech company Hampton Creek offers a new take on shelf-ready foods, striving to take out additives and other unnatural ingredients from common, off-the-shelf goods. For eg, their premade cookie dough doesn’t contain common additives, is an eggless dough mix that is also dairy-free. Baking from a box or a premade mix can be as mouth-watering as a meal made from scratch; guess you need to know what to look for.

Until then, here’s my Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping Cake!

Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping
Print Recipe
Moist, dark and absolutely delicious are words enough to describe this Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping. The base is a simple chocolate genoise sponge, layered with a low fat whipped cream. The top is a brown sugar meringue topped with slivered almonds, quite optional if you are torn for time, but it does add a lovely touch to the final look. The secret to the moist cake and whipping up the cream is melted, cooled clarified butter/ghee. This is my new favourite sponge recipe.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping
Print Recipe
Moist, dark and absolutely delicious are words enough to describe this Dark Chocolate Layered Cake with Almond Meringue Topping. The base is a simple chocolate genoise sponge, layered with a low fat whipped cream. The top is a brown sugar meringue topped with slivered almonds, quite optional if you are torn for time, but it does add a lovely touch to the final look. The secret to the moist cake and whipping up the cream is melted, cooled clarified butter/ghee. This is my new favourite sponge recipe.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
Chocolate Genoise Sponge 1
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line the sides and bottom of 2 8" spring-form round tin with parchment. {I have just 1 tin and an oven that fits only 1 cake at a time. I kept the parchment ready while the first sponge baked}
  2. Place 4 eggs and 1 egg yolk in the bowl of the stand mixer with 125g brown sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk on high speed until light, very mousse like and tripled in volume, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt 2 times. Reserve.
  4. Place cooled clarified butter in a medium sized bowl. reserve.
  5. Once the eggs are whisked and mousse like, sift over 1/3 of the flour/cocoa mix and gently stir in in figure 8 moves so that the beaten air doesn't escape. Repeat 2 more times.
  6. Take about a cup of this batter and fold into bowl with melted ghee to loosed the mixture. Now turn this batter back into main batter and gently mix through taking care not to release the beaten air.
  7. Turn into prepared tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes, untl a pick inserted comes out clean.
Chocolate Genoise Sponge 2
  1. Repeat as above, turn into prepared tin and top with brown sugar meringue spreading gently and uniformly with an offset spatula. Scatter slivered almonds over and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until a pick inserted comes out clean.
Brown sugar meringue
  1. Whisk the egg whites with brown sugar on high speed to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
Frosting and filling
  1. Place chilled cream, icing sugar, clarified butter in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk at highest speed for 7-9 minutes until stiff peaks form. Adjust sweetness if required.
Assemble
  1. Gently cut each cake into two horizontal layers. They will be very moist and delicate.
  2. Place one layer on the cake platter, top with about 1 cup of whipped cream, spread evenly. Repeat with remaining 3 layers. Frost the sides of the cake with remaining frosting, maybe pipe a border around.
Share this Recipe

The Masala Dabba #4, our spice journey“Chili, spice of red Thursday, which is the day of reckoning. Day which invites us to pick up the sack of our existence and shake it inside out. Day of suicide, day of murder.”
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, The Mistress of Spices

Time for The Masala Dabba #4 & Chettinad Chicken Curry. Both very delayed yet finally here. This time I’m lagging behind royally. Chilies was the pick for the month of April, and we’re well into May now June.  I can’t say I didn’t try because I began writing this in May, but life happened! One month ran into another, time racing at an alarming pace. It was just yesterday, in January 2016, when we began the spice journey. June already! Really? Where did April and May go?Chilies from Karaikudi

Chettinad Chicken Curry Only me to blame even as I thought April was going to be the most explosive spice journey ever as Dolphia picked chilies. Just back refreshed from a very exciting trip from down south in Karaikudi {do read about it here}, chilies was all I had on my mind. The vibrancy of the region we had just visited added to it. Heritage, colour, culture, architecture, art, cuisine, shopping…Karaikudi, Chettinad, South IndiaAs I rather belatedly enter month #4 of our collaborative spice journey exploring or rather ‘shooting’ spices, a fun interaction with Dolphia, Simi, Meeta and me, April was for chilies. I really love the spice journey and the stories it carries with it. Personal tales, heritage recipes, travelogues and all sorts of inspiration that connect us as community. My story this time comes from Karaikudi, a region deep in the heart of South India.Karaikudi, Chettinad, South IndiaOur stay at Chidambara Vilas, then a masterclass on world famous Chettinad Chicken Curry, stops at other heritage properties in the region and local market jaunts,  that included shopping for guntu chilies, inspires this post. Not least, my companions in crime, the two vegetarian bloggers Sanjeeta and Madhuli, who were more than ready to dive into chicken curry as the chef stirred it up, chilies and all!Gundu Chilies from Karaikudi This is just what Chettinad cuisine is all about, freshness and simple local flavour. Pure delight – the aromas of whole spices and shallots hitting hot oil, the curry leaves crackling, the colours, fresh simple ingredients, the location an outdoor heritage courtyard kitchen, the company, the curry! Sunset, Chidambaram Vilas, Karaikudi, Chettinad, South IndiaThe women of the Chettinad community were instrumental to managing the vast estates and running kitchens, often while the men were away. {More about the region here}. Easily available local spices and ingredients, traditional cooking methods and a deep interest in food led to a vast repertoire of recipes collectively called Chettinad cuisine. Chettinad Chicken Curry, Masterclass @ Chidambara Vilas, KaraikudiChettinad chicken is the regions most popular export to the culinary world, and it was nowhere fiery and spicy as I believed. A traditional recipe, it’s made with very basic ingredients. Spice mixes from roasted spices, ginger, garlic, shallots, tomatoes, curry leaves and coconut paste. Red chilies of course! Chilies from Karaikudi Shooting spices is therapeutic, inspiring and always fun. I mean, can you not fall in love with an ingredient that promises so much colour, character, variety and texture? Consider the fact that there are as many uses as varieties around the world and the charm multiplies! I’m thinking chili chocolate. Mmmm…Chilies from KaraikudiCooking curry is equally therapeutic and fun. You just need a basic recipe in your head, then go about throwing in as much spice, or as little, as you like. Taste as you go. I do loads of North Indian chicken curries at home, so this authentic South Indian one was even more engaging. Chettinad Chicken Curry Of course I deviated here and there. Bay leaves tossed in, fresh mint tossed over. That’s just the charm of curries. Follow your palate.Chettinad Chicken Curry

Chettinad Chicken Curry
Print Recipe
Chettinad Chicken Curry; mildly hot, tangy and finger licking good. Simple basic pantry staples and a coconut paste ​​make for a hearty good curry. This is my rendition of the curry we learnt at the masterclass.
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Chettinad Chicken Curry
Print Recipe
Chettinad Chicken Curry; mildly hot, tangy and finger licking good. Simple basic pantry staples and a coconut paste ​​make for a hearty good curry. This is my rendition of the curry we learnt at the masterclass.
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
750g chicken on the bone, cut into 12 pieces {skinless}
Spice 1 / Dry mix
1 tsp ginger paste
Spice 2 / Coconut paste
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. First make the spice mixes. These can be doubled, and/or made in advance. Store the dry mic=x in a cool place, and the wet mix in the fridge for 2-3 days, else freeze.
  2. Spice mix 1 / Dry mix
  3. Roast the fennel, cumin seeds, red chili, coriander seeds and pepper gently over low heat until fragrant. Dry grind. Reserve in bowl.
  4. Spice mix 2 / Coconut paste
  5. Roast the cashew nuts, coriander seeds, cumin, red chilies, fennel and black pepper gently over low heat until fragrant. Grind to a smooth paste with ginger, garlic and grated coconut. Reserve.
  6. Heat the oil in large heavy bottom pan or wok. Add cinnamon stick, star anise and fennel, followed by curry leaves. Give it a good stir and add the shallots. Sauté until the shallots are golden brown and fragrant.
  7. Add Spice Mix 1 {dry masala mix}, ginger paste, chopped tomatoes, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Stir well and cook until the tomatoes are soft, stirring once in a while.
  8. Add the chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the spices, followed by crushed garlic. Add a little water, about a cup, stir well, season with salt and simmer until the chicken is cooked.
  9. Now stir in the coconut paste or Spice Mix 2, fresh coriander. Garnish with fresh coriander {or mint as I did}
  10. Serve hot with rice or chapatis, paratha, naan, tandoori roti etc.
Share this Recipe

Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake ... Mooz Formaggio, local artisan cheese at its best“Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Triple Cheese Moozberry Cheesecake must be one of the best cheesecakes I have made. Ever. And I have made many over the years, almost all with homemade quark, and they’ve all been special. Yet this one turned out to be even better. It baked up perfectly, has a mix of 3 soft cheeses in it, and the most delicious topping of balsamic cherries infused with rosemary and vanilla. If it wasn’t good enough, I topped it with green almonds which are also in season these days. You can imagine, well almost, how wonderful this might have been.Cherries

Green almonds

Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake And of course  I need to explain why it’s called a Triple Cheese Moozberry Cheesecake. Well the guys from Mooz Formaggio were nice enough to send me a huge lot of their cheese range to sample.  Their range has been developed and designed by a fourth generation Italian cheesemaker. Delightfully enough, the Mooz folk are manufacturing all their cheese here locally and it matches up to admirably to imported cheese available.Mooz CheeseFor those who do know me, dairy is my weakness, and fresh cheese even more. For those who don’t know me, well now you do!! Fresh cheese has long held me fascinated. That it is not processed, that is has a million uses other than just eating out of a bowl or tub, that it is healthy as well as healthier than imported/processed cheese are huge pluses for me. I’ve explored and made fresh cheese – mascarpone, ricotta, quark, cottage cheese for really long, and in turn done several desserts with them.Cherries & green almondsSavoury stuff too, but what I really do enjoy is desserts using unripened f soft cheese. When I make quark myself, I just chuck it into a concoction, play around a little and then bake. When Mooz showed up, it was a new level of luxury. Imagine, I didn’t have to make my own cheese, so the mind went into overdrive. The plan was for a mascarpone galette with cherries. A nice batch of cherries recently pitted and frozen seemed just right for a wholegrain galette.Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake The mind is a strange place when creative ideas get buzzing. Just looking at the little tubs suddenly got me thinking further, and I knew it had to be a cheesecake. Time to experiment. I grabbed the ricotta, quark and cream cheese and turned the oven on. The recipe is simple, an experiment on a quark cheesecake I make often. This time I added zest of a Bitter Citron Lemon that Sanjeeta mailed me from Chennai, and also zest from a lime from the garden. They say lime zest cuts out any eggy aromas from a cake, and ‘they’ weren’t wrong!Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake Must admit to a million butterflies in my tummy as the cheesecake baked. I had my fingers crossed on this one. How I wished it would turn out well. It baked up beautifully, water bath and all, the tin size worked just perfect too, no cracks on top, didn’t sink like a crater. I was thrilled. An overnight rest in the fridge and I was up early next morning to do a topping, cherries of course. I infused them with some fresh rosemary, a few sprigs that have turned into a plant ex Switzerland, some bitter citron zest from down south, and some aged balsamic and brown sugar.

Cherries and rosemaryDarned delicious if I may say so myself, and fabulous pairing with cheesecake. The cheesecake itself darned delicious too, and got a standing ovation. You should must try making it. To cut the calories, or maybe extra work, or both, you can even go crust-less. Maybe bake mini cheesecakes.

Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake The entire line from Mooz is really really good, including the sour cream. So many varieties, such great flavour. You are literally spoilt for choice as far as sour cream goes. Lemon, peri peri, jalapeno, chipotle {one of our favourites}, yes they have them all. I did a quick smoked chicken farelle with the chipotle sour cream, flavoured with loads of garlic, with fresh lime and rosemary from the garden. Turned out great. Even crumbed chicken with sour cream is yum!! And nachos of course!!Mooz Pasta Also really good  are the Chili Toasty and Plain Toasty, generous stringy cheese slices for grilled sandwiches. Quite addictive and great quality, your grilled toast might never be the same again. The Chili Toasty especially has a great chili flavour and kick. The only cheese that disappointed was the mozzarella which had a slight bitter aftertaste. Not sure why that happened as all the cheese was perfectly stored and from the same batch.Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake

 

Baking | Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake... local artisan cheese at its best!
Print Recipe
Triple Cheese Moozberry Cheesecake must be one of the best cheesecakes I have made. It baked up perfectly, has a mix of 3 soft cheeses in it, and the most delicious topping of balsamic cherries infused with rosemary and vanilla. If it wasn't good enough, I topped it with green almonds which are also in season these days. The best thing is that this uses locally produced artisan cheese from Mooz.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Baking | Triple Cheese 'Moozberry' Cheesecake... local artisan cheese at its best!
Print Recipe
Triple Cheese Moozberry Cheesecake must be one of the best cheesecakes I have made. It baked up perfectly, has a mix of 3 soft cheeses in it, and the most delicious topping of balsamic cherries infused with rosemary and vanilla. If it wasn't good enough, I topped it with green almonds which are also in season these days. The best thing is that this uses locally produced artisan cheese from Mooz.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Crust
Balsamic Rosemary Infused Cherries
Servings: people
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line the base of an 8″ loose bottomed tin with parchment, and lightly grease sides..
  2. Run the biscuits, chilled butter and whole almonds in food processor until ground and a moist crumb forms. {Thermomix: Speed 8, 10 seconds, repeat once}
  3. Turn into the baking tin and press the crumbs into the base, building up the sides a bit if desired. Chill while you preheat the oven, and make the filling.
Filling
  1. Place the quark, ricotta, cream cheese, egg yolks, cornflour, 40g sugar,vanilla, cream and lime zest if using into the bowl of your food processor and run on medium speed till smooth. {Thermomix: Speed 6, 10 seconds}
  2. Beat the whites with the remaining 90g sugar to firm peaks. Gently fold this through the quark cheese mixture and pour over the biscuit base.
  3. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes, and then at 180C for about 45 minutes until firm.
  4. Allow to cool completely in oven, leaving the door ajar.
  5. Cover well and chill before serving, preferably overnight. Serve topped with Balsamic Rosemary Infused Cherries.
Balsamic Rosemary Infused Cherries
  1. Place all ingredients in heavy bottom non reactive pan and simmer gently for 5-7 minutes, until cherries soften. Taste and adjust sweetness if required.
  2. Remove cherries to a bowl, and reduce syrup in pan until nice an thick. Strain over reserved cherries, discarding the vanilla bean and rosemary. Chill completely before topping cheesecake.
Share this Recipe