Monday, 23 November 2015

Light Summery Pasta Sauce

Très simple.

First, roughly chop a large onion, two tomatoes, as many mushrooms as you like (I like about seven large ones), three cloves of garlic, and three green chillies. Finely slice half an inch of peeled ginger into little translucent sticks.

The last two ingredients are optional, but if you like your pasta fresh and fragrant and slightly different from the usual stuff, you will need at least the chillies.

First, add a glug of oil in the saucepan/wok. Toss in the vegetables in this order:

Let it cook on a high flame with occasional stirring so the tomatoes don't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Finally, when everything becomes one inseparable tomatoey, mildly spicy mass, add a dollop of fresh cream.

Fold it in. Reduce flame to medium. Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and because I love parsley, a touch of parsley. I use these herbs dried. Finally, add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of tomatoes.

Then add a cup of water, cover the saucepan, and let the sauce simmer.

When it reaches the thickness you like, taste the sauce. Add whatever spice you want more of. Then fold in the cooked and drained pasta to the pan.

Mix it in well, then cover the pan again. Let the pasta steep in the sauce and soak it in.

Finally, serve with grated/chopped cheese, sausage slices, and my personal favourite: chopped fresh cilantro/coriander leaves.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Chochchori Recipe for Facebook Buddies

Chochchori recipe for TP, and everyone else that's interested.

 1. Keep orange mushur/masoor dal bori/waris fried at hand.

 2. Peel and cut three large potatoes and cut into thickish wedges. Dice peeled and de-seeded pumpkin into half an inch thick pieces. Cube unpeeled brinjal/aubergine/eggplant.

 3. Fry thickly-sliced potato and pumpkin till golden. Drain and reserve

 4. Rub small cubes of brinjal with salt, sugar and turmeric, and fry till brown.

 5. Chop spinach - or stalks and leaves of cauliflower, for preference - and fry on medium till all the water evaporates.

 6. Add a teaspoon of paNch foron. Wait till you smell the mouri/saunf roasting

 7. Add the rest of the vegetables, salt and a little sugar, and the fried wari/bori. Toss for five minutes on medium and taste.

 8. Add half a cup of water. Simmer covered. When done, if there's still some water left, dry it out while tossing the chochchori gently. Done! Serve with hot thin mushur/masoor/red lentil dal, or slightly thick moog/moong daal :-)

Friday, 9 January 2015

Orange and Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Dark/White Chocolate Ganache

This is my Christmas special, innovated out of a desperate need to use an entire tray of oranges before they went squishy. The cake is dense,the ganache thin, rich and sticky, and because I detest fruit cakes, there are no raisins or plum or other suchlike disgusting things in the batter. In other words, for a middle-class home, this is a cheap and delicious cake to make: moist, soft, and richly flavoured without being in-you-face.

First, you peel two medium-sized oranges, take off the white fibrous strands within, de-pip the orange, and poach in water with 5 tsp. sugar and 3 tsp. fennel seeds.

Then, when the sugar-water has turned into a reduced, sticky syrup perfumed with citrus and fennel, and the orange is well-poached, take a whisk to it and make a pulp out of the whole thing. Let it cool.

While it cools, melt about a cup of dark cooking chocolate. Most people do it in an improvised double-boiler. I do it by adding a little water to a saucepan, waiting for it to boil, and adding small chunks of the chocolate into it. Once the chocolate is a thick liquid, let it cool.

If the orange is now cool, break two whole eggs into it. Whisk till well-combined. Pour in a cup's worth of sunflower oil.

Combine again. Now gently add the cooled (but not solidified) chocolate. Whisk till it's one thick pulpy brown mix.

Add a cup of flour, 1.5 tsp of baking powder, and if you want, a few drops of vanilla extract/essence. Bake in a preheated oven for about an hour, though check at 45 minutes to see how far the cake's done. I bake my cakes on the middle rack of a small, ancient, table-top oven at 130C, with both bottom and top heaters firing. The time might be different for your oven.

Once the cake is done (a spoon/fork/knife comes out clean), let it cool for some time. In the meanwhile, prep the dark chocolate ganache by heating the same chocolate in a little water, adding a dollop of fresh/heavy cream and orange zest. Blend over a low flame for about a minute or two. Now either you pour the ganache over the whole cake, like so:

Or, slice your cake into two; pour the ganache on top of both slices; put one slice back on the other. The perfect citrusy dark chocolate holiday cake is ready to stuff in faces!