Today, I’m actually guest posting over at Go Bake Yourself! Uru needed some help while she finished off her exams and I was more than happy to help her out with a post.
I’m sure you all know lovely Uru; she need no introduction. But just incase you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, Uru is a recent university student who has been blogging about her sweet tooth for a few years now. I’ve known her as long as I’ve been writing. She lives in Australia and she just finished her first year in university, woo hoo!
Uru has a few things in common with me; she is the same age as my eldest daughter, both are in university and both are vegetarians, oh and both have massive sweet teeth!
Please go and check out my post over at Go Bake Yourself and say hi to Uru. I made her some Mushroom Yorkshire Puddings. My daughters loved them and I thought maybe Uru would like them too. They were pretty delicious. They are perfect as a main dish or as a side to roasted meats.
Before you head on over to read the post, I thought I’d fill you in some news on my side. We had a great Thanksgiving with lots of food and dessert but of course, the best part is always the conversation and friendship. How was your Thanksgiving?
Talking about Thanksgiving, I have the two winners for the MM Local contest. I believe, you both will receive a gift card/promo code for an item from their online store. DRUMROLL……
The winners are….Denise from the blog From Brazil to You and Karen from Back Road Journal! Congratulations ladies! I used the Random Number Generator and their numbers are the ones that popped up. I will forward your information to the lovely folks at MM Local so they can contact you. You’re going to love their products, make sure to pick the Colorado grown produce 🙂
I am finally free! Thanksgiving was the last major load on my mind but with my events done, my guest post done, my recipe development done (almost) and Thanksgiving done, my daughters birthdays done, I can finally chill for a bit! I really need to catch up with everyone’s blogs and start to really cook and bake again for my own blog. It’s been so long it seems.
I hope your holiday baking is in full swing. I can’t wait to come by and see what you guys are creating.
I wish you all a great week ahead. I will be by to say hi shortly! Please stop by Go Bake Yourself and read my post! Thank you!!
Oh, and if anybody is wondering what happened with my car shopping….
I am the proud owner of this badass 2015 Toyota 4Runner 🙂 I LOVE it.
Hi lovely readers! The following post is the guest post I did for Lail at With a Spin yesterday. I am posting it here on my site too so you can have access to the recipe. I had some readers email me requesting that I make it available here too. I hope you will still go and say “hi” to Lail over at With a Spin. Thank you for reading and I will see you here soon. Hope you are having a great weekend.
It is an honour to be guest posting over here at With A Spin. I am Nazneen from the blog Coffee and Crumpets. When Lail asked me whether I could write a Ramadan post for her I agreed enthusiastically. I have gotten to know Lail over the last few months and I am in awe of her dedication to her family, her career, her blog and her heritage. I have learnt more about Bangladeshi cooking from Lail than from my Bangladeshi friends here! I hope one day to have the occasion to meet her when I am going through Texas again.
Lail asked me to share a recipe that is close to my heritage or upbringing. I thought about that for a while and I remember emailing her and telling her that I am of a very confusing heritage!
My family is from India but I was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in England and married an American, I never had the opportunity to experience India at any length. Short summer holidays away was the extent of my time there. In that sense, it has always been difficult for me to truly understand customs and cultures of my ethnic country. I am very much British in my thinking and up bringing and even though my children try to Americanise me, I’ve been resisting for a while. I don’t know how long I can last; there are four of them and one of me!
What was I going to pick?? All those countries run through my veins. I ate mainly Indian food growing up but Middle Eastern food and British food are also very much part of my life. We visited Saudi often and I still have family who live there, and British food was easily available. Now in my own kitchen, I take a keen interest in reviving British classics at home.
In the end, it was Ramadan comfort food that won out. I really enjoy Middle Eastern desserts during Ramadan. It maybe they are made for that reason, to enjoy after a long day of fasting with the right amount of sweetness, creaminess or nuttiness.
My favourite Middle Eastern bakery in Houston inspired this particular recipe. The lady who owns the bakery is Lebanese and really wonderful, and she does an awesome job with her desserts. I don’t really care for baklava unless it comes from her place. She does a great baklava. She also does great Kunafah Rolls and they are some of favourite treats from her store. But, you have to get there early, Ramadan weekends she is sold out by early afternoon. Living in Colorado now, I sure miss her treats.
The pastry for these is just regular phyllo sheets. They can be a bit tricky but I don’t buy the thinnest sheets. Phyllo sheets are available in different thicknesses and I prefer the next thickness up. It’s a lot easier to handle. Keep a wet towel over the sheets to keep them from drying out and work quickly. I used half sheets to make the rolls because I wanted smaller rolls and not too much pastry over powering the creamy filling, if you would like bigger rolls and more crunch, by all means use a full sheet per roll.
Ashta is a Middle Eastern clotted cream. There are many ways to make this but I use a very simple recipe and it tastes like the filling in the store bought rolls. This is a versatile filling and can be used for the Arabic pancakes called Ataif bil Ashta also (my favourite Ramadan dessert).
12 sheets phyllo, defrosted and covered with wet towel
1 stick butter, melted
¼ cup neutral flavoured oil
jam or ground pistachios for garnish
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half and half
5 tablespoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons orange blossom water
2 cups superfine sugar
1 cup water
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons orange blossom water
MAKE THE ASHTA:
Pour all but a half cup of the half/half-cream mixture into a heavy bottomed pot and bring to boil over medium heat.
Stir the cornstarch into the remaining half cup and smooth out into a paste.
Once the milk is nearly to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously.
The mixture will thicken instantly and as soon it bubbles and is thick, pull off the heat.
Add the orange blossom water.
Put a piece of cling wrap directly onto the surface of the ashta and place in fridge to cool.
MAKE THE SUGAR SYRUP:
place the sugar, water, lemon juice in a pot and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.
The syrup should be thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon.
Add the orange blossom water and pull off the heat to cool. Put aside.
Prepare the syrup and ashta the day before so that they can chill overnight.
ASSEMBLING THE KUNAFAH ROLLS:
Add the oil to the melted butter and keep aside.
Lay a sheet of phyllo dough on the counter or chopping board and brush liberally with the melted butter and oil mixture.
If you are making the smaller rolls, cut the sheet in half.
Lay a tablespoon or so of ashta in a log shape at one end of the phyllo sheet.
Now, gently roll up the edges into an egg roll shape.
Brushing with more butter if needed to keep the roll moist and able to stick.
Place on a baking sheet until you finish rolling the rest.
Repeat with the rest of the sheets.
Make sure you only bake 12 on one sheet because they do expand whilst baking.
If you want to bake them immediately, preheat the oven to 375℉.
Bake the rolls for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Unfortunately, mine had a run in with an enthusiastic toaster oven when I went to crisp them up again for the photos and so they got a little more tinged than I wanted, they were still excellent though.
Don't overstuff them because they will seep through the rolls if they are not tightly wrapped. Make sure they are moist and sealed well.
Once out of the oven, let them cool slightly and then drizzle the sugar syrup over them or serve with the syrup on the side.
Garnish with some chopped pistachios or rose petal jam.
Today, I have the pleasure of having another good friend helping me out at the last minute by doing a fabulous guest post. Most of y’all know her already, Minnie from the wonderful blog The Lady 8 Home. When Minnie asked me what I would like her to write about, it was easy, I asked her to do something traditionally Bengali and she didn’t disappoint. This is an amazing Bengali fish dish alive with strong, vibrant flavour with a hint of tropical spice. Thank you Minnie for taking the time out to cook, plate, photograph and eat this for me. Everyone is going to love it!
Hello All, it’s a pleasure to be here at Nazneen’s blog today. Many thanks Nazneen for this opportunity. My name is Minnie, and I am the author, chef, cleaner and caretaker all rolled into one at The Lady 8 Home. I grew up in India, and U.S of A is my adopted country now. I grew up eating Indian food only, and whatever other cuisines we ate, it was always flavored with Indian spices. Once in USA, my taste buds got exposed to a plethora of flavors hitherto unknown to it. Fusion stepped in, as did experimentation with herbs that had just been exotic species of plants in books and store shelves up until then.
Once in a while though, I hark back to my roots, and whip up something quintessentially Bengali. Bengal is a State in the east of India, and we eat a lot of fish and rice. ‘Sorshe Macher Paturi’ is possibly the most beloved dish of the region today. A throw back to the royals of Bengal, Paturi literally means wrapped in banana leaves. This exotic sounding dish is astonishingly simple to make. All you need to do is to make a mustard sauce, drown the fish pieces in it, wrap in banana leaves and steam.
For the steaming part, use the double broiler. If you don’t own one, no worries. Simply use a pan large enough to hold all the fish pieces, but small enough to fit into another larger container full of water. Another tip is to soak the mustard seeds for 24-48 hours, and change the water 3-4 times. This will reduce the bitterness of the mustard and make the sauce smoother. If you don’t mind the bitterness, then you can skip this part completely.
Sorshe Maacher Paturi
6 pieces of steak of a fresh water fish (See Note*)
4 Tbsp mustard seeds (soaked and drained)
4 Thai green chilies plus 6 more
4 tbsp mustard oil
2 tsp salt
1 small tomato grated
Strings to tie (I used Jute strings from Walmart)
For the raw mustard sauce:
Grind mustard seeds, 1 tsp salt and 4 green chilies with enough water to make a thick paste.
If you want a milder sauce, then reduce the amount of mustard seeds.
Salt the fish for five minutes with 1 tsp salt.
Dip the fish pieces in the raw mustard sauce.
Grate the tomato and mix it into the marinade.
Cut the banana leaves roughly into 12X8 inch rectangles.
Wash the leaves thoroughly. Clean an area of your work space, and lay one banana leaf.
Place a piece of fish, and coat it well with the mustard sauce. Add one chili, and a few drops of mustard oil. Wrap the banana leaf around the fish and fold into a packet. Tie a string around it to secure.
Repeat with the rest of the fish pieces until you have six identical banana leaf packets.
Arrange them in a pan. Place the pan inside a larger pan full of boiling water. Cover and steam for 20 minutes.
The fish should be cooked. If you find the fish still a bit raw for your taste, simply wrap it back and steam for another 5 minutes till done.
Note* Please do not use Salt water fish for this dish, it does not cook well. Also, I used Tilapia fillets for this preparation which is not ideal, but works fine. To preserve the sweetness and prevent overpowering of mustard, I used only 2 tbsp of mustard seeds. Ideally, when this is cooked with a fresh water fish like Hilsa or carp, the mustard paste is much thicker.
Thank You again Minnie for a wonderful post and for showing us the taste of Bengal. I hope y’all have a great weekend. I wanted to thank all my wonderful friends for filling in for me and allowing me to enjoy my family time. I appreciate it very much. I will be back in a couple of days with some great stories to tell and hopefully a recipe of some kind.
Today’s guest blogger is someone I’ve known for a while now. We both started our blogs the same year, just a few months here and there. We first met during an Ottolenghi cheesecake challenge and once I visited her blog and found out she was a fellow Brit, I became an instant follower. To me visiting Glamorous Gluttonis like going back home for a bit. I keep apprised of all the goings on in the UK there with the additional treat of acquiring a new recipe. I appreciate GG doing this for me on such short notice and she has done a brilliant job! I couldn’t ask for more, tea, cake and a walk in an English village. Thank you so much GG!! Please everyone, welcome GG and please visit her amazing site to see more of her recipes and to read about the UK.
Nazneen very kindly asked me to guest blog for her, of course as a fellow Brit, although she is now living in the US, I jumped at the opportunity. Nazneen was one of the first people to comment on my blog when I started and has been a loyal supporter ever since.
As a small child I hated going for walks. A seemingly unending trail through London parks whilst the adults carried on a tedious conversation. The hills seemed interminable stretches of lumpy grass. I looked miserably at the bare spiky trees, not seeing the mounds of leaves with all the opportunities for play. My bratish appeals of ‘When can we go home?’ went unanswered.
Then we got a dog, a wonderful mongrel of a collie. Bright and friendly with long fur, tinged with a bit of all possible colours. He came everywhere with us. My sister and I were in constant contest as to who would take him out. The consequence was that we both went out, spending endless afternoons tramping those lumpy hills, playing excitedly with our furry friend.
That companion has long gone, I now tramp those hills with the Glam Pooch, a chunk of a boxer with a gentle temperament and a love of exploration. Together we discovered the village of Hambledon. Set in a valley edging onto the River Thames and back into the rural hills. It‘s the quintessential flint cottaged village. A church that dates back to 14th century, a Manor House, a pub and a picket fenced post office, where on Saturdays and Sundays there’s a crowd for the plain wood seats and tables outside. This isn’t tablecloths and fine china, but it is English tea. Chatting couples with kids in tow, their bikes leaning precariously against the fence. Dogs mingling, waiting for the promised walk or puffing, tongues hanging, watching for their turn at a water bowl. Trays with stainless steel pots of tea and plates of whatever the days choice of cakes is, appear periodically from the door. This is strictly an outdoor tearoom, whilst the business of village shop and post office takes place inside.
But there’s more than this to Hambledon, it’s the setting for 101 Dalmations – remember the barns in the country? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the English training ground for Easy Company in Band Of brothers. So, as I wander through the narrow streets passing crooked, rose covered cottages and rustic wooden bridges, I keep an eye out for a tall thin lady with a white streak in her hair, after-all she might take a liking to brindle (tiger striped), now the spotty dogs are gone!
If you are planning a walk and maybe a picnic, or English tea at home, here are three ways with one batch of cake mix.
Mini Cakes with caramelised white chocolate topping
Rhubarb drizzle cake
Caramelised apple crumble cake
For the cake batter
This makes 10 mini muffin sized cakes and one 20cm. / 8 inch square cake
225g (8oz) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
225g (8oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or essence
4 large eggs at room temperature
225g (8oz) plain / all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180c / 350f
Grease a mini muffin tin and a 20cm / 8 inch square baking tin line the bottom of the tin with baking parchment
Put the butter, sugar and vanilla essence into a large bowl and cream until very pale in colour and light and fluffy
Break the eggs into a bowl and add slowly to the mixture ensuring the egg is well beaten in after each addition
Sift the flour and the baking powder together to ensure they are well combined, carefully add to the butter and egg mixture and fold in
Pour the batter into the mini muffin tins and the square cake tin and place in the oven.
Bake the mini muffins for 10 – 15 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean
Bake the square cake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean
Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin then remove and place on a cooling rack.
Rhubarb Drizzle Topping
400g / 14 ounces fresh rhubarb
3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
80 mils / 1/3 cup water
Preheat the oven 180c / 350f
Cut the rhubarb into 4cm / 1 ½ lengths and place on a foil covered tray
Sprinkle with the sugar and the water
Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until just soft and juicy
Cut the square cake in half
Using a skewer pierce hole in the cake and pour over the juice from the rhubarb
Line the rhubarb pieces in neat rows over the cake
Cut the cake into bite size squares
Caramelised Apple Crumble Topping
For The Apple Caramel
50g / 5 oz caster / superfine sugar 50mls water
250g / 9 oz Cooking apples (Bramley)
15g / ½ oz unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
Sprinkle the sugar evenly in a large frying pan, add the water and swill to wet the
sugar. Do not stir
Place on a high heat and bring to a boil, continue boiling until a rich caramel colour is
Reduce the heat and add the chopped apple, unsalted butter and vanilla paste, stir
until the apples break up and the butter has melted and combined to form the
Set aside to cool
For the crumble
120g / 4oz Plain flour
90g / 3oz unsalted butter cubed
45g / 1 ½ oz soft brown sugar
70g / 2 ½ oz ground almonds
50g / 2 oz chopped almonds
Place the flour, butter, sugar and ground almonds into a medium bowl.
Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms fine breadcrumbs
Take the remaining half of the cake, spread with the caramelized apple and sprinkle,
thickly with the almond crumble topping.
Using a very sharp knife cut into small squares
Caramelised White Chocolate
Preheat oven 130c / 265f
200g / 7oz very good quality white chocolate, broken into small pieces
10 fresh raspberries
Put the chocolate on a shallow baking tray and place in the oven for about 30 – 50 minutes.
Every ten minutes check the chocolate and stir with a spatula. It will go gloopy and even lumpy, but ultimately turn into a smooth paste
Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then dip the mini cakes into the caramelised chocolate and top with a raspberry
Thank you so much to GG for these wonderfully delicate and dainty tea time cakes and a wonderful walk down a true English village. I appreciate GG taking the time out to bake these tea time treats and to visit and take pictures of Hambledon. Thank you so much GG and I hope everyone checks out her site too. As you all read this, I am probably on my 10th meal of the day since that’s what we as a family do! I hope you are all having a great week!
This week I have some wonderful guest bloggers helping me out as I enjoy some time with my family. I called on some of my great friends and bloggers, on short notice no less, and they all delivered beautifully. I am so grateful to them for helping me out and allowing me to enjoy my time at the wedding without having to worry about my site.
Today’s guest is the wonderful Denise who is the author of From Brazil To You. Denise and I just “met” this year and we have become great friends. She lives in San Antonio and if I had known her in January, I would most definitely met up with her for coffee and some of her delectable goodies.
Denise is Brazilian and her blog showcases all things Brazilian. I learn so much from visiting her site about Brazil, a country we associate mainly with football! But it is so much more with such a diverse population and cuisine.
So, thank you my friend for introducing me to beautiful Brazil and all its vibrancy, beauty and delicious cuisine. Everyone, please help me welcome Denise and visit her blog for some great Brazilian fun facts and food.
I had just finished composing my blog’s menu for March when an email came through from Nazneen, the author of Coffee and Crumpets, asking if I would guest post for her blog.
I willingly accepted this opportunity to guest post for her– Nazneen is one of my favorite fellow bloggers, and because of this, I could not refuse her kind offer. I have no doubt that if we lived nearby, we’d be great friends.
So I asked her what type of dish she’d like to have appear in the post… She suggested a Brazilian chocolate dessert. From among several different ones that I had in mind, I picked pão de mel– “honey bread.” For those unfamiliar with this popular dessert in Brazil, pão de mel is a cake sandwich of European origin, made mostly from honey, chocolate, and spices, which is coated in chocolate to prolong its flavor and moist texture, and can be filled with dulce de leche, brigadeiro filling (http://www.frombraziltoyou.org/brazilian-recipes/chocolate-cake-bolo-nega-maluca-birthday/), jam, etc. It usually has either a square or round shape (resembling a cookie sandwich or alfajor). However, today I preferred to give ours the shape of a mini cake.
This dessert has a rich, decadent taste of chocolate (of course) and especially of spices — ah, and it is a great dessert to have with a good cup of coffee. I thought that would pair well with the concept of Nazneen’s blog. When I think about spices, Indian cuisine jumps immediately to mind… And where do I find great Indian recipes when I do need them? Coffee and Crumpets!!!
Although the recipe has been adapted from a Brazilian pastry chef, I came up with the decoration.
Well, I hope that both your eyes and palate enjoy these beloved Brazilian desserts. If you could only see the huge smile on my face while I enjoy mine…
A big thanks to my dear fellow blogger Nazneen for thinking of me.
Pão de Mel
Yield: About 6 large or 12 standard size muffin-tin units
250g (about 8.8 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup pure honey
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 can dulce de leche (for the filling)
800 g (28.2 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, melted in a double boiler at 32º C or 89.5º F (for the topping)
1. Grease and flour a large-size or standard-size muffin tin. Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C).
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the brown sugar and water just until the sugar dissolves (Remember: You are NOT making a simple syrup). Remove from heat and set aside until cool. Whisk the sifted flour and spices on top of the water-sugar mixture. Add the cocoa powder and oil, whisking well. Dissolve both the baking soda and powder in milk and add to the batter. Add in the beaten yolks, honey, salt, and vanilla, stirring until combined.
3. In a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites into the batter in 2-3 different additions to make the batter more aerated. Put into the tin (fill each well 3/4 full) and bake for about 20 minutes (standard) or 27-30 minutes (large). You will end up with the fluffiest cakes ever. Please, do not overbake or the cakes will turn out dry.
4. When cakes are cool, using a serrated/bread knife, remove top of the cakes. I reserved mine to make cookie sandwiches (whoopie pies). Next, slice cake so you end up with 3 layers. Spread them with dulce de leche. When cakes are assembled, brush them with simple syrup (this will help avoid releasing crumbs into the melted chocolate and will keep the cakes moist).
5. Place the cake on a fork and bathe in the melted chocolate. Place on a rack with a baking sheet underneath, and let excess chocolate drain off of the cake onto the baking sheet below. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let the chocolate set in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.
6. Then, decorate as you wish. For mine, I used flower-shaped cupcake liners, ribbon tied around the middle, and Wilton sugar flowers. I also used melted pink chocolate melts to fill molds for the pink sculptures on top of our mini cakes.