Saturday, 27 February 2010

Full House

And I've been complaining about being bored.....

I had a full day today.
In the morning, Adie and Alyssa along with Rohaya and Lynne and baby Sofea came a-visiting. They stayed for a tex-mex lunch of Chicken Burritos with re-fried beans and salsa. For dessert we had Banana Bread.

Just when I thought I could put my feet up and have my elevenses at four, along came a knock at the door which reveal my Nigerian friend and neighbour Folake and her lively and delightful broods Aleem, Aiman and Aisyah. It is great to finally have a like-minded friend who shares similar interests. Here's looking to more fun time hanging out together.

Oh, by the way, Elsa came home bearing some news..... her piano teacher is going to teach her a new piece. It's Mikrokosmos by Bartok..... God help me!!!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Chocolate-Speckled Strawberry Cake

Chocolate-Speckled Strawberry Cake
115g butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mashed strawberries
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 175 C. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs, and beat for 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and the baking soda until the baking soda has dissolved. Add the sour cream mixture and the flour to the egg mixture. Beat well, then stir in the mashed strawberries.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly touched.

I added about 100g of chopped unsweetened dark chocolate into the mixture.

Coffee Morning at Alison's

Sunday, 21 February 2010

High Tea

While the true origins of afternoon or 'high tea' is debatable, it is widely agreed that it was 'invented' by Duchess Anna Maria, the wife of the seventh Duke of Bedford, who in 1841 started drinking tea and having a bite to eat in the mid-afternoon. This was to tide her over during what was a lengthy gap between lunch, which was eaten at around 1pm and dinner, had around 7pm.

Initially taken on her own, it swiftly developed into a social occasion as soon the Duchess was inviting guests to join her for afternoon tea at 5 o'clock.

By the 1860s the fashion for afternoon or 'high' tea had become widespread and had evolved into decadent affairs, with tea drunk from the best china and bite-size morsels of food presented delicately on small china plates. On regular offer were bread and butter, traditional scones, cakes and finger sandwiches.

The Times

Nothing like a gathering of friends to warm the heart on such a cold day......

We were honoured to have the presence of H.E Dr George Kasoulides, the Ambassador of Cyprus and his wife Leslie, Kanti and his wife Maitreyee, Joshua and his wife Suraya and Anuradha.

While the kids were busy making their own fun and entertainment, we had a lively conversation talking about everything and nothing in general.

~ The Menu ~

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
Dates with Mascarpone and Walnut

Orange Scented Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Marzipan with Hazelnut Nougat
Dark Chocolate and Toffee Cake
Marble Cake

Vegetable Tartlets
Cucumber Sandwiches
Fried Vermicelli
Baked Chicken Drumstick in Garlic and Soy

Saturday, 20 February 2010

My Baby Love

Best friends forever Elsa and me
picking flowers and climbing trees
a shoulder to cry on, secrets to share
Warm hearts and hands that really care

Happy Birthday, Poopsie-poo!!

Thank you all for your kind words and well wishes..... God bless

Friday, 19 February 2010

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Cocoa powder

In a small, heavy saucepan bring the heavy whipping cream to a simmer (this may take a while, be sure to stir and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula every few minutes).

Place the chocolate in a separate bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate, add the vanilla, and allow to stand for a few minutes then stir until smooth.

Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for two hours. Remove and with a teaspoon roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Roll in cocoa powder and serve, or place back in the refrigerator until needed.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Fastelavn på Vidnæsdal

Fastelavn is the equivalent of Carnival in Denmark. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, when children dress up in costumes and gather treats for the Fastelavn feast.

Traditional events include slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel"), which is somewhat similar to using a piñata. The Danes use a wooden barrel, which is full of candy and oranges and has the image of a cat on it. Historically, there was a real black cat in the barrel, and beating the barrel was superstitiously considered a safeguard against evil. After the candy pours out, the game continues until the entire barrel is broken. The one who knocks down the bottom of the barrel (making all the candy spill out) becomes kattedronning ("queen of cats"); the one who knocks down the last piece of the barrel becomes kattekonge ("king of cats").

A popular pastry associated with the day is Fastelavnsbolle (lit. "Fastelavn bun"), a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and sometimes filled with whipped cream.

Happy Heart Day!!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Dinner at the Kumar's

An array of sumptuous Bengali dishes prepared by the host. We were spoilt for choice..... but, who's complaining!

An after dinner entertainment....
Maitrejee reciting a poem from the famous poet laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.
We don't have to understand Bangla to be able to appreciate the melodious beauty of the poem. We were mesmerised......

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

It was a beautiful day....

I decided that a short trip to my neighbourhood garden centre would do good for my soul.

A section of the garden centre selling organic vegetables and fruits.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Rogan Josh

Not to be mistaken with Josh Groban.....

Rogan Josh
A mild Kashmiri curry

500g beef or lamb
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp black cumin seed
1 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, grounded
1 tsp ginger paste
4 green cardamoms
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tsp chillie powder
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp sugar
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup stock or water

Cut beef or lamb into bite size pieces and remove excess fat. Sprinkle with salt, and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat oil, add sugar, cloves, bay leaves, green cardamoms and cinnamon sticks and saute for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add meat and cook over medium heat until the meat are lightly browned.

Add the chopped onions and saute til browned.

Add red chili powder, black cumin seeds, chopped tomatoes and ginger paste and fry till oil separates from the gravy.

Add the water/stock and cook until the meat are tender. Add fennel seed powder. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on a low fire.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Baked Tilapia with Chimichurri

Baked Tilapia

4 tilapia fillets
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 180C. Coat a large cast iron pan with oil.

Rinse fish and pat dry; place on the prepared baking sheet. Season each fillet with salt, cracked pepper, lime zest and lime juice. Add fish to the pan. Place a pat of butter on each fillet and cook in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes.

Parsley-Garlic Chimichurri
Adapted from Steven Raichlen’s recipe
100g fresh flat leaf parsley
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons minced onion
5 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon jalapeno, finely chopped
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Add parsley and garlic to food processor and hit the pulse button a few times to mince. Add remaining ingredients and pulse some more. Slowly pour oil through the chute, while taping away on the pulse button. Pulse just enough to where everything is mixed properly.
If you like the fresh crisp flavor of parsley, use immediately. Letting it rest overnight will balance out the flavors.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Foul Mudammas

Foul Mudammas

For this recipe, I used canned fava beans bought from the ethnic grocery store.

In a pot, put olive oil and minced garlic.
Then add cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Let all this work for a few minutes.
Next, add the drained fava beans and stir thoroughly.
Add about 2/3 cup of hot water.
Take a potato masher and mash some of the beans, this will thickened the sauce somewhat. Add lemon juice and mix well. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Into each individual bowl, place fried eggs, one in each bowl, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, chopped green onion and a sprinkling of paprika.
Serve with toasted pita.