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Showing posts from March, 2013

Colour Me Pink

Friends often ask me why I take the trouble to go all the way to Borough Market every weekend. It's crowded, it's touristy and London has so many other farmers markets that are much quieter and easier to shop in. But Borough is nicer because it's touristy -which means that competitive farmers and traders show up not just with fresh rhubarb and raspberries but also with unique treasures like these pink mushrooms I got last week. I got two other things from the mushroom forager - a bulb of smoked garlic and advice on how to cook these mushrooms.
Although they are pink, these are just a variant of your standard oyster mushrooms. So I just tore them roughly with my hands. The mushrooms were quite delicate and didn't even need a knife. Next, I finely chopped two cloves of smoked garlic. Heated a tbsp of olive oil and added the garlic. Once it started to brown, I added the mushrooms and cooked for 4-5 minutes until they looked done. I added a dollop of cream to the pan and …

How to eat mincemeat in March

But then, you may wonder why someone would want to eat mincemeat in the first place. To begin with, there is the whole confusion with the name. For years, I kept away from mince pies as I assumed they had meat. It was only around last christmas that I figured that this was a misnomer and the mincemeat referred to a concoction of dried fruit, sugar and booze. At around the same time, I learnt that mince pies get a bad rap for being too sweet and too stodgy and generally not good.

But then, I tried them and fell in love with mince. I think my lack of experience with mince pies of yesteryears helped. This year, London supermarkets were stocked with Heston Bluementhal's dreamy puff pastry pies that came with sachets of pine needle sugar. Even my school did some great take with filo pies and there wasn't a stodgy shortcrust one in sight.

Of course, the jars of mincemeat went on sale at the same time and I brought one home. But then I didn't get around to baking with mince in D…

Brownie Cake

One upside of having a large bunch of classmates is that it solves the perennial problem I've had with trying out new recipes - finding enough people to eat what I bake. What was even more fun was baking birthday cakes and surprise birthday parties.

This cake is from one of the first surprise birthday parties I planned. While there were a few others after this one, this cake was my favourite among all the cakes I baked so I thought I'd tell you where to look if you are planning to bake a decadent chocolate cake.

The recipe's from Dorie Greenspan. In her book, it's a rather elaborate cake topped with caramel and peanuts. What I did was bake the cake, then pour a layer of ganache to cover. And while you don't see it here, the cake then had a happy birthday written on it with a tube of "white chocolate writing icing". Of all the things I discovered on the London supermarket aisles, this little tube of icing is my favourite. Takes the hassle away from piping…

Tahini cookies

One of the first things I did when I got to London last year was seek out ingredients hard to find in India. Like tahini, the sesame seed paste used to make hummus. What I didn't realise though was that good hummus was equally easy to buy, practically at every supermarket and there was no need to fuss with making your own. Which is why the jar of tahini has been lurking in the cupboard ever since.

I decided to look up other uses for tahini, apart from hummus, and found it to be a good addition to cookies. Other bloggers advocated using tahini just like peanut butter and so these cookies came into being, adapted from multiple peanut butter and oatmeal cookie recipes.

First off, mix a cup of oats, 1/2 cup plain flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp baking soda. In another bowl, mix 60 grams softened butter with 1/4 cup tahini. Add 2/3 cup castor sugar, a tsp of vanilla extract and an egg. Mix with a whisk until everything is blended. Pour the flour mix from the first bowl into this o…

Gozleme

Yesterday, I decided to make a trip out to Stoke Newington in North London, quite far away from my Central London home but known to have one of the best South Indian restaurants in the city. Coming from my part of town with Starbucks and Pret A Manger at every corner, the quaint and charming Stoke Newington blew me away. Tiny stores selling toys and mugs and pottery and not a single chain store in sight. I didn't know places like this still existed. The restaurant alas, was a lot less impressive and when I left, the bland food was still half uneaten, I still a little hungry.

Then I remembered a sign I'd seen from the bus on the way. Right opposite Newington Green, a tiny hole in the wall promising gozleme. I first heard of gozleme on Masterchef Australia last year when a Turkish contestant made them. I've been intrigued by this filled flat bread ever since but this was the first time I've seen it being advertised in an actual store.

So I got off the bus at the right s…