Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lychee and Coconut Sorbet


June is clearly a month with a problem of plenty. All the good fruits - cherries, apricots, peaches, lychees and green almonds - descend in the markets at approximately the same time. And don't forget all the different varieties of mangoes. Every time I go to fruit market from end of May to early July, I bring back way too much fruit. It's only when I am unpacking the bags at home that I realise there is no way I could eat that much fruit before it spoils.

I've found multiple ways to solve the problems that arise out of my over enthusiastic fruit shopping. I eat fruits instead of meals. I share. And I cook it into pies and crumbles and jam. But one fruit does not take well to cooking. Lychees have such delicate flavour that any heat will completely destroy it. So when I got back yesterday with yet another fruit haul, I decided to covert some of the lychees into a no-cook sorbet.

The most difficult part of this recipe is getting the flesh off the lychees. But you don't need to be neat here since it will all get blended anyway. Rest of it is just mixing and churning. Super easy!

Ingredients
2 dozen lychees
200 ml coconut milk
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp rum
Juice of 1 lime (the small indian lime, that gives about a tsp of juice)

Peel the lychees and separate the flesh from the seed. Put the deseeded lychees in a blender along with all the other ingredients. Rum is optional but it does give a softer ice cream.

Taste the mix, adding more honey or lime juice to suit your preference. Remember that ice cream gets less sweet as it freezes so the mixture in the blender should be a tad sweeter than you like.

Pour the mix into a container and chill for 2-3 hours. Then churn in your ice cream machine and put back in the freezer to set for a couple of hours before digging in.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Brown Sugar Pound Cake



I've only recently discovered the excellent food community that is Food52. With columns like 'Genius Recipes' and 'For Goodness Cake', there is always new foodie stuff there to explore and experiment. My latest favourite on Food52 is a column called 'Back of the Box'. If, like me, you cut off recipes from custard powder boxes as a kid and swear by the chocolate cake recipe on Hershey's cocoa powder tin, you probably already know that grocery store packets can come up with some real gems. Food52 makes a practice of testing these recipes and showcasing the best of the lot.

So when they discovered this pound cake at the back of a brown sugar box, I instantly bookmarked it and even made it less than two weeks later. I have backlog of recipes that go back several years so for me, this is lightning speed. The cake was so simple and needed so few ingredients that it really intrigued me. It also turned out to be a fantastic cake - completely non-fussy and delicious all at the same time. I made the batter in my new kitchenaid stand mixer but it's totally doable by hand with a whisk or even a sturdy wooden spoon.

Ingredients
(for a 5X3 inch loaf pan; double the recipe for a standard 9 inch loaf pan)
100 grams butter - unsalted is good but I used Amul, left out of fridge for a few hours to soften
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Set the oven to preheat to 180C. Line a 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating the mixture after each egg. Add vanilla essence and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. If you are using unsalted butter, also add 1/4 tsp salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat until just combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. At this stage, the cake is ready to go into the oven but I couldn't let it be so plain and sprinkled some coarsely ground almonds on top. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then turn it out to cool completely on a cooling rack.

You can fancy up the cake with glazes and stuff but I found it just right as it is. Next time though, I'd mix in some more nuts or raisins to something to make the cake more interesting.