Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blood Orange Sorbet


I know I know, I've disappeared for all of 60 days. That's two whole months you guys. But I have good reason. Or at least I'd like to pretend that I do.

I'm back home in India at the moment. Two of my closest friends got married over this period of time. Two spectacular weddings. Both different as chalk and cheese. But so beautiful. And with the most wonderful brides as well. Neither of whom were even a wee bit bridezilla, instead were so welcoming and all encompassing and happy.

But it wasn't just their weddings that I got to attend.I have three more in my kitty.

That said, being in Delhi for the last few months, with my family, friends and the whole shebang has been lovely. I've got to spend a lot of one on one time with my sister and my mom. And quality time with my friends.

Yet, over the last few days, I've been yearning to go back to home. Home as in Islamabad. Home to the husband. Home to roost.

It's strange that as excited as I was to come back to India, I am just as excited to go back to Islamabad. I didn't realise how badly I'd miss the place and my friends. Neither did I realise that my friends would miss me.



And somehow, the more I think about it, the more blessed I feel. And loved. So loved. And in that spirit I present a recipe that encompasses the spirit of Isloo for me.

A few days before I was leaving, the market had flooded with Blood Oranges. I drank so much blood orange juice, ate so many of them for breakfast that I realised it was time to do something else with them and while it was really really cold in Isloo in January, I was already in an ice cream state of mind. And blood orange sorbet was something I'd been wanting to make for a really really long time.

As simple as it is to put together, making sorbet is all about chilling the mix. If you've chilled it enough, then sorbet barely takes anytime. And good sorbet, my friend must be eaten within days of making it.  I used David Lebovitz's recipe and was super happy with it.

In case your sorbet freezes up too much, I suggest you use a generous dash of vodka before you run it through the ice cream machine.

So, in memory of the place I yearn to be in:





Blood Orange Sorbet
Adapted from David Lebovitz 

Ingredients

500 ml freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice
100 grams sugar
1 drop orange oil
1 drop orange colour
1 tsp orange zest

Method

1. In a pan measure out 1/4 cup of juice from the 500 ml and add sugar to it. Put it on heat and let the sugar dissolve. Remove
2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Put it in an air tight container to chill thoroughly.
3. Once the mixture is cold, churn it according to the manufacturer's instructions
4. Serve as soon as possible.




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dark Chocolate Brownies with dried cherries and almonds



Each week at the Farmer's Market, I find a treasure trove of ingredients every week. Some weeks it's the most awesome produce that includes the crunchy pok-choy, sweet-smelling basil or even some lemongrass. Otherwise I stock up on things dairy, a fresh cheese dip, quark cheese and lots of paneer.

But there are weeks that what makes me the happiest is the dried fruit. Brilliant persimmon, deep dark almost-black cherries, fragrant walnuts and apricot kernels that just pop in the mouth.

Those are the weeks that I feel like doing something different, something fun. Like taking my oldest possible brownie recipe and making it fun. And what do I get then? A deep dark rich brownie that's really chock-ful of all things awesome. 

This brownie is something like that. Adapted from Cook's Illustrated it's a surefire hit. Oh and can I please tell what makes it so special? It's them cherries. I can't quite explain how excellent the flavour of the deeply moreish goes with dark chocolate. 

Make it, you'll not regret it, I promise.

I made this recipe as a part of Masterchef Mondays for the Home Bakers Guild a couple of weeks ago and since then I've made this three times :)





Dark Chocolate Brownies with dried cherries and almonds
Makes 12 generous brownies


Ingredients

2/3 cup flour
1 tsp corn flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams dark chocolate (atleast 60 percent cocoa) I used 85 % Lindt
100 grams butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup almonds

Method:1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 170 degrees centigrade. Line a square or rectangular baking tray with foil . Butter it generously. 

2. Whisk to combine flours, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

3. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

4. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve.