Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Condiment | Eggless & Vegan Lemon Curd




I love lemon curd. I love the tartness. I love the fragrance. I especially love the fatal punch it can give any dessert. But what I don't love is its eggy-ness.

I mean, suppose your eggs are old and you decide to make lemon curd, then you're just done for. While the citrus can mask all the smells, it's the after taste that is difficult to overturn. Just imagine, you want to eat that yummy lemon tart but the taste that's left in your mouth is nothing but "anda". The thought is making me go ewwww.

Now imagine if your eggs aren't cooked through while you're making the curd. Then you're left with that intense raw egg smell that could possibly remind you of an old sock or even worse a wet one. Point is, it can be pretty darn gross.


Which is why an eggless lemon curd is the need of the hour. It is that one recipe that can change the way you look at a lemon tart. It is that one recipe that you have been looking for all your life. I honestly discovered it when I was looking for a vegan recipe and found it here and then it was as if I couldn't stop dreaming about it.



The first time I made this lemon curd, I felt it had a slightly bitter after taste, so I decided to tweak it a bit and figure out the best way to get that wholesome and refreshing lemon punch. I used 5 basic ingredients - coconut cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, salt and corn flour and some water. The end result was delectable.

I tried to make this with whole milk, but I didn't particularly care for it. The coconut cream however is inspired. The coconut takes on lemon flavours beautifully and you can't even tell what the base it unless well, someone tells you the same. The coconut cream also thickens like a dream, which makes it the perfect base of the lemon curd, which in turn also makes it vegan, so you can just about imagine the win-win here.

I did use a drop of yellow colour because I felt that otherwise it was looking way too pale. Just a drop of the Wilton yellow gel did the trick for me.

I used this lemon curd as a topping for my lemon pannacotta, which I will share in the next post. But till then, try this lemon curd to know how awesome it is.




Eggless and Vegan Lemon Curd
Adapted from the Minimalist Baker

Serves 10

Ingredients
1 can coconut cream
zest of 4 lemons
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp corn flour
a pinch of salt
1 drop of yellow colour

Method
1. In a saucepan add all the coconut cream, sugar, salt and lemon zest together. Stir and let the sugar dissolve completely.
2. In a bowl mix together the water and the corn flour with 1/4 cup of the lemon juice. Mix well.
3. Add this into the saucepan and keep stirring, making sure you do NOT bring it to a boil.
4. The mixture will take about 10 minutes to thicken keep stirring.
5. Once thick, turn off the heat and add the remaining lemon juice as well as the yellow colour. Pour into a jar and let it cool.
6. Let it sit overnight and then use.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Baking | Mediterranean Yogurt, Raisin and Sumac Roast Chicken




So I wrote an interesting piece for the Delhi Secret Supper Club a couple of weeks ago. It was all about ordering off a meat delivery service called LionFresh and you can read all about that here

Because I ordered a few different kinds of meat, I decided to go crazy with the kinds of ingredients I was using, only because well, I could. I did the pork with coca cola, the mutton in a Pakistani style stew but it was the chicken that really had me looking forward. This was because, I'd been truly looking forward to eating a succulent roast that was a breeze to make. Also you could see this was a chicken that hadn't been pumped with hormones, which I have to say, is such a blessing these days.



This chicken is all that and more. The marination barely takes any time to put together. And the next morning, preferably over a weekend, you let it bake for 2 odd hours until its juicy and perfect. The thing to remember though is to let it rest for atleast an hour before you actually attack it. Serve with some roasted veggies and some fresh bread and you will be in heaven. 

I used a lot of things that were just lying in my pantry, so feel free to experiment and pick out the spices the spices that work for you, but I can assure you that garlic and lemon are the just classic and amazing.

So without more ado, here's a recipe for my favourite roast chicken



Mediterranean Yogurt, Raisin and Sumac Roast Chicken
Serves 3

Ingredients
For the Marinade
1 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pinch of saffron
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sumac

For the stuffing
1 preserved lemon
1 regular lemon
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion sliced
50 grams raisins

For the vegetables
1 potato, thickly sliced
1 onion, thickly sliced
2 tsp raisins
1 preserved lemon chopped.

Final basting
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sumac

Method
1. Mix all the things for the marination into a bowl and then marinate the chicken, breast-side down overnight.
2. Arrange the onions and potatoes into an oven proof dish. Add in the raisins and the chopped preserved lemons. Pour 1/2 cup of marinade over it and set aside.
3. Stuff the chicken with the said ingredients and truss and tie the chicken 
4. Place it on top of the vegetables. Mix all the things together for the final basting and rub the chicken with it.

5. Bake in a preheated oven for 2 hours, covering the top of the bird for the first one hour. Let it rest for 30 minutes before eating.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Baking | Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Chips




What is a point of a skillet brownie you are bound to ask? How different is it from a regular brownie will be your next question? Do you need a skillet to bake them only, is a question weighing your mind down?

Don't worry this post will answer all that and more.

I'll be honest here, I have been wanting to make a skillet brownie ever since Sangeeta gave me this cast iron skillet a few years ago. But somehow I just forgot all about it, until I was rummaging through my prop cabinet and I found it sitting right at the bottom.



A skillet brownie is a dessert you make when you want to impress someone. It's a one pot brownie that needs no cutting but instead is served up like a pudding. With a scoop of ice cream on top there is nothing better than a warm decadent piece of chocolate brownie. Slightly more fudgey than a normal brownie, this requires a bit of chocolate and cocoa to give it that texture. Lesser flour and more chocolate.

Ofcourse you are free to throw in whatever you'd like into it -peanut butter, marshmallows, walnuts, cherries, cream cheese - this recipe is just so versatile that it will take just about anything. I, ofcourse, wanted it to be as full of chocolate as I could, and so used only chocolate chips.

I think, I'd like to take a moment and celebrate the glorious moment where cast iron meets chocolate and yes, while you can bake this in any other mould, the skillet just bakes it to fudgey gloriousness that is hard to beat.




Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Chips
Serves 3


Ingredients
100 grams of butter
200 grams of dark chocolate
1 egg
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coffee granules (such as Nescafe)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Method
1. Grease your skillet and keep aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degree centigrade.
2. In a large bowl melt the chocolate and the butter together in the microwave. Stir well and keep aside.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients, apart from the chocolate chips, into the chocolate mix and stir until well combined. Using a whisk, stir the mix for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Now add three quarters of the chips into this mix. Stir well. And pour into the skillet. Top with remaining chips.
5. Bake this for 20-25 minutes only. The skewer should come out slightly damp. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve with ice cream of your choice.



Monday, August 8, 2016

Baking | Eggless Lemon & Blueberry Mini Cheesecakes



I spent a good part of July just sorting my life out. From running to doctors for health check ups to eating more fruits and vegetables and to meeting interesting people that just made me want to do more things.

The reason I say this is because for a good part of the year I have felt nothing but uninspired. I haven't wanted to cook or create something new. Or pick up the camera to shoot or to even browse through recipe books that would motivate me to make things right now. But now, now I am feeling way better. Or atleast I am not exhausted when I get out of bed anymore.


So a hectic July later, I thought I deserved a bit of a break in August. This weekend I treated myself to a whole day of me-time. I went for a movie alone, which I honestly feel is the best way to watch a film. I went to the spa and got that crick in my neck out. I treated myself to a delicious meal at a fancy Italian restaurant. I bought some props for the blog and finally went grocery shopping. I spent the evening in the company of my little cousin S and the dogs at home and I fell asleep to the gentle snore of the husband.



Why am I sharing this with you? Because I realise so many of us just keep trying to balance it all out without taking a break. I think balance is overrated. I think we are meant to fall apart to restart over and over again. Which is why even a 6-hour mini break is a good way to restart.

I know that when I take that time out for myself, I am in a good mood (until I am not) and I am able to cope with everything around me quite effortlessly. Which is I managed to squeeze in a bit of baking too this weekend, and by that I mean, quite effortlessly.

I made these delicious eggless lemon cheesecakes that had been whirling in my mind for a bit. I made them with a combination of yogurt, creamcheese, cream and condensed milk and they came out just perfect. I think this is a good base to start something new. I have like a million ideas that I could do with these, but I settled for the classic flavours of lemon and blueberry - only because I had a box of blueberries in the freezer.

I baked these up in a cupcake tray but you could easily bake them as a complete cheesecake too. I just find it way easier to do portion control when I make mini versions, otherwise I am quite capable of eating the whole thing up.

That said, these mini cheesecakes bake up very quickly so you need to watch them closely. You can use any topping you'd like - lemon curd, jam, compote or just leave them naked. The choice is yours.




Eggless Lemon & Blueberry Cheesecakes
Makes 15

Ingredients

For the cheesecake
100 grams Digestive biscuits
1 tblsp butter
200 grams Creamcheese
200 grams cream
200 grams yogurt
200 grams condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup blueberries

For the topping
100 grams raspberry jam
1/2 cup blueberries
Extra blueberries for scattering

Method

1. In a ziploc bag crush the biscuits using a rolling pin. Keep aside.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave and add the biscuit crumbs to it. Mix well.
3. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners and add two teaspoons of biscuit crumb mix into each liner. Press down using the back of the spoon till well packed. Keep aside.
4. In a bowl whisk together yogurt, creamcheese, cream, condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon until smooth.
5. Pour the mix into the biscuit lined tray, until 3/4 full. Scatter the blueberries into each mix.
6. Bake at 160 degree for 20 minutes or until slightly jiggly in the center. Remove and let cool for 4 to 6 hours.
7. For the topping add the raspberry jam into saucepan with 1/2 cup of blueberries. Cook for 5 minutes, until the jam and blueberries look like they belong together.
8. Spoon over the mini cheesecakes and scatter more blueberries on top just before serving.


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