Year: 2012

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Rose Custard Creams

Eggless Rose Custard Creams

I remember the days my brother and I would raid the biscuit selection box, grabbing our favourites before the other one could get their paws on them. In our house, it was always the jammy dodgers, bourbons and custard creams that went first. I first spotted this recipe on The Boy Who Bakes, Edd Kimber’s website whilst doing some last-minute baking for a party. Short, delicate butter biscuits with a hint of vanilla sandwiched with that sweet custard flavour I’ve loved since I was a kid. To say Edd’s recipe is heavenly would be an understatement. For me, milk and cookies has always evoked memories of ice cold rose milk and shortbread in the summer sun at my aunt’s house. My brother would complain and demand chocolate Nesquik, meaning I got to guzzle down his share of bright-pink rose milk too. Winner. Combining the two flavours of my childhood was a no brainer – adding a hint of lemon thyme was a last-minute addition which worked a treat. These make lovely gifts for Christmas (they …

Mombasa-style Kachori

Mombasa-style Daal Kachori

Spiced Daal and Green Mango in Flaky Pastry Deep fried starters; once you eat one, you’ll always go back for a second. Fact. Kachori are like the forgotten little sister of samosa – the underdog starter that accidently slipped through the fingers of Western restaurateurs. I cannot emphasise enough how good lentils are with sweet, hot and sour flavours. The addition of sour green mango cuts through the richness of the daal and spices and balances the deep heat of the chillies, ginger and cinnamon perfectly. These kachori are inspired by those sold at the famous Bhagwanjis sweet mart in Mombasa, Kenya. My entire family raves about Kenya-style kachori and these, along with Bateta Vada, are guaranteed to put a smile on my dad’s face. And I can vouch that he has great taste. Kachori come in all flavours, shapes and sizes. You can stuff the classic flaky pastry with crushed green peas, urad daal or even potatoes. They can be made into UFO-like patties and topped with yoghurt, chopped onions and tomatoes to make …

Devnaa

Devnaa – Indian Inspired Chocolates

You, more than anyone know how much I love Indian-inspired desserts. When the lovely guys at Devnaa sent me a box of their spice-infused chocolates, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Cinnamon-laced dark chocolate, chocolate burfi and cardamom truffles sent me into a very welcome sugar coma. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful packaging. Deep purple and orange mendhi-inspired patterns, crepe paper and gold emboss – this beautiful box of chocs felt like it was created especially for me and my passion for fusion flavours. The caramels were by far my favourite. And they weren’t just any caramels – they were silky smooth and full of rich, buttery flavours. I’d devour an entire box of these, without a doubt. Another delicious surprise was the dark chocolate, cardamom and coconut number. With one little corner dipped in desiccated coconut, the coconut flavour wasn’t overpowered by the cardamom flavour which I was at first sceptical about. Other flavours included strawberry burfi covered in white chocolate, chai masala milk chocolate, crunchy cinnamon praline, saffron and …

How to Make Cupcakes in a Blender

How to Make Cupcakes in a Blender & More

This month I had my first taste of fame, albeit, a little taste (my hands did all the work). Maybe I’ve got the hands for telly, but a face for radio! Working for Food Network has opened up so many doors for me and my passion for food continues to grow every day. September saw the launch of a brilliant video series for Magimix which I was lucky enough to be able to produce and star in. The ten tutorials show some pretty nifty ways with Magimix’s nifty new food processor, including how to make gorgeous chocolate cupcakes, spicy sweet potato mash, banana sour cream pancakes and more in a food processor. As always, I’d never not share my food adventures with you so here they are. Check them out and let me know what you think of my handy work!   Video: How to Make Cupcakes in a Blender (click pic to watch)   Video: How to Make Pancakes in a Blender (click pic to watch) Video: How to Make Pastry in a Blender …

Mini Mushroom, Kalonji and Feta Pies Large

Mini Mushroom, Kalonji and Feta Pies

It’s safe to say that when it comes to pastry-making, I’m no professional. However, when I was challenged via Facebook, to come up with a hearty lunch idea, I was determined to deliver something good. And we all know pies are good. These mini pies (made in a muffin tin because as I’ve discovered, I’m rather ill-equipped) are stuffed with a mixture of sautéed Portobello and chestnut mushrooms, sharp feta cheese, kalonji seeds and lemon thyme. They’re perfectly portable so you won’t have any trouble taking a couple to work, and even though they’re small, they’ll fill your belly no matter what. Hot water crust pastry is usually made with lard because butter is seen to have too much of a rich flavour for the traditional pork pies it’s used to make. Obviously there’s no lard lurking in my fridge, but there is plenty of butter. I think the butter in my pastry can stand up to the vegetarian filling because of the robust mushrooms and sharp feta having enough flavour to balance it out. …

Paneer Gua Bao

Paneer Gua Bao – Taiwanese Folded Buns

I first fell in love with the spongy, cloud-like morsels that are Taiwanese folded buns when I sampled them from popular London street vendors, Yum Bun (introduced to me by my friend Cheaper by the Oven). After hearing all the Momofuku hype, these little burger-like buns had finally reached the streets of Britain. My first folded bun was filled with juicy Portabello mushrooms and crunchy, miso-glazed walnuts and they stirred one question in me. Gua Bao, where have you been all my life?! Re-creating the buns at home has been my mission for the last few months and putting an Indo-vegetarian twist on them was essential. Can you guess what’s coming? I couldn’t imagine anything but replacing the traditional pork belly filling with meaty slices of spicy paneer. My paneer slices are first marinated in a sticky-sweet soy and 5 spice sauce, then grilled until golden. Stuff the slices into homemade Taiwanese buns, along with wafer-thin cucumber, shredded spring onions, roasted peanuts and a squirt of Sriracha, a fiery Asian chilli sauce. If paneer doesn’t …

Sizzling Chilli Idli (F)

Sizzling Chilli Idli

There’s nothing more OTT than being the table that orders the ‘sizzler’ in a restaurant; the loud crackling noise, the aromatic waft of spices and the annoyingly smug smiles on the diners’ faces. It immediately reminds me of how it feels to be on the receiving end as I sit there with my lacklustre Aloo Chaat, thinking, ‘Sizzlers are so overrated and tacky… but I’ll get one next time. It’s a love/hate thing. Whether it’s crowned with vegetables, paneer, cassava or meat, sizzlers are notorious for their sticky, spicy sauces made with plenty of chilli and garlic. It’s not something you’d order on a first date. I’m not ashamed to admit I own a sizzler (purely for showing-off purposes) and although you know my first love in life is paneer, I’m sizzling up something more unusual this time. Idli or South Indian rice cakes are made with ground rice and split urad daal which have been gently steamed. Because idli are so perfect fresh from the steamer, leftovers are often overlooked (at my house, anyway). …

Vitumbua - Tanzanian Doughnuts

Vitumbua – Tanzanian Doughnuts

Jambo! Flicking through rare East African cookbooks fills me with that familiar, comforting feeling of when I cosy up with my favourite Indian ones. Being nourished with a mishmash of Indian, African and British food has all my life, allowed me to connect and experiment with the culinary cultures of all these cuisines. In other words, I’ve been spoilt and have loved every minute of it. Hell, I’ve been rabbiting on about it to you all since 2009. For my generation, it feels like the Indian influence on East African cooking is a hush-hush camp, with recipes hidden away inside the spirits of expat grandparents, parents, aunties and uncles. As sad as it may sound, I’m a 23-year old girl worried that Zanzibar Trail Mix, Malindi Halwa and Ugandan Kasodi will one day be forgotten by my Indo-Chinese-obsessed peers – and that’s deep, bro. In the name of doing my bit to preserve the East African cuisine my family are so proud of, I’d like to introduce you to Vitumbua. These Tanzanian rice flour doughnuts …

Garlic and Coriander Naan Large

Garlic and Coriander Naan

When it comes to guilty pleasures, along with paneer, naan is up there on my list. Brushed with the most flavoursome fresh garlic and coriander butter, these are so perfect for pairing with any Indian curry or daal. They’re soft, slightly chewy and a little charred in places – this balance of textures is so characteristic of good naan. Naan is one of India’s most famous breads, and probably the most well-known in British Asian restaurants. Very rarely do I leave an Indian restaurant without having filled my belly with garlic and coriander naan – lest they just so happen to have garlic, coriander and chilli naan on the menu (in which case, I’ll take two). Whenever I’m making naan, I love to add kalonji (nigella) seeds – they impart that special flavour you definitely know, but somehow can never put your finger on. They’re aromatic, slightly bitter, but have an incredibly delicious flavour which mellows out when baked into the bread. Yeast and plain yoghurt help to leaven the naan whilst keeping them moist …

strawberry cheesecake falooda

Strawberry Cheesecake Falooda

  Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you’re in a restaurant and your waiter or waitress appears from the kitchen with your order? And also hate it when you think it’s yours but it’s really for the table next to you? I guess it just affirms that we’re all big kids just waiting to be fed at heart. When I think of Falooda I think of my dad and the big smile that emerges on his face whenever he rumbles the fact there’s something sweet on the menu. We’re two peas in a pod. When I was little he used to take the whole family to a favourite restaurant in either Leicester or Bradford on a Sunday afternoon and we’d have the most memorable family meals. Mum would order something classy and simple, Dad would get the thali and my brother and I would squabble over whether they put coriander in the daal or not. Regardless of what Ravi and I were arguing about, Dad would always diffuse the situation by asking …

Get Your Recipe Published

Get Your Recipe Published!

As I gear up to post a brand new recipe this weekend, I’d just like to share an amazing opportunity with you. You can get your very own recipe published in a book! If you have a baking recipe you’d like to see alongside the likes of Ina Garten, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith, you need to submit it today. It’s also worth noting that the book is in aid of The Ben Kinsella Trust, a charity working to raise awareness of knife crime and fighting to eradicate it and its devastating consequences. My lovely readers, this is truly your chance to shine and also show your support for a great cause. A couple of years ago I had my recipe for Melt in the Mouth Paneer Kofta published in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook; it was an incredible feeling and also great motivation for my career in food writing. Seeing your little work of art in print alongside great food writers is such a privilege and also pretty damn exciting. Plus, you …

Kashmiri Dum Aloo (3)

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

There’s nothing more comforting than meltingly-soft potatoes enveloped in creamy, spicy-sweet sauce – even when it’s dinner for one at the Modha residence. Nobody likes cooking for one, do they? For me, it’s a tedious task knowing I’m the only one who will get to sample my efforts. I’m a feeder – I come from a long line of feeders who taught one another to feed others until they could eat no more. Like my mum, I’ll make dinner by the bucket load regardless of whether I’m feeding one mouth or ten. It’s most definitely in our blood. I understand this is the case for lots of Indian girls who are told from a young age that finding the perfect husband involves filling his belly with spicy food, carbs and sugar. Either it’s the way to a heart or the way to heart problems – I forget which one. That’s not to say I started cooking to find a fella. Hell, I started cooking because I was an eight-year old chubster with a penchant for …