All posts filed under: International Cuisine

Vegan Saffron Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests 1

Vegan Saffron, Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been fascinated by meringues. There’s something so magical about those white, fluffy clouds of sweet vanilla. The chewy goodness of pavlovas, with their marshmallow-like middles and cratered tops that are begging to be dolloped with whipped cream and crowned with berries. So beautiful, yet nigh on impossible without egg whites which somehow, when whipped up, have more volume than Claudia Schiffer’s barnet in a L’Oréal Elnett ad. Well that’s what I always thought… until now. The protein in egg whites allows the air bubbles created by lots of whipping to be held. Sugar dissolves into these proteins and bonds with them. The water in sugar helps increases their strength and elasticity, allowing even more air to be trapped and held sturdy. There’s nothing quite like a stiff peak. Without the strong proteins present in egg whites to kick the meringue process off, all you’re left with is sugar. What can vegans and those who abstain from eating eggs use instead? Fear not, we no longer need to be oblivious …

Mint Chocolate Fondants with Fennel Seed Creme Fraiche

Eggless Mint Chocolate Fondants & Fennel Seed Crème Fraîche

There are some flavour combinations that just shouldn’t be messed with. Mint and chocolate is one of them. The Mr isn’t a fan of desserts. I’ll often spend hours in the kitchen trying to perfect eggless and vegan cakes, cheesecakes, cookies and brownies. Yet no matter how happy I am with how one might have turned out (which, I’ll be honest, doesn’t happen often), he still won’t touch it. Unless it’s mint chocolate. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like ice cream. That changed when I met my husband. I’ll be honest, I thought it was super weird. The one exception to his no-ice-cream rule is mint chocolate, it has to be totally frozen (soft serve is never an option), topped with strawberry syrup and hazelnuts. Just. So. Weird. So here I am. It’s Valentine’s Day – which for the record, I think is a load of old bollocks. We don’t do presents and ridiculous extravagant gestures – we never have and never will. However, it isn’t very often he doesn’t work weekends so when …

Salted Sesame Caramel Bars

Sesame Salted Caramel Bars

My name is Sanjana and I’m a caramelholic. Rich, luxurious caramel with a pinch of sea salt reminds me of the gooey-centered masterpieces I overindulged on in my favourite Parisian chocolateries some years ago. These days, whenever I hear the words ‘salted caramel’, my ears prick up like a meerkat on predator watch. And because it’s become so popular, this happens often. In this recipe, I’ve paired salted caramel with toasted sesame seeds, dark chocolate and a touch of coconut oil. Trust me when I say this flavour combo will take you straight to heaven. Nutty sesame seeds are ground and added into the biscuit base before being topped with a ridiculously-generous amount of salted caramel blended with coconut oil. The caramel is then set and crowned with sesame oil-spiked dark chocolate. Be sure to line your tin with plenty of greaseproof paper and groundnut oil to make sure they don’t stick. Try to chill overnight and cut with a super-sharp and hot knife. The deep, nutty flavours make these bars the perfect after-dinner treat …

Vegan Masala Cauliflower and Broccoli Tacos with Avocado Sauce Large

Vegan Masala Cauliflower and Broccoli Tacos with Avocado Sauce

I love sitting at the table and enjoying a meal that was created for sharing. Whether it’s a one-pot curry or daal, a hearty salad with warm bread, or these cauliflower and broccoli tacos. With all of the fillings served at the table, this vegan dinner is perfect for assembling as you eat. That way, you can add more or less of whatever you like. The only problem you might have is fitting it all into the one wrap. I’ve made that mistake way more than I care to remember – especially when there’s avocado and coriander sauce involved. The batter is puffy, light and packed with spices reminiscent of bhajia – a super popular Indian starter. Like fish tacos, the bite-sized vegetables are coated and fried until golden and crispy. It’s best to do this right before serving so they’re hot and delicious for your vegan tacos. Packed with lime, garlic and yoghurt, the creamy sauce is perfectly balanced to douse any heat from the fried green chillies. It’s so tempting to eat it …

Saffron Rice Pudding with Brulee Bananas (2)

Saffron Rice Pudding with Banana Brûlée

I’ve been rushing around like a mad woman on too many jalebis this month. Developing recipes (which I’ll show you later), catching up with friends I haven’t seen since our wedding and generally thinking about what to blog about next. Sifting through my mum’s handwritten recipes, clippings and annotations on pudding recipes, I once again became a tubby eight year old. Making Indian sweets like white chocolate penda, butterfly burfi (milk fudge with almond ‘butterfly wings’ like the buns we used to make at school) with mum was what made me so passionate about playing with food. She fuelled my curiosity for learning about how flavours really work and our shared enthusiasm for putting an Indian spin on everything. It is something I try to practice every single day.  We’d always make enough to feed the five thousand so quite often, the puddings would be taken to our temple for prashad – food which has been offered to the gods. Once it has been ‘blessed’ the food can be shared.  Unashamedly, this was my favourite …

Mombasa Kachri Bateta

Mombasa Kachri Bateta

I’ve always strived to be a great cook like my grandfathers. My parents tell me their Gujarati and East African classics like Mombasa-Style Daal Kachori, Jalebi Paratha, gathia were inspiring. Their tips and tricks are recalled in the conversations of our extended family with a joy that I cannot even describe. I wish they’d have been here long enough for me to watch them at work. Someone who had the pleasure of spending many hours in the kitchen with my Bapuji (paternal grandfather) was my wonderful aunt in Mombasa, Kenya. She’s an incredibly-talented cook with an edible garden I could only dream of. Packed with mangoes, coconuts, bananas, tree tomatoes and herbs, she’s an expert at cooking everything from Gujarati classics, to East African staples. When I visited their family home last year, I was treated to it all and my word was it dreamy. One of the dishes she cooked up was this Mombasa Kachri Bateta – a light potato stew with sour green mangoes, topped with coconut fresh from the garden and fried …

Salted Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

Salted Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

Life is sweet. Three weekends ago, my fiancée and I had our Hindu engagement ceremony. It was a big, beautiful blur of family, friends, flowers, faith, and food. After all the commotion of planning the event, all I feel like doing is putting on my lion-print onesie, staying home and baking something sweet. These eggless cinnamon rolls can be made with pretty much any filling you like. I’ve even used the recipe to make this Cardamom Wreath with Rose Drizzle and Candied Lemon Peel. You can add chocolate, dried fruit, nuts and any spices you fancy, making it as simple or as complicated as you like. My colleague at Food Network UK and fashion blogger, Jo’s Clothes is the biggest baked goods fiend I’ve ever met – no lie. After asking her thoughts on what I should bake this weekend, she mentioned our favourite cinnamon roll recipe from Lotte Duncan. It’s so easy and utterly delicious. I fell asleep last night thinking about how I could put my own spin on it and here’s what …

Tamarind Glazed Tofu Sliders (F)

Tamarind-Glazed Tofu Sliders with Kachumbar Slaw

Yes, I’m back. After a week in Mombasa, six weeks of family time and a week of tech issues, I felt it was time I blogged again. I offer you a summer spread of these mini burgers filled with tamarind-glazed grilled tofu, masala potato wedges and spicy Indian slaw (kachumbar). When I was young, my dad would call me from work at 6.30pm to ask me to quickly make his favourite kachumbar before he arrived home in time for one of mum’s gorgeous home-cooked dinners. It was always a pleasure and allowed me to perfect the recipe – one which now has a very special place in my heart. Even though kachumbar means ‘cucumber’ but I often make it without. I often just crave the simplicity of juicy tomatoes, red onions and mixed spices. For this recipe, I’ve added grated carrots, cucumbers and spring onions to create a kachumbar-inspired slaw to offer a delicious crunch to these tofu sliders. Masala wedges are a staple at home and are usually made with either sweet potatoes or …

Cardamom Wreath with Rose Drizzle and Candied Lemon Peel

Cardamom Wreath with Rose Drizzle and Candied Lemon Peel

I’ve been craving cinnamon rolls all week. Soft, buttery bread with crispy edges, heaps of spice and the best part – lashings of sweet icing. Whenever I make Lotte Duncan’s version with maple icing, they fill the house with the most mouth-watering scent of fresh bread.   In fact, I love Lotte’s buttery cinnamon roll recipe so much, I used it as the basis for my Indian-inspired wreath here. The basic white dough is rolled with a shameless amount of butter, ground cardamom and cinnamon, twisted into a Finnish bakery-style wreath and placed in a hot oven. Once baked, I couldn’t help but drizzle it with icing made with rose syrup (the kind I use to make my Strawberry Cheesecake Falooda), and then scattered with homemade candied lemon peel and pistachios. Need I say more? Okay, let me explain the beauty of these flavours together… The spicy cardamom and cinnamon combined with sugar and butter create the most amazing, rich flavour once baked inside the dough. The fluffy bread mops up the buttery juices and …

15 Minute Saffron and Courgette Pasta

15 Minute Saffron and Courgette Pasta

  Never will I be a girl who orders a salad in a restaurant. I may be vegetarian but my appetite longs for more than a few pesky leaves. I’m usually the one who eats around the salad that comes with a meal, pushing it to the edge of the plate after it’s been wilted to mulch from the heat of the real food. Often, I need nothing more than carbs in a creamy sauce. Fast. The simplicity of this pasta is exactly what makes it so special – take just seven ingredients and fifteen minutes and you’ll have an indulgent dinner with a touch of class. Your date, friends or family will believe you really pushed the boat out for them. For best results, don’t admit the truth. Without a doubt, the star of the recipe is the saffron; simmered in double cream until the cream becomes a pale yellow with a delicate flavour. You’ll only need a tiny pinch for a heap of deep muskiness. It’s important not to go overboard with the …

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 …