All posts tagged: fruit

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Classic Vegetable Biryani

Classic Vegetable Biryani

There is a word in Indian cooking that used to send a chill down my spine every time it was uttered – biryani. I was never suspicious of the biryani because it’s difficult to cook, but because it’s typically served as a main course. As a little girl, rice had always been a side dish for me – something to go with the daal or to soak up a sauce. It didn’t matter if the rice was bland because there were other dishes on the table to perk it up. But when I discovered the world of biryani, there was a shift in balance – the rice had become the star of the show and everything it was cooked with had to taste good. If it didn’t, the whole dinner went to pot. But now I’m a fully-fledged member of the biryani lovers club, I’m here to offer a lesson in how easy preparing it can really be, provided you know the basics. Spice notes Spice mixtures for biryanis tend to vary depending on the …

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Eggless Peach and Cardamom Bakewell Tarts

Peach and Cardamom Bakewell Tarts Like Beyoncé, who transforms into her alter-ego, the confident ‘Sasha Fierce’ on stage, I had to take on a new persona before I embarked upon making my first pastry for the latest Food Network UK recipe challenge using seasonal peaches. But a three-octave vocal range and bootylicious behind wasn’t going to help me in the kitchen – not today anyway. To make the perfect tart, I would need to become someone whose skills lay in the art of flour and butter, a pastry mastermind. And then it hit me – I needed to become Andy Bates. The recipe itself is a simple concept. It’s a pepped-up version of the very English Bakewell Tart, using traditional ground almonds in the tart shell, peach jam, an eggless almond sponge mix, fresh peach slices and a cardamom-spiked mascarpone cream to serve. Sounds adventurous but if I, the world’s worst pastry maker, can do it, you shouldn’t have any problems. Be sure to check out the blog post and recipe and please leave a …

peach-chutney

Peach and Cinnamon Chutney

  I will make chutney from any fruits I can get my hands on. Fact.   Whether it’s ripe, unripe, something I love or something I’m not too keen on, turning it in to chutney is guaranteed to make it better.   There’s something about seasonal peaches bubbling away in their own syrupy goodness that makes me feel like somewhat of a domestic goddess. I’m filling the house with a beautiful, fruity aroma and there’s no aerosol or plug-in air freshener in sight. Magic.   Whenever I see an abundance of fruits at a great price, I know what I need to do. The first step is to select the perfect spice partners; I think of classic dishes which pair fruits and spices – Shrikhand, biryani and light and creamy curries. This time it was grilled peaches with cinnamon sugar. It just makes sense.   A touch of ground ginger and Kashmiri chilli adds warmth and the savoury notes iconic of Indian-style chutneys I grew up eating with flatbreads like rotli, naan and paratha.   …

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Mughlai Apricot Biryani

The past few days have been spent planning an elaborate baking mission composed of sweet treats to make your heart cry out for a detox – though I’m not yet ready for said detox. In honour of all things royal wedding, I’m creating a banquet fit for kings and queens. Our party spread will be formed of rich, sweet and spicy dishes for us to present to our family and guests so they can ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ over it while we take all the credit for such an extravagant and mouth watering menu. Biryani is a bit like a newborn kitten – except you don’t cook nor eat newborn kittens. It requires heaps of concentration, patience and love. Each individual component needs to be prepared to just the right level before the ingredients can be assembled in a harmonious fashion, and then gently steamed to create an insanely delicious smelling and tasting dish to fight over at the dinner table.   Swollen soaked saffron strands   In the last post we discussed the origins of …

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Rhubarb and Anise Chutney

  I’m stepping into rhubarb terriory. My motto concerning fruits and veggies unknown has always been: If all ideas fail, just chutney it. This week’s recipe challenge for Food Network UK: Create a recipe using a secret seasonal ingredient chosen by the FN UK HQ’s, Chopped style. My latest recipe for the Food Network UK blog is for Rhubarb and Anise Chutney. It was a ‘Chopped’ style challenge (if you’re an avid Food Network fan, you’ll know all about it. If not, you need to switch on the TV and start watching). Good old British rhubarb reminds me of the times I spent devouring crumbles made with ‘proper’ Yorkshire rhubarb while growing up. It also brings back the not-so fond memories of the hideous bellyaches I had after polishing off entire ‘quarter’ bags of rhubarb and custard sweets from my pa’s sweet shop. If you’re a chutney person you really need to bottle up a few jars of this to keep in the fridge. It’s great on toast, in sandwiches with cheese and spread on …

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Eggless Milk Chocolate and Raspberry Puddings

Happy Thursday, readers. You’re probably wondering why on earth I’m posting on a weekday. No, I don’t have a day off to chillax with a steaming cuppa chai. Sob. Ingredients 200g milk chocolate, chopped finely 120ml double cream 2-3 tsp framboise liqueur Raspberries and icing sugar to decorate For the shortbread 125g butter, room temperature 180g plain flour 1 tsp lemon zest 2 drops of lemon extract (optional) 65g caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of the shortbreads   Method 1. To make the puddings, heat the cream in a saucepan until just before boiling point. Remove from the heat. 2. Add the chopped chocolate and framboise liqueur to the cream. Stir the mixture very gently until all of the chocolate has melted. 3. Pour into small ramekins (they’re very rich!), top with a few raspberries and allow to cool. After around 20 minutes, place the ramekins in the fridge until 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve. 4. To make the shortbreads, preheat the oven to 150°C. 5. Cream together the butter …

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Eggless Christmas Cupcakes

Temperatures are dropping, frosty sheens are crystallising everything within reach, and the only way to hold on to your marbles is with Eggless Christmas Cupcakes. A reader took the time to email me a couple of months ago with a request for eggless Christmas cake. The ever popular fruit cake around Christmastime is imperative, so why should non-egg eaters miss out on the goodies? The festive flavours of mixed fruits, nuts and spices fill the house with the most comforting seasonal aroma whilst these pretty cupcakes bake. Simply irresistible. I wanted to create a small twist on conventional Christmas cake by making easy to serve cupcakes, but keeping the flavours traditional and reminiscent of the season was also a must. These little bites of Christmas have been iced with marzipan and white icing in the usual fashion. And although they have been loaded with dried fruits, nuts and spices, I’ve purposely kept them light and not too overpowering or dense. If you’re taking pictures at 4pm in the UK, you may as well be taking …

Summer Berry Shrikhand

I’m a massive clinger. Ever since the summer sun disappeared behind these pesky autumnal clouds, I’ve been doing everything in my power to cling on to the warm days which were so quickly snatched away from me. Sniff. Due to my recent bitterness towards not receiving delicious freebies on my doorstep like a certain Mr. P, I enquired about sampling some Greek yogurt from Total. Fage Total are specialists in yogurt making and their product range includes choices for all kinds of yogurt lovers. Their full fat Greek yogurt is exactly the thing I need for making Shrikhand. They even have 0% fat and 2% fat Greek yogurts which are perfect for cooking. Bring. Them. On. I’ve been rambling on about Shrikhand for absolutely ages, teasing you with recipes like Eggless Saffron and Lemon Shrikhand Cheesecake and Shrikhand Spice Lamingtons. Evil, no? In all seriousness, I’ve actually been meaning to do this for a long time and thanks to Total, I finally had the motivation to get it done. I chose to combine my sweetened, spiced …

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Fiery Plum Conserve

One day I shall pay for this sweet sugar addiction of mine Purple is definitely the colour trend of the season over here. As autumn approaches, every clothes shop is bursting at the seams with plums, violets and amethysts. Not only does this make choosing clothes really difficult, but it also fills my mind with thoughts of seasonal produce and autumn flavours. That’s right, I think about food when I shop for clothes. There’s something seriously wrong there. I felt the urge to jump on the purple preserve bandwagon after Mr. P of Delicious Delicious Delicious made a stunning blackberry jam from a portion of the 5kg of sugar he found on his doorstep one morning (here’s the story). Regardless of the fact that there is a distinct lack of freebies coming my way (gosh, I’m so bitter), P’s jam looked so divine that I had to follow suit. I think that aniseed adds an extra dimension to both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s deep, liquorice-like flavour provides sweet dishes with a savoury edge, and …

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Fruity Greengage Chutney

I love fruits with spice. Not just any spice, mind you. Some fruits are made for particular spices, some not so much. It’s a bit like a school playground for the tastebuds. Let’s ponder this a little more; oranges love cloves like apples love cinnamon… and star anise fancies a little apple and orange. It’s a love triangle. Lemon and cardamom have been lifelong chums and are always ready indulge in a spot of tag, but if anyone else tries to join in they get a little uneasy. Oh, and strawberries are fond of black pepper but black pepper doesn’t really enjoy playing with other summer berries.   Do you follow? Experimenting with fruits and spices is like entering yourself into a lottery where the combinations are extensive, as are the possibilities of amazing as well as not so amazing results. You’ve just got to be prepared to take a gamble. Are you feeling lucky? I won’t lie; I have a tooth as sweet as a diabetic’s craving for syrup, so I only have one …

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Chilled Sunshine Berry Soup

Are you ready to be transported to a world of fresh, sweet flavours? First, come with me on a strawberry picking adventure… Watch out for the nettles   … And bugs!   And don’t pick the green ones. No, we’re not talking fingers up noses. Although, I wouldn’t advise that either   Shall we chill?     Chilled soups: They linger like loiterers, typed upon dog-eared menus in questionable restaurants. Surely this cannot be true? When I first saw a similar recipe in Kurma Dasa’s Great Vegetarian Dishes, I thought to myself, ‘how is a chilled soup any different to umm… Fruit juice?!’ I hear echoes of you asking me the same question. So, this distinction is imperative to our exploration of chilled fruit soups- which, by the way, are refreshing and delicious. It’s not that I’m biased or anything. Our fruit soup is sweet, but not fruit juice sweet, smoothie sweet or even preserve sweet. That would be sacrilege. It is slightly sweet, made silky smooth with cornflour, and finished on a slightly savoury …

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Eggless Crème Brûlée

Firstly, I’d like to apologise to the French for this recipe. I can only imagine the kind of chaos an eggless banana and cardamom crème brûlée would cause. It’s not even the cool sort of chaos. I’ve been working on this recipe for eggless crème brûlée for a while now and I think it’s about time I unveiled it before your hungry eyes. You’re probably thinking that this dish is notorious for being laced with eggs and that I’m a total nutcase for thinking otherwise. But trust me… It can be made beautifully without. Otherwise I wouldn’t be typing this right now. Eggs add a certain richness to crème brûlée which I reinterpreted as ‘banana’. Cute. I mean that I replaced the eggs with pureed banana which adds a velvety texture to the custard, along with a subtle banana flavour. I added cornflour to act as a setting agent just as eggs help set the custard in a usual crème brûlée. So you don’t have to worry about your custard turning into scrambled eggs when …