Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chocolate Ice-cream with Hazelnuts

Chocolate Ice-cream with Hazelnuts 

I think most people love a scoop of icecream. It can literally be called happiness in a scoop and when chocolate meets hazelnut it just makes things better.

Growing up in Calcutta the only ice-cream I knew about was Kwality's ice-cream . I am not talking of the brand , Kwality Wall's which is also very popular in India  but a very old restaurant in Kolkata which served these slices of ice-cream. This was of course the era pre internet and before I developed a keen interest in trying out new recipes.

I remember the first time I read up about ice-cream over the internet. What amazed me, was that in India ice-cream is typically a vegetarian dessert made sans the eggs whereas  most traditional recipes use eggs. I instinctively knew that the addition of eggs, especially egg yolks would render the ice-cream richer, silkier and smoother. I still remember how delighted I was when I made my first batch. Of course I was disappointed because I over-froze it and there were these tiny bits of ice-crystals , a complete disaster for ice-creams.

While I was living for a year in South Africa I realized that making ice-cream automatically means addition of eggs to people from South Africa . To be fair the best ice-cream I have had was from one of my favourite bakeries ever in a tiny town called Stellenbosch. Schoon de Companje not only has some amazing croissants and sourdough loaves to offer to their customers but they have a section for fresh homemade icecream and that was the best ice-cream ever. They definitely win hands down over any mass produced brand be it Movenpick or Haagen Dazs the only other brands I am familiar with which use eggs.

Anyway my first tryst with making ice-cream was a good 8 years ago and over the years thanks to cookbooks and many many many recipes that are there on the internet I tried my hands at several recipes and while I am assuming I might just try a new technique in the future for now this recipe works beautifully for me.

In India we dont get fresh cream with a fat percentage over 25% and for desserts frankly one does need a much higher fat percentage so working with the easily available cream is our biggest challenge but with a bit of time management etc you can just about have ice crystal free icecream. Working with chocolate ice-cream is much more easy since there is the additional fat from cocoa butter which helps take care of ice crystals.

So here goes the recipe - Serves 4 to 6
Egg yolks from 3 large eggs
80gram caster sugar ( One can increase it to 100gm)
Around 200ml to 300ml fresh dairy cream
Frankly the last time I made this icecream I didnt measure the amount of chocolate but why dont you try adding it bit by bit and see what works for you. ( I think I had used approximately about 80gm to 100gm chocolate)
In case you dont have access to proper cooking chocolate (not the compound shit which has vegetable fat instead of the real cocoa butter ) I would suggest using some cocoa butter + cacao powder - about 40gm cocoa butter and say 3 tbsp to 4 tbsp cocoa powder
Milk as per requirement only if using cocoa butter + cocoa powder

Start by whipping the egg yolks and sugar over a double boiler till it reaches the ribbon stage. Its essential that it reaches the ribbon stage. ( Be careful when using the egg yolk and sugar mixture over double boiler so that it doesnt scramble. I usually put it on the double for 1 minute while whisking and then take it off and keep whisking)

Whip the cream as much as possible , it wouldnt reach stiff peaks because we are using cream which has 25% fat but thats ok.

In case you are using cooking chocolate melt it over the double boiler. Now carefully fold in the melted chocolate with the egg yolk sugar mixture which has been whisked to reach the ribbon stage and then carefully fold in the whipped cream. Do not whisk just fold.

In case you are using cocoa butter + cocoa powder . Dissolve the cocoa powder in a little bit of milk , melt the cocoa butter over a double boiler and whisk in the cocoa powder dissolved in milk with the melted cocoa butter and follow the same process as mentioned above.

Now for the freezing. Here is the deal , the only successful way in which I have avoided ice-crystals is by serving the ice-cream immediately once it freezes over before it can form ice-crystals. Now the time taken to freeze the ice-cream will totally depend on the condition of your freezer, meaning the amount of stuff it already has.

For me it took about 8 hours.

Once frozen serve scoops of the rich silky chocolaty delight with roasted and chopped hazelnuts . Alternatively you can roast the hazelnuts and chop them up before you fold in everything and use it in the mixture pre freezing.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Bolognese sauce

Bolognese Sauce 

There are some ordinary days which become really special with just about some ordinary activities. Sometimes its a long walk among the oak trees, sometimes its meeting a girlfriend over coffee which turns into a 4 hour chat session and then there are days when you make a classic roasted chicken or make bolognese sauce from scratch like today.

I followed 's recipe and boy oh boy do I  recommend it. You do need a good 3 hours to make the sauce but its totally worth it.

Ingredients required

500gm beef mince (I used extra lean beef because I am kind of trying to eat healthy but I recommend the normal mince since a bit of fat adds a lot more flavour)
1 kg ripe tomatoes blanced and made into a paste
1 small carrot
1 stick of celery
1 small onion
1 leaf of fresh rosemary
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt as per taste
Freshly ground black pepper as per taste
100ml red wine

Start by making sure your meat is absolutely defrosted if you have frozen the mincemeat from before. Its best to buy fresh mince the day you make the sauce.
Finely mince the carrot , onion and celery
Heat the oil and saute the finely minced carrot, celery and onion on low heat till its golden brown. Add the beef mince and saute till it browns and then add salt, freshly crushed pepper and the wine. Cook till the wine evaporates and then add the tomatoes and cook on low heat for 2.5 hours to 3 hours.

This sauce can be used for a number of dishes. Enjoy over some freshly cooked spaghetti or make a lasagna.

With a vegetarian husband I used a portion for myself to enjoy with wholewheat spaghetti and froze the rest to make a lasagna in the future.

P.S. When searching for recipes I found that most Italian ones use bacon fat along with olive oil but I skipped it to make it healthy but I would highly recommend using it since we all know a little fat adds a lot of flavour. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mincemeat Samosas aka Mangsher Singara

Mincemeat Samosas aka Mangsher Singara 

I remember the first time I had read about Mincemeat samosas. This was before I read about how samosas the beloved triangular deep fried snack had originally been an import from Turkey. Anyway it was in one of the short stories I was reading where the protagonist tried making a living out of selling meat filled samosas. Frankly speaking I was never a fan of the potato filled samosas. I didnt mind the winter time delight of cauliflower and potato filled ones but yes I would much prefer some other snack.

The first time I tried my hands on it was when I first met my friend P. I do have a lot of friends whose names begin with P but this was the first time I invited someone over and our sole initial connection had been food blogging.

Anyway that was what like 2 years ago. So much has changed since then . Well anyway P got married last year and moved to Bangalore and I went to Stellenbosch , came back and am going again. Frankly I miss P in our city.

Anyway one fine day I realized I have just over a month left in Calcutta and so I wanted to cook. Initially it was going to be roasted chicken and then I thought that it was a day for some meat filled deep fried samosas.

Now I know most people steer clear from ghee all in favour of refined oil. I dont get it. If its deep fried its anyway junk so to me the point of frying in refined oil over clarified butter or a more flavourful oil such as peanut oil , sesame oil or mustard oil seems quite pointless. You want to eat healthy have some salad, smoothie, limited quantity of rice with vegetables and fish or steamed chicken but when you are indulging perhaps indulging the right way is the best way.

Look I know in the world of blogging most people go crazy over measurements but I say go with your own flow. And believe me if the old bengali cookbooks are any indication then you would do the same. I mean we all have different taste buds. I will give a rough estimate of what I used but I say believe in your instinct.

This makes about 8 large samosas or 12 to 14 medium sized one

For the filling :-

400-gm mincemeat (lamb or goat and I dont see why you cant use beef. here is a tip , ask your butcher to make a mince is such a way that it includes both meat and fat)
Approximately 2 tsp thick garlic paste
Approximately 2 tsp thick ginger paste
1 medium onion minced
7 to 8 green chilies minced well
Dash of lemon juice

For the spice mixture
2 to 3 green cardamom
1 inch cinnamon
3 to 4 cloves
1 blade of mace
1 large bay leaf

2 tbsp clarified butter

For the dough :-
Roughly 2.5 cups of all purpose flour
2 tbsp solid clarified butter
1 cup cold water

4 tbsp solid clarified butter
Mustard Oil

Green chutney
A handful of mint leaves
1 bunch coriander leaves
2 to 3 green chili
Lemon juice
Rock salt
Pinch of roasted ground cumin powder

Heat the 2 tbsp ghee and add the minced onion and fry till its lightly browned and then add the ginger paste and garlic paste and then the mincemeat and fry on medium heat for about 5 minutes and add the ground spice and cook will the oil leaves the side of the pan, add the lemon juice and keep aside.

In the meantime make your dough and rest.

Once the mincemeat filling cools down, take little balls from the dough roll them out a bit fill with mincemeat and join with your fingers.

Heat up mustard oil and ghee and fry on medium heat to low heat. The trick to making good samosas is controlling the temperature. So when the samosa goes in the oil it must be really hot and then you have to lower the temperature and increase it and adjust the heat.

Tip - When rolling out the balls of dough for filling wiht the mincemeat try making them a bit thin but not too thin. If its too thick the insides remain uncooked and if its too thin chances are the mincemeat might poke through.

Serve hot with the chutney

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Chili Mustard Chicken

Chili Mustard Chicken 

Meeting the right kind of people makes you confident, it makes you strive for betterment and you learn so much more than you had expected to. Meeting the wrong kind of people can have the exact opposite effect. The right kind of people have indirectly inspired me to start my own sourdough starter , open up my mind, experiment and be happy.

I blog because thats the way I express myself. I try to hold on to the fleeting moments of joy and pen them down, most of the times I fail but the strange thing is every time I haphazardly look up a post written long ago I remember every moment of the day, my feelings what led me to write the post.

During my initial days of blogging I was stunned with what I had experienced. A world where photographs rule over the very essence of food. Dont get me wrong I love good photographs but this insane obsession with photographing over learning about food made me feel alone till I met the right group of people whose interest in food transcends beyond fabulous photographs. Some of them take beautiful photographs but the main subject is all about food.

I had , well I still have a basic point and shoot camera which my husband forced me to buy and recently I cannot even find its chord to download the photographs to my computer.

Anyway the joys of seeing that my 2 month old neglected starter is alive completely makes up for the loss of the cord.

So I made a caramelized onion and black pepper sourdough bread. I am  a novice when it comes to sourdough bread so if you want to make your own sourdough bread I suggest you look up the internet. There are plenty of posts which would guide you in the right direction.

Then I thought I needed something to go with my bread. Ideally I would have preferred a dry spicy mutton dish but since we had mutton just last Saturday I went with what I call a mild fiery mustard chili chicken.

Its one of the most basic recipes, minimum ingredients and a quick fix. Where did I learn it, ah well nowhere it draws heavily from the Bengali style of cooking

Anyway it serves 2

You need :-
450gm chicken chopped in medium sized pieces  (preferably thing and leg pieces )
2 to 3 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
10 to 12 green chili (the hot variant is what I used)
A pinch of black cumin seeds aka nigella seeds
Salt as per taste
2 tbsp mustard oil

Make a smooth paste of mustard and green chili with water  .Heat the mustard oil, when the foam appears add the nigella seeds and when they splutter add the chicken and seal the juices and lower heat. Strain the mustard and chili mixture and add it tot he chicken. The best way is to add a bit of water and extract all of it . Straining is a must else the gravy turns bitter. Simmer on lowest heat possible for 10 minutes and serve with hot steaming rice or in my case some rustic homemade sourdough caramelized sourdough bread.