Local Heart, Global Soul

June 25, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Keer with Orange

Filed under: FOOD,INDIA,Indian Cusine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Keer with Orange

1 litre (2 pints)full fat milk
a few strands of Saffron
2-3 teaspoon sugar (according to taste
180 ml jar of oranges in syrup (or 1 cup fresh orange segments, must be sweet)

Before I get on with the step-by-step photographs, there are a few tips and notes from or Indian cooking lesson teacher to mention.

The milk should ideally be reduced on the stove at a time when you are not frying any strong flavoured things, particularly garlic or onions, because otherwise the garlic and onion odor will be absorbed into the milk.

The reason that a commercial jar of orange or mandarin segments is used in this recipe is that  our teacher says that usually fresh oranges are too dry and simply not sweet enough to given enough flavour to this recipe.

Method:

Heat the milk in a large pan and simmer gently until it reduces to three-quarters of it’s original volume. This will take approximately 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently, fold in the top skin, scrape the side of the pan and mix into the liquid. Continue until the milk thickens and darkens in colour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the saffron strands to the milk and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then remove from the heat and allow to cool down completely.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the sugar (photograph not included)  and the orange segments. Mix well, taste and add a little more sugar if required. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Note:  This dessert can be made a day before and kept in the fridge.

Kiwi’s Notes: I’ve mentioned earlier that desserts that are heavily dairy based wreck havoc with my asthma, so  this milky dessert really isn’t for me, and was never going to be a personal favourite. I can tell you that the milk, once the keer process is finished is very creamy in taste, which was nice but there was a less strong orange taste to it than I imagined there would be.  Again, my cooking classmates loved it so it’s all personal preference and comes down to if you like this type of dessert or not. It’s definitely easy to make, I think it’s safe to say that you need more time than effort for this one! Enjoy!

June 22, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Gajar-ka-Halwa (Carrot Halwa Dessert)

Filed under: FOOD,INDIA,Indian Cusine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa Dessert)

1 litre full fat milk
200 grams (grated) carrots
2 Tablespoons Gee
6-7 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
1 ½ Tablespoons raisins
1 ½ Tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
2 teaspoons crushed cardamom seeds

This particular Keer / Kheer recipe is a little different because grated carrots replace the rice often found in these desserts, so I went looking for more information about one of India’s national desserts.

Wikipedia tells me:

“Kheer is prepared in festivals, temples, and all special occasions. The term Kheer (used in North India) is derived from Sanskrit words Ksheeram (which means milk). Other terms like Payasa or Payasam (used in South India) or payesh (used in Bengal region) are derived from the Sanskrit word Payas which also means “milk”. It is prepared using milk, rice, ghee, sugar/jaggery, Khoya. Some also add a little bit of Heavy Cream to give it more richness in taste. It is often garnished using almonds, cashews, raisins and pistachios.

It is an essential dish in many Hindu feasts and celebrations. While the dish is most often made with rice, it can also be made with other ingredients. It is one of the most significant desserts served in Assamese families and quite often a part of religious ceremonies.

The South Indian version, payasam or payasa is an integral part of traditional South Indian meal. The South Indian payasam also makes extensive use of jaggery and coconut milk in place of sugar and milk.
In a South Indian meal, payasam or payasa (Kannada) is served first at any formal or auspicious occasions.”

Method:

Pour the milk into a medium sized non stick pan and heat over a gentle flame. Stir regularly until the milk thickens and reduces to approximately half its volume, which is a process known as “keer” and takes roughly 40 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the grated carrots to the keer and stir frequently (to prevent burning) for a further 40-50 minutes until the mixture thickens into a paste-like consistency.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cover the pan and let the carrot mixture cook down…  remember to stir it every so often.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the sugar…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the raisins…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the pistachio nuts and stir to mix thoroughly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continue cooking the mixture down so that it become less liquid…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the gee for extra flavour and to slightly thicken the mixture…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Gajar-ka-Halwa needs to be quasi-dry so continue cooking for another 10 minutes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Remove from the heat and spread the mixture evenly in a shallow dish…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the crushed cardamom seeds…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tip: This delicious dessert can be served hot or cold. It can be kept in the fridge for a number of days without loss of taste. It is neither too heavy or too sweet whilst retaining the goodness of the carrots.

Kiwidutch Notes: We were advised that some people prefer this dessert served when it’s still warm and others when it’s cold. My classmates and I tried it both ways and my personal preference was for the warm version. One thing  surprised me:  it almost tasted like there might have been rice in this, even though  I had seen with my own eyes that there wasn’t.

As I’ve mentioned earlier elsewhere in this blog I have a lung condition and severe asthma  and have to avoid dairy products most of the time because they give me problems.  Himself isn’t  actually allergic to milk, but suffers from some measure of intolerance to it so unless we are having enough visitors to help us polish off most of this, it’s not realistically going to be high on our family  list of desserts. ( This also means I miss the cooked rice puddings with loads of cinnamon that I love too.)

I was still delighted to have tasted this… and to have learned all about a dessert that was totally new to me.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kheer

June 8, 2013

A Bigger Star In Some Families Than In Others…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you want a super-traditional (and slightly old-fashioned) Dutch dessert to try out for size then you need look no further than your local Dutch supermarket.

However you aren’t going to find this classic cake in the cake section and this is probably the reason that it’s gone largely undiscovered by many a visitor or new settler in the Netherlands,  because  it’s found unexpectedly instead the freezer section of the supermarket.

This dessert is called a ” Sneeuster” (Snow Star) and is basically two cake layers with a filling of  “advocaat” (egg nog) and cream.

In our extended family this was well known with all of  Himself’s cousins because it was a particular favourite of their Oma (grandmother) who was my mother in law’s sister.

Because Himself’s mother didn’t like this one as much, this was rarely seen on our side of the family and although Himself already knew of  it from many childhood visits to his Aunt,  I also only discovered it relatively recently when one of Himself’s cousins came to stay with us.

Naturally the cream and egg nog layers thaw once it’s been out of the freezer a little while,  so I thought it prudent to cut all of the pieces of the cake whilst it fresh out of the freezer before the cream and egg nog got squishy. For my own personal preference, this is too creamy, but I have to temper that statement by honestly saying that I don’t particularly like any  heavily creamed dessert so this was never destined to be a contender for my personal favourite.

Clearly in some families the Sneeuster is going to be more of a star then in others…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 26, 2013

The Photos Really Don’t Do it All Justice, But Believe Me Our Stomachs Tried…

Filed under: ARMENIA,Armenian Cuisine,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You may have guessed that there was something missing from yesterday’s post: dessert!

Our Armenian friend outdid herself not just with the main course but also with dessert and it’s immediately clear she has real talent for this too.

There were a sort of spice pastry in pin-wheel form pastry  pieces of something  that involved honey, pastry and fruit and appeared to be rather similar in taste and texture to a Greek Baklava, and a chocolate cake to die for… the photos really don’t do it all justice, but believe me our stomachs tried.

I will definitely be trying to get not only the recipes for these but also some cooking lessons from my friend to show me the technique needed to make them.

If I could make a chocolate cake half as stunning as this I’d be delighted, since I’m fairly well know for my less than light cakes, and have only one solitary and rather lonely chocolate cake recipe in my entire cake repertoire.

If my kids ask for a birthday cake it’s a choice of my sole chocolate cake recipe or nothing… So far there have been no complaints because they got the heavy adornment of sweets on the top and let’s face it, if we are rudely honest,  the sweets were the main attraction and my cake was just the excuse for them underneath,  but this  chocolate cake is a real grown-up show-stopper and it doesn’t need sweets on top to make you gasp…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 6, 2012

Transformed From Cinders in a Shopping Bag to the Belle of the Ball…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Some people have more natural talent for a particular thing in one little finger, than most of us could hope to ever to have or learn in a lifetime.

My Uncle and cake decoration definitely fall into this category. … and I mean the talent bit, not the hope to learn bit.

I am a detail fanatic and I could very happily spend hours perfecting a drawing or an embroidery piece but this talent doesn’t appear to be in any way shape or form transferable, at least not to any of my home-made cake decoration efforts so far.

My Uncle on the other hand. has the hand, the eye and the vision of the finished product down to a level that even some professionals can only dream of.

He does these for a hobby and lucky indeed is anyone who gets a Birthday cake from him as he’s a genius with piped icings, flowers and basically all things fondant and icing bag.

Himself and I had been visiting before Christmas to drop off the fresh peas we had shelled and since we were also invited for dinner we took around a shop-bought pavlova towards dessert too. It ended up not being used that night because they had made other delights especially for us, so I told them to put it in the cupboard for another day.

When we left that plain Pavlova on their kitchen bench in it’s protective plastic supermarket box I had no clue that when we would see it next that it would have undergone a transformation akin to the proverbial Cinders in rags one moment and the stunning Belle of the ball the next.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Photogenic doesn’t even start to do it justice does it?

This is what I’m going to call “Artiste Culinaire” … Pure stunning, amazing,  stop-you-in-your-tracks Artistry. This is New Zealand’s national dessert at it’s most stunning.

I won’t embarrass myself by telling you how many photographs I took of this.

(sigh) Even now, posting the photos, long after dinner, I starting to think of how many eggs we might have in the fridge and how we may need a Pav on our menu very soon.

Worse still, I’m even having that thought having made a Pavlova only last Saturday for guests.

Actually the second-hand Kitchen Aid that I scored for a song after a chance remark to a lady who’s family was transferring back to the USA last year, did most of the work for me and I was delighted to not have to stand for ages on one leg in the kitchen with my little hand-held electric beater…

…but I had tried a new recipe last Saturday and whilst it wasn’t a flop at all, it was a perfectly smooth fluffy Pav.

Yes I know Pavlova is supposed  to be fluffy, but I like the fuffy ones that have the addition of the chewy caramel bits just around the inside edges and last Saturday’s recipe didn’t give me that at all.

Any Pavlova aficionados amongst you will know exactly  what I mean.

So.. I’m on the hunt for the perfect Pavlova recipe… and since my bargain of the year Kitchen Aid machine makes it so easy I may even give a new recipe a go this week. Kiwi Daughter has expressed an interest at having a go at making one of these on her own too… so maybe I’ll just hand her a recipe, take step-by-step photos of the process and critique the result.

We have plenty of friends who will be only too glad to help taste-test and to take part in the review process too… in the meantime we can all enjoy the amazing talent of my Uncle and dream that we could produce anything remotely like this.

Well, maybe YOU might be able to, but me? ….Ha!  I’ll be seriously realistic…  Dream On Kiwidutch!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 6, 2012

Desserts to Die For…

The Kiwidutch kids clearly, have already found the  “children’s selection”  of the buffet menu but there are are multitude of other dessert options to choose from. Many of them sound like delicious variations of old favourites like: Orange Chocolate Cake…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chocolate Trufles, Mango mousse, Green Tea Parfait,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mixed Berry Cake …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… and Mango Mirror Cake:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

but there are also many names of items that are new to me like Piandian Chiffon:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

….and Assorted Nyonyia Kneh. (There are semi-gelatouious type little squares , I tried some and while it was a little strange in texture at first, it was quite nice… it would however say that I think that it’s quite an accustomed taste for Western taste-buds.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sigh, so many to choose from and so little space left to fit everything in… (No… we didn’t try them all, we just oogled a lot of them wishing that we had left more space after our main course.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 27, 2011

It’s Divine, but Phyllo-sophically it’s also Definiately a rare Treat…

Filed under: FOOD — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

I first made this recipe whilst on an elimination diet in 2006 for allergy reasons, so used my work colleagues as test tasters,  but have made it more times since and have my eye on it again: since Himself bought phyllo pastry home instead of Puff pastry a while back, the kids are itching to help make something in the kitchen and I want to make some space in the freezer.  If you are looking for an easy to make “Wow” dessert to make for guests too, then this one will certainly do the trick.

I have made this both with the lemon curd in this recipe and  once when in a hurry, with shop-bought lemon curd, and am happy to report that in my case at least, both variations  turned out almost too delicious for our own good.

Strawberry and Lemon Curd Phyllo Baskets

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Recipe by “evelyn/athens” at Food.com (formerly Recipezaar)

Ingredients:
4 phyllo pastry, thawed, covered with damp kitchen towel
1/3 cup butter, melted
6 teaspoons dry white breadcrumbs
Lemon Curd

1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon rind, grated
1 pint strawberry, hulled and sliced
fresh mint sprig

1. For baskets: Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface.
3. Brush with butter.
4.Sprinkle 2 tsp bread crumbs over.
5 .Top with second phyllo sheet, butter and sprinkle with 2 tsp crumbs.

6 .Top with third phyllo sheet, butter and sprinkle with 2 tsp crumbs.
7 .End with fourth phyllo sheet and just butter this one.
8. Cut out 12, 4-inch squares.
9. Brush every other cup of 2, ½ cup muffin tins with melted butter.
10. Place 1 phyllo square in each buttered cup, pressing down in center gently and around edges to mold (corners should stick up attractively ? bend them slightly, but not all the way, back).
11. Bake until just golden-brown and crisp, about 10-12 minutes.
12. Remove and cool completely (can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container).
13. For lemon curd: Whisk sugar, eggs, butter, lemon juice and peel over low heat until butter melts.
14. Cook until mixture thickens to consistency of light whipped cream, about 5 minutes.
15. Pour into bowl.
16. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours (can be prepared up to 2 days ahead).
17. Spoon some berries into bottom of each basket, sprinkle VERY lightly with sugar, top with 2 ½ tbsp of lemon curd.
18.  Arrange remaining berries in petal pattern on top of curd.

If you make the recipe too and would like to leave a review for Evelyn then the link is here: http://www.food.com/recipe/strawberry-and-lemon-curd-phyllo-baskets-88853

I know you won’t want to look too eagerly at the amounts of butter and sugar etc in this dessert, it’s not in the “healthy” category but it  is  a Once-a-Year Treat to treasure.

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