Thursday, August 23, 2018

Guava Cake With A Crumb Topping

Guava cake with crumb topping

It's guava season now and the few trees that I have give us enough produce. The fruits are small in size but so sweet. And sometimes I use them in cakes or curry. For the latter, I'll include the link below.
Recently I posted a picture of a similar kind of cake on my Facebook page and it did generate a bit of interest from my readers. Which is why I am posting the recipe here. It makes sense to use the fruits of the season in baking. Always.:)

My guavas come with blemishes but that makes no difference to the taste!

This picture is from the last season. Felt like using it again. Now on to the recipe.

Ingredients:

The Guava Puree

6 ripe guavas
Sugar as per taste

Wash the guavas and remove the top and bottom ends with a knife.
Chop them up and cook them in a pan with a little less than 1/2 cup water.
Add the sugar.
As soon as they start to soften, mash them with the back of a ladle.
The cooking process will take about 8-10 minutes.
Once the guavas turn mushy, switch off the flame.
Take a bowl and place a colander with holes smaller than the guava seeds on the bowl.
Transfer the contents to a colander and keep mashing with the said ladle.
When all the goodness is drained out, only the seeds and hard bits will remain.
My guavas yielded 1/4 of a cup of puree.
Set this aside as you prepare the cake.

The Cake:

1 cup butter at room temperature + extra to grease the cake tin
2/3 cup caster sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour + a little extra to dust on the greased cake tin
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup guava puree

The Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened

Mix these three ingredients well and set aside.

Method:

Set the oven to 180* C.
Sieve the flour with the baking powder.
Cream the sugar and butter till pale and fluffy.
Break one egg in the mixture and beat till fully incorporated.
Repeat with the other two.
Add the vanilla essence.
Fold in the flour/baking powder mix and add the guava puree.
Mix gently.
Pour the batter into the greased and floured cake tin.
Tap the tin gently a couple of times to remove air bubbles.
Scatter the crumb topping on the surface of the cake.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
If the crumb browns too soon, cover the surface with aluminium foil during the last 15 minutes of baking.
Let it cool a bit. Remove from the tin and transfer to a cooling rack.

Guava cake with a crumb topping

Although the cake does not look attractive, I am happy with the taste. The subtle guava flavour is wonderful and using home grown produce can be very satisfying.
The crumb topping was so crisp. I enjoyed the first slice with a cup of coffee.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Other guava recipes on my blog:

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2017/08/guava-curry.html

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2013/07/guava-muffins-with-crumble-topping.html

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2013/08/upside-down-banana-caramel-cake.html

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Labneh Post Again

Freshly-made labneh balls with mint leaves and pomegranate pearls
Over the years, labneh has become a fixture in my kitchen. I didn't know about labneh before getting into food blogging. Earlier, dahi was always consumed on its own or made into raita. Occasionally, it would be added to cooling drinks but consuming it on its own was the preferred ritual.
Ready for the eating. Adornments and drizzle of oil on their way.:)

I do set dahi at home but for labneh I usually buy a 400 gram container of  Mother Dairy dahi. Then I add salt to the contents, line a colander with cheesecloth and let the whey drain out for an hour or so. The colander is placed in the fridge where it sits for at least 24 hours. Then it is taken out and can be used as a dip or as an accompaniment to bread or rotis. With some freshly cracked black pepper and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


The picture above shows one of my breakfast plates with labneh balls, cooked okra and parathas.


Labneh tart & salad (made on different occasions)
Tarts and salads work out beautifully with labneh. For sweet tarts, I add a bit of honey or icing sugar to the dahi before draining out the whey. The tart in the collage has a shortcrust pastry shell and the sweetened labneh has been embellished with strawberries and, ground pistachios, and a scattering of mint leaves and petals from my home-grown roses.
The salad in the collage has labneh in the centre and is scattered with pea shoots (home grown ) and pansies from my pots.
Floral labneh
I had never made a floral labneh before but seeing such cheeses on the internet inspired me to try out floral ones. For this, place a cheesecloth in a bowl and line the bottom with cheesecloth. Place the edible flowers face down and any herbs you might want to add. I used home grown pansies and fennel leaves. The feathery leaves look pretty indeed. Then place the labneh on top of the adornments. Fold the cloth over and put another bowl or plate on top to add a little pressure on the contents. Take it out after an hour or so. Remove the cloth and carefully place the decorated labneh on a serving platter with the bottom side up. Voila, you have a lovely edible centrepiece on your table!

Roasted beetroot, microgreens, dried cranberries with labneh balls
I had used this picture in an earlier post. I love using labneh like this. By making little balls and adding them to other salad ingredients like roasted beets and microgreens with some nuts thrown in.

Or slathered on freshly-baked bread. The possibilities are endless!!

My other posts on labneh:

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2013/10/labneh.html

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2015/01/labneh-again.html

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2016/12/labneh-tart-with-matcha-pastry-dough.html

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2016/11/beetroot-salad-with-labneh-dried.html

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2016/09/braided-bread-pesto-labneh.html

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Pumpkin Leaf & Dried Fish Curry



pumpkin leaf and dried fish curry

This is a curry that comes with a warning. Acquired taste.:) But if you go through the recipe, this could well be used for meat, fresh fish or paneer.
I have mentioned in some of my posts before that I am lucky to be living in an area where vegetable vendors come. I do not mean the regular ones who sell commercially grown vegetables. But the ones who come with organic produce from the villages and jungles from the Assam and Meghalaya border areas. Some are grown in village gardens and some are still foraged from the wild. Like bamboo shoots, vegetable ferns, banana flowers and banana stems. There is a bit of the smell of the jungle in the wares they carry with some of them wrapped in banana leaves or leaves that resemble those of the turmeric but much larger. And in places where storage is an issue, leaves have long been used for preserving (to some extent) leafy greens and herbs.
Assortment of vegetables brought to my door by vendors
I look forward to these visits and there is one particular lady who comes oftener than most. We sit down under the fan, have a cup of tea and cake (usually) and talk about this and that. It's like childhood being revisited as I am reminded of my mother a few decades ago choosing the best of produce from the baskets of vendors in another time and another place. The vendors who usually came in a small group would sit on the veranda and talk about the weather, their families and the signs of the times. In those days, our town had fewer people and the rapport between different communities was extraordinary. And it was always the ladies from Jatinga who would come all the way to town, a distance of 8 kilometres from the main town on foot. The village grew the best oranges then. In winter, the baskets used to be laden with the fruit.  Buses and autorickshaws, to travel that distance, were unheard of in the 60s and 70s.

Recently I got a bunch of pumpkin leaves and my first thought was about teaming them up with jackfruit seeds. This is a lovely combination. I have a picture of the same in one of my recent posts. But then I decided I would use only the tender leaves and make this curry.

Ingredients:

1 bunch pumpkin leaves (the stalks were kept aside to be cooked with dal or with other vegetables)
4-5 dried fish cut into bite-size pieces (I used Bombay duck)
2 medium eggplants, cut according to the size/length of the dried fish pieces
2 onions, peeled and finely grated
6 cloves of garlic, ground
1" piece of ginger, peeled and ground
Red chilli powder, as per taste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
A quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder (to be rubbed on the dried fish and eggplants)
5 tablespoons mustard oil
A pinch of mustard seeds
A couple of dried broken chillies
Herbs for the garnish (optional)
Pumpkin leaves
Pumpkin leaves/shoots


Method:

Wash the pumpkin leaves and lightly steam them in a colander. A couple of minutes should do.
Let them cool a bit and grind them fine.
Wash the dried fish pieces in warm water. This makes it easier to remove any grit that might be on the fish.
Place in a colander to drain out excess water. Then rub the turmeric on the fish pieces.
Wash the eggplants and rub with a dash of salt and turmeric powder. Set aside.
Heat the mustard oil in a karhai. As soon as it comes to smoking point, add the fish pieces.
Fry on both sides for about a minute each. Remove.
In the same oil, fry the eggplants till they turn golden but not wholly done.
Since eggplants soak up a lot of oil, check to see if another tablespoon might be needed.

Throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as they sputter, add the broken bits of dried chilli. Then add the grated onions. Cook till they turn translucent. Add the rest of the spices and cook till the oil separates.
Add the pumpkin leaf paste and the fried eggplants. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Pour about 11/2 cups of hot water and let it come to boiling point. Continue to cook on medium flame till the gravy thickens.
Add the fried dried fish pieces and cook for a few more minutes.
Remove from the stove and transfer the contents to a serving bowl.
Garnish with fresh herbs if you like.
This goes best with steaming hot rice and other accompaniments like dal, simple cucumber/tomato salad and maybe another fried vegetable dish.

Pumpkin leaves are usually chopped and cooked. This method, rather like the palak in 'palak paneer' makes the gravy so much thicker. And better!

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Starfruit Galette


Every year my container-grown starfruit tree produces enough fruit for a few recipes, including salads. This is the sweet variety and is good for baking. The very acidic ones are best used for spicy pickles. 
Today's harvest yielded about ten fruits and there are more on the tree that are still tender. I thought I would make some hand pies but later decided on a galette. The left-over dough from my last post needed to be used.

Ingredients:

3 starfruits
Pinch of nutmeg
Caster sugar as per taste
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 egg yolk for the egg wash
1 tablespoon melted jam for the glaze (optional)
starfruit
Starfruit blossoms attract a lot of bees
Method:

Cut off the tips of the fruits on both sides.
Remove the hard edges from the sides and cut into stars.
With the tip of a thin knife. remove the seeds. I am not very particular about removing them all.
Sprinkle the nutmeg and add the sugar. Then add the cornflour and give it a good mix. Set it aside.

I have not included the recipe for the pastry dough as I used up the remains from my last post.
Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on your work top for about 10 minutes.
Dust some flour on the counter top and roll out the flour.
The circle was as big as my 9" pie tin.
Then place the fruit mixture in the middle and fold the edges inwards.
You can decorate the edges with pastry flowers. This is purely optional.
Brush the edges with beaten egg yolk and bake in a preheated 180 C oven for about 15-18 minutes.
Remove when the tart is uniformly golden in colour.
Let it cool down.
Cut into wedges. Enjoy!

The fruit pieces still had a bite to them. If you like them more 'done', you could cook them on the stove top for a few minutes. With the addition of sugar and spices that you might want to add. Let the mixture cool down before placing it on the rolled-out dough.
For a glossy look, a tablespoon of jam can be heated with a bit of water and then brushed on the surface of the galette while it is still hot. I skipped this part as I thought it looked good enough.:)

My earlier posts on galettes:

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2017/02/beet-onion-galette-baked-in-pressure.html

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2014/05/galettes.html

http://blendingflavours.blogspot.com/2014/04/galette-des-rois.html

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Black Rice Pudding Tartlets Again!


The gift of antioxidant-rich black rice that came back with me from my recent trip to the hometown was waiting to be made into something celebratory. The thought of a pudding tart has been on my mind for a while and I brought it all together today by making slight adaptations to the previous recipe. This was first inspired by Richard Bertinet's book Patisserie Maison.
The recipe uses homemade raspberry jam and arborio rice but I added my recently-made jamun/Java plum jam from my tree. One purple blending into the other.

The Pastry:

200 grams all-purpose flour, sieved
100 grams butter, cubed and chilled + extra for greasing the tart tins
3 teaspoons icing sugar
1 medium egg, cold, and lightly beaten
Chilled water to sprinkle on the dough, if needed
1 egg yolk for the egg wash


Place the flour and icing sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the mixture using your fingertips.
As soon as the texture is crumbly, add the egg and bring it together. Do not knead.
If it is too dry, you could sprinkle some chilled water. This may or may not be necessary.
Flatten the dough, wrap it in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for at least 40 minutes.
In my case, I let it rest overnight.

When the dough has rested, take it out. Let it sit on your work top till it can be rolled out. Meanwhile, grease the tart tins and set them aside.
I used 6 tins but the filling was enough for four. I should have referred to my earlier post here.
Cut off pieces of the dough and roll out circles large enough to fit the tins. Press the inner bottom, all along the edges. Then roll out the overhanging dough by running the rolling pin across the border. Set that aside for later use. Repeat till all the tins are done. Prick each tart bottom with a fork so that they do not puff up during baking.
Line the tart shells with aluminium foil and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 10 minutes in a preheated  oven.
Take them out after 10 minutes, remove the aluminium foil and baking beans.
Brush the tart bases with egg and bake again for another 8-10 minutes.
Set aside to cool.

The Black Rice Pudding:

100 grams black rice
350 ml full-fat milk
150 ml cream
60 grams sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cardamom pods, crushed
Some jamun jam (to be brushed on the bottom of the shells)

With other varieties of rice, no cooking (with water) is necessary. But with black rice, I soak it for about 30 minutes and use the same water to cook it with, in the pressure cooker. A couple of whistles is enough.
Add the milk to a pan. Pour the cream and let the mix simmer away.
Add the cardamom pods, the vanilla (both pod and the actual spice), lemon zest, sugar, and the cooked rice.
Cook on medium flame for about 30 minutes till the cream and milk is absorbed and the rice is done.
Let the pudding cool down a bit. Remove the pods, both vanilla and cardamom.
Meanwhile, take a bit of jam (I used about half a teaspoon for each) and spread it on the base of the shells.

Fill the baked shells with the pudding (I filled them almost to the top) and bake for another 15-20 minutes in a 180 C oven. At this stage, a crust will form at the top.

Serve warm or cold with a dusting of icing sugar.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Jackfruit Kulfi

Jackfruit kulfi
Every time we go to our old hometown, we come back laden with the best of organic fruits and vegetables. It isn't that we buy so much produce. Most of them are gifted by family and other relatives. And we love to stop at wayside stalls where people put up their backyard garden produce for sale. And buying such produce is also helping small growers. This time the haul included multi-coloured corn, colocasia, pineapples, Burmese grapes, yard long beans, banana blossoms, Burmese grapes, pineapples and jackfruits. Most are distributed again here once we get back home. The joy of sharing goes on...

I kept only a small amount of jackfruit to try out a few recipes and this is one of them. It's from an old issue (2013) of Good Food India magazine.

Ingredients:
100 grams ripe jackfruit (seeds removed)
220 ml milk
100 grams condensed milk
A pinch of saffron
30 grams sugar
10 grams cornflour
2 tablespoons pistachio, chopped

Method:
Puree half of the jackfruit and mash the other half. Set aside.
Put 200 ml milk and the condensed milk in a pan and let it come to a boil. Once it reaches boiling point, reduce the flame, let it simmer and add the saffron, sugar and the jackfruit puree. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Take the rest of the milk and mix the cornflour. Add this to the pan. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes and switch off the flame. Add the chopped pistachios and the chopped jackfruit. Mix well.
Let the mixture cool for about 20 minutes. Pour into kulfi moulds and freeze overnight.
To serve, warm some water in a pan. Place the moulds in the water for 10-15 seconds and take out. The kulfi will slide out easily. Serve immediately.

When I tasted the mixture, I thought it was a little too sweet. But once the kulfi was ready, I tasted and found the sweetness to be just right. Mine wasn't as firm so I had to be fast with the pictures.:)

As for the seeds, they go into so many other ways of cooking. One of my favourites during this season is a mix of pumpkin shoots, leaves and jackfruit seeds. These are cooked with minimal spices and with very little gravy. A good accompaniment to rice, dal, and chutney or pickles. 



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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Burmese Grape Chutney


I had gone to Haflong on a short trip. While returning we stopped to buy locally grown produce on the wayside. It's the season of pineapples, mangoes, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, corn and Burmese grapes. The last brings back so many memories. Sour fruits were part of our afternoon ritual. And although our garden couldn't boast of a Burmese grape tree, the sweet and sour fruits were abundant in the market. And cheap too.
Yesterday's haul made me search for recipes and I came across a Bengali recipe which was simple and not time-consuming. The fruit is known as kusmaithai in my mother tongue, leteku in Assamese and locton in Bengali. 

Some information from Wiki here:

The Burmese grape/ Baccaurea ramiflora is a slow-growing evergreen tree in the Phyllanthaceae family, growing up to 25 m with a spreading crown and thin bark. It is found throughout Asia, and most commonly cultivated in India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. The fruit is harvested and used locally, eaten as a fruit, stewed, or made into wine: it is also used for treating skin ailments. The bark, roots and wood are harvested for medicinal uses.

I used a little more than a cup of the fruit, measured after the skin was removed. 
Ingredients:
11/3 cup Burmese grapes, skin removed
Sugar as per taste
Rock salt as per taste
1 quarter teaspoon panch puran powder
Pinch of chilli powder

Method:
Place a non-stick pan on the flame. Add the fruit. The fruit will soon release its juices and will also change colour. 
Add the salt, the spices, and give the mixture a good stir.
Add sugar and cook till the juices are reduced.
Remove from the flame and transfer to a serving bowl.

The only time needed for this preparation is in shelling the fruits and removing the white pith. The cooking process only takes about 15 minutes. Certain types of chutney taste better on their own. I think this does not need any accompaniment.:)

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