March 19, 2015 § 3 Comments
“Who says you need summers to gulp down the icy cold lemonades”, I reiterated this to myself thinking it doesn’t really matters if summers aren’t still here. Ideally, the season should have been upon us by now, but I think, with a couple of thunderstorms and some snowfalls in higher up the mountains, it is delayed by a couple of weeks probably. But you know that cravings can’t be delayed. I have been sipping onto icy cold drinks in my office lately, stealing away quick breaks from work in the afternoon; could it be a glass of fresh orange juice, an ice tea or even a large tumbler of iced coffee for that matter. And then I realized it’s the right time to make lemonade at home. Right when you’ve got fresh juicy strawberries and fragrant oranges from the Spring season. Another excuse to make something with the seasonal produce! This recipe has got no rules and is really dead simple. It’s just about eyeballing of ingredients and make your own concoction. And as this recipe doesn’t involve any cooking of fruit, it would stay good in fridge for a couple of days only. A quick blending of all the ingredients in a liquidizer and all you get is lovely and refreshing lemonade. Besides being cold and refreshing, it is full of vitamins and minerals from the real fruit. So, go for it, before these lovely berries and oranges disappear with the soon fleeting Spring.
- 750 gm strawberries, washed, hulled & cut in halves, about 4 cups
- 2 Oranges, juiced and rind separated
- 1 lemon, juiced and rind separated
- 3/4 cup honey, adjust based on your preference and sweetness of strawberries
- 4 cups of water
- Strawberry slices and mint leaves. to garnish
- Put strawberries, orange juice, rind, lemon juice and lemon rind, honey and 1 cup of water in a blender and blend on high speed.
- Strain the mixture through a sieve.
- Add remaining water and ice.
- Serve chilled in glasses with strawberry slices and mint leaves as garnish.
March 11, 2015 § 4 Comments
After every few recipes done with fresh seasonal fruits or veggies, it gets time to bake something with chocolate. And this time, some serious chocolate business happened at The White Ramekins. I love to bake with chocolate, but either I prefer the ever so mellowed white chocolate paired against fresh berries or I go the other extreme of liking the darkest and the meanest of couverture I can get my hands on. There is no mid way happening for me at least when it comes to chocolate. So, I got few very good dark chocolates from my grocery shopping last weekend and along came this gluten free amaranth flour too. I have never tried such alternate flours in baking before. Although, I have gone to nut meals like almonds or hazelnuts to the maximum when it comes to gluten free baking. I always assumed it to be more courageous to bake with alternate flours. But you know, there are some good friends around me, who have completely foregone the refined flour from their baking, or wheat altogether for that matter. So, getting inspired from my two sweet friends Deeba and Sangeeta, I too thought of trying my hands on it. And I have come to known from my trial and errors, that you can easily replace away the refined flour with wholewheat flour, when some dark chocolate is involved. So, going by that faith, I tried to take my chances on this lovely gluten free amaranth flour. Amaranth flour/seeds are high in amino acids, vitamins and minerals and has got many health benefits. It has got a nice nutty flavor which makes it a perfect combination to go along with something chocolate. And I can vouch for it totally, after I made this gluten free chocolate beetroot amaranth cake. Wow, so much of goodness in one single cake! And not to forget, if you use some high quality dark chocolate, trust me it will satiate all your chocolate cravings in one single bite. And all those amazing ingredients will never fail you while it comes to impressing your friends and family with this lovely chocolate cake.
- For the cake
- 300 gm beetroot, peeled, cut in 3 cm pieces
- 350 gm dark chocolate (70 % cocoa), chopped
- 150 gm butter, chopped
- 6 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200 gm firmly packed brown sugar
- 100 gm amaranth flour
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- For the chocolate ganache
- 100 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
- 100 ml low fat cream
- Cook beetroot in a small saucepan of boiling water for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid. Process beetroot and reserved liquid until smooth. You should have 1 cup beetroot puree.
- Preheat oven to 160 degree C. Grease 9 inch spring form cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
- Stir chocolate and butter for cake in a small bowl over a double boiler until melted and smooth.
- Whisk egg, vanilla, sugar and amaranth flour in large bowl until combined. Whisk in chocolate mixture and beetroot puree. Pour batter into pan. Cover with foil.
- Bake cake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until cooked around the edge with a slight wobble in the center. Lift the foil to release steam. Refrigerate cake for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- For chocolate ganache, heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat for a couple of minutes, preventing it from boiling. Mix the chopped chocolate into the heated cream and let rest for 10 minutes. Stir with a spoon to mix the cream and melted chocolate thoroughly.
- Spread the chocolate ganache over cooled cake and dust with cocoa powder.
March 7, 2015 § 3 Comments
I haven’t had enough of strawberries this year, at least in my recipes. I made those lovely gluten free picnic-y strawberry and almond friands to enjoy the spring season, but that was it, I guess. And I feel it would be an injustice done to this lovely spring fruit. Every year I make a number of recipes with strawberries during this time of the year, before I start to stash away bagfuls of them in my freezer, so that I can enjoy them all through out the year. Nonetheless, they taste better when fresh. And that makes me to use them as maximum as I can during the season. I had been wanting to make a Swiss roll, all because my sister loves Swiss roll a lot. And she remembers eating all those Swiss roll cakes I had made previously. Weather it was the autumnal pumpkin mascarpone or it was the lovely pomegranate and strawberry filling, she has never forgotten the flavours. I think it makes her feel kid at heart just by looking at her share of a Swiss roll cake. Now how I can be so sure about that? Because, this is how I feel too. And there is this strange connection between siblings about certain things. You share the similar thoughts about some things, even when unspoken. So, this was on my list from a very long time now, you see. And I plan too make some more this year with some other filling too. May be mangoes, chocolate or coconut, who know! I knew that strawberries pair really well with white chocolate after I made strawberries and white chocolate mousse last year for the new year celebrations. Few of my friends went so crazy about these that I had to make that dessert thrice again for them. So definitely it’s a crowd pleasing concoction for sure. But I didn’t stop there this time and the imagination went wild when I saw this tiny little box of sumac I saw in my pantry. Sumac has a distinct tangy taste. And that is originally a dried berry powder which would surely enhance the sweet and sour flavour of fresh juicy strawberries, just the way a nice squeeze of lemon would probably do. And it did just the way I had thought it to be. It was lovely tangy more pronounced berry flavour which paired perfectly with the sweet creamy white chocolate and mascarpone filled roll cake.
- 5 eggs, 3 separated and 2 whole
- 100 gm caster sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp hot water
- 80 gm white chocolate
- 100 gm all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50 gm butter, melted
- 55 gm caster sugar, extra
- 375 gm strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp sumac
- 250 gm mascarpone
- 125 ml heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 200 degree C. Grease a 10 inches x 12 inches Swiss roll pan; line base and long sides with baking paper, extending the paper over edges.
- Beat 3 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs and caster sugar in a medium bowl for 5 minutes, until pale and very thick. Pour the hot water down inside the bowl; add chocolate followed by melted butter; gently fold in the flour and baking powder until just combined.
- Beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture into two batches, until just combined. Spread mixture into pan.
- Bake the cake for 12 minutes or until golden and sponge springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
- Meanwhile, dust a kitchen towel, larger than the pan, generously with extra sugar. Turn hot sponge onto the kitchen towel. Peel away the parchment paper gently from the sponge. Working quickly and using towel as a guide, roll the sponge from a long side. Cool for 10 minutes. Unroll the sponge, remove towel, redpoll, cover with a clean towel, cool.
- Combine strawberries, sifted icing sugar and half of the sumac in a medium bowl. Cover and refer iterate for 30 minutes.
- Beat mascarpone and cream in a bowl, until firm peeks form.
- Unroll the cooled sponge; spread with cream mixture. Top with half the strawberries. Refill sponge tightly to enclose the filling. Serve topped with remaining strawberries, sprinkle with remaining sumac.