August 30, 2014 § 4 Comments
Dark chocolate puds, brownies, cakes and all other chocolate desserts are my favourite and they taste even better if topped with a generous scoop of very nice vanilla ice cream. And you can go down the heavenly lanes of taste even further if you drizzle some warm chocolate fudge sauce on top of it. It might sound highly sinful but believe me, we all love such sinful desserts once in a while. And there are times when you crave for such goodness so badly. I have not had even a good dark chocolate bar in recent times, forget about pudding or a cake. Summer had been putting me off from the chocolate and I had been gorging more on fruits than anything else for the dessert. But trust me, you can not stay away from dark chocolate for long if you love having desserts so much. I had been flipping through the pages of Oz magazine Delicious, which my friend brought me last year, and you know what, it had a large section on chocolate. I felt almost trapped and I couldn’t resist. And I had to make this Self saucing chocolate pudding from Australian Masterchef Matt Preston. I have a special place for the classic vintage recipes in my heart. Be it an Indian Kheer (rice pudding) or a Dark chocolate pudding, they have an impact like no other recipe can ever have. And this pudding is amazingly easy and takes no time to bake. It rather surprises you when the sauce oozes out of the bottom of the pan when you dig in your first spoon into it. It is almost magical and divinely tasteful. I divided the pudding to be baked into three smaller pie dishes, but if you like you can make it in one single large ovenproof dish. You can enjoy it warm with some pouring cream or vanilla ice cream or even cold straight out of fridge.
- 150 gm flour
- 200 gm caster sugar
- 50 gm unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 60 gm melted butter
- 125 ml milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50 gm dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease an 1.5L (6-cup) or 3 2-cup capacity ovenproof baking dish.
- Sift the flour, 110g sugar and 25g cocoa into a bowl. Add dark chocolate and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre.
- In a separate bowl, whisk melted butter, milk, vanilla extract and egg. Gradually pour into the well, then fold to combine.
- Spread mixture evenly into prepared dish. Combine remaining 110g sugar and 25g cocoa and sprinkle over the top of the pudding. Carefully pour 2 cups boiling water over the top of the pudding without disturbing the sprinkled cocoa powder too much.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is firm. Stand for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- Dust the warm pudding with extra cocoa and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.
August 24, 2014 § 3 Comments
With this post I would officially be signing off with the summer bounty of stone fruits. It was the last of the stash of sweet and puckery plums which I had tucked away in my freezer. I had been wanting to make ice pops, the perfect treat to reminisce the summer and surely the apt way to bid adieu to all the wonderful stone fruits which summer has to offer.
This year, rains have left us little early and it has become hot and humid again. My basil plant has been ever so growing lately, flourishing heavily like never before. Plum & Basil popsicles seemed to be the right choice for these hot and sunny days. These are the kind of pops which you would have liked probably growing up than being as a kid. They are so puckery and tantalizing! They reminded me of the Plum Sorbet which I had made last year. They almost taste like a palate cleanser.
And look at their color! Vibrant red color ice pops, they look quite sultry! Pardon my cheeky language, but truly speaking, this is what I felt, when I first saw the color. And you’d believe that they have the similar character too, only after you take the first bite. Again sweet and sour at the same time and tantalizing your taste buds.
- 500 gm plums, de-stoned and quartered
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar (adjust sugar depending upon the tartness)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp kirsch (optional)
- Put plums, sugar and water into a non reactive saucepan and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until plums are tender.
- Take the saucepan off the heat, add the basil leaves and kirsch and let stand covered for about an hour.
- Put the plums in a blender or a liquidizer and blend to make a smooth puree.
- Strain the mixture through a sieve. Divide the mixture into ice pop molds and place in freezer for half an hour or until the mixture is lightly set.
- Take the molds out of the freezer and insert the wooden sticks into each mold and put them back into the freezer, until completely set.
August 17, 2014 § 1 Comment
This Spinach Feta Pine Nut tart finds it’s resemblance to the classic Greek tart Spanakopita, except for this being baked in an all butter puff pastry tart shell than the exotic phyllo pastry sheets. It’s one heavenly savory tart which perfectly finds it’s way on to your Sunday brunch table. It’s way more easier than you would’ve thought. And the life gets even easier, if you use a store bought puff pastry. And that is what I exactly did.
Ready to use puff pastries always give a foolproof result. The only challenge I face with them is that all we get here is the one made with salted butter, so you are only left with the savory stuff. For the desserts and other sweet treats, I still have to take the longer laborious route. And the desserts with puff pastries are saved for those cold winter days, when it is slightly easier to manage the butter with rolling pin. But for now, when I am not getting enough time to be spent in the kitchen, I can still enjoy this hearty healthy and summery tart.
I prefer to blind bake the tart shell because that keeps the tart crunchier for a longer time. The filling is amazingly simple yet high on flavors. The salty feta and parmesan cheeses pair perfectly with the creamier spinach filling. And the toasted pine nuts give it rounded and nutty flavor, almost an exotic Greek treat. It’s heavenly served alongside a light greens and tomato salad and a glass of fruity white wine. What more one could ask for on a Sunday?
- 800 gm fresh spinach, washed and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup feta, cut into cubes
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 400 gm puff pastry
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs (basil, oregano, parsley)
- In a pan, heat the olive oil gently. Add the garlic and onion and saute on medium heat for 2 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the spinach and stir. Let the spinach cook for about 10 minutes, stirring in between, or until all the water in pan has dried up completely. Let cool completely.
- Preheat the oven at 180 degree C. Line the pine nuts in a large baking sheet and roast in oven for about 5 minutes. Take them out of oven and let cool in the baking sheet.
- Increase the oven temperature to 200 degree C. Roll the pastry in a rectangle large enough to cover a 14 x 4 inch rectangular loose bottom tart pan.
- Gently place the pastry into the tart pan and snuggle it along the edges using your fingers. Prick the pastry surface at multiple places using a fork. This will prevent the pastry to puff up heavily while pre baking.
- Cover the pastry with a parchment paper and fill it with baking beans. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and baking beans after 10 minutes of baking and then bake for another 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare the filling, by mixing the cooked spinach, egg, sour cream, parmesan cheese, chili flakes, pepper and fresh herbs in a large bowl. Add salt sparingly, as the paremsan and feta cheese have enough salt.
- Once the tart shell has pre baked, pour the filling into the shell and spread evenly. Drop the feta cheese cubes on filling and press them inside gently. Scatter the toasted pine nuts on top of filling. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 200 degree C preheated oven or until the filling is just set.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.