Crème brûlée – its actually not that complicated!

Found this post in my drafts!! Wonder why I didn’t post it!!

So somewhere last year I tired making the Crème Brûlée…for a person who doesn’t speak French like me, this name sends shivers down the spine. But the process wasn’t that bad actually. This is one of the French desserts which is actually not that complicated as people make it seem!! It has various names like Creme Catalana, Cambridge Burnt Cream and so on…essentially it is a creamy custard made of yolks which is finished off by burning/carmelising a layer of sugar on top. It is said that François Massialot, the esteemed French chef who cooked for illustrious hot shots during 1690s invented this dessert. He was famous for his banquets at places like  Château de Meudon, and Versailles. Interestingly, the English translation of the dish and similarity to another dish called the English Cream caused some confusion and made Crème Brûlée vanish from cookbooks till 1980s. During this time it reappeared as a symbol of self-indulgence and a restaurant popular!

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Snap goes the crust 🙂

Without further ado, here is the recipe. I have adapted the recipe from my ‘Good Housekeeping Step-by-step Cookbook’ that was incidentally published in 1980!!

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No-Bake Sinful Dark Chocolate and Brandy Butter Pecan Tart

Didi, Daibi, where have you guys vanished??? Our dear blog and I are really sad and missing you two..your comments, your posts and your photographs!! 😦 😦 Please take out some time from your busy schedules and write to me…please…

Last week my in-laws left for Kolkata…they stayed with us for 2.5 months and we really had a ball with them!! Did you guys know, that my Mother-in-law is also an awesome cook?!? Kya mast mast things she made!! Gobhi samosa (that we baked), Shakkar Paarey or as the Bongs say, Goja; Tamatar ka Achar (Tomato Pickle); Bengali Style Mutton er Chop (Cutlets) and Fish Fry; Chocolate Pudding;  and numerous Bengali style veggies and curries!! For these last 2.5 months, really loads of cooking happened in my kitchen…I seldom do the Bengali regular meal of rice, daal (lentils), 1-2 veggies and a fish or chicken curry with some chutney or papod/bhaja/fritters. This is because, I think (and have successfully convinced Niloy too) that we have eaten this food all our lives and we will continue eating it once we are back in India. So it is better to try the veggies, fish, fruits and meats that are available here….cook world recipes from ingredients available here and try making Indian stuff from them too! What say? 🙂

Anyways, today am putting up a recipe of a biscuit tart. Its really easy and it is fabulous in every way..I made it for my in-laws and they loved it! I have tried out many variations of this, so feel free to tweak the recipe as per your likes…

Sinful Dark Chocolate and Brandy Butter Pecan Tart

Sinful Dark Chocolate and Brandy Butter Pecan Tart

Strawberry Custard Tart

Strawberry Custard Tart

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Quick Mango Pancakes for a school-day breakfast

Dearest Dakhina,

Yesterday it rained so much that we were confined to the house in the evening and Riz couldn’t play football, so we whiled away some time by watching a food programme. In a diner somewhere in the American hinterland, a portly chef was turning out fluffy pancakes literally swimming in butter. And Riz, being a true gourmand in the making, ordered his personal chef, obviously me, to make some for him right away. It was with difficulty I convinced him that pancakes always tasted better in the morning . A fact which I thoroughly rued come breakfast time, early next morning. Since when did evasion tactics turn into a “promise”! Six thirty in the morning, there I was armed with an egg whisk and ladle. Images of the butter drenched pancakes from last evening churning my stomach. I dared not emulate that, even with Riz continually trying to convince me that pancakes couldn’t be made without loads of butter. So after a quick think I decided to cut the fat and add some fruit to turn up a healthier and tasty version. “Yummy” was what my son pronounced between mouthfuls. Quick, easy, with no butter at all, my version turned out just as I wanted them…. delicious, flavourful and soft soft soft.

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Dahi Vada ( Savory Lentil Cakes in Yogurt with Mint and Tamarind Chutney)

Hi Ramit,

I have been looking at the pictures of your Delhi by Foot  walks, posted on Facebook. They show how Delhi is such a study in contrast, on one hand it is the epitome of the brash, unapologetically “in your face” new India and at the same time it is a continuity of a living tradition, a simultaneously co-existing palpable past. The upcoming Delhi By Nite: Ghost Tales & Shadows of Dilli on Saturday, 20th July, sounds so unusual and promises to give an out of the box experience . And I am sure “The City of Djinns” will provide ample spine-chilling material….how I wish I could be a part of this, you must give us a similar tour when we come there.
I may live far away, but I am a die hard Delhiite. It still is my go- to city for shopping, for food, for losing myself in history. It is the place where I have left behind my younger self. You may have come across her in your excursions, there I am, sketching at Feroze Shah Kotla, catching the bus to Delhi Art College, window shopping in Lajpat Nagar or making my way through Chandni Chowk. Frozen in time. Forever. The couplet of Zauq reverberating in my mind “Kaun jaye Zauq phir Dilli ki galiyan chhor kar” whoever in their right minds would desert the by-lanes of Delhi.
I even think that your love for exploring the city may have its seed in the many Sunday outings my father took us on. If you remember we would pack a brunch of boiled eggs and bread-butter, and then explore Humayun’s tomb,or Qutab Minar and many other historic sites. Now you have turned your passion into your profession, and can be seen eating your way through Delhi with single minded regularity! Talk about having the cake and eating it too.
My dear brother, today’s recipe is for you and in memoriam of the many wondrous street food that only a multi cultural melting pot like Delhi can provide, and which I miss like crazy.
Although this is an Indian snack, it can also be a side dish to any meal.

Dahi Vada with sweet- tangy tamarind chutney and hot-spicy mint chutney

Dahi Vada with sweet- tangy tamarind chutney and hot-spicy mint chutney

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Home-made Tagliatelle Alfredo with Mushrooms and Baby Corn

Hi Dakhina,

It’s raining here! Now that Monsoon has finally decided to pay us a visit, humidity our permanent house guest might let us exist in peace for a few days at least. And I am rushing to make the most of this sudden drop in the hygrometer.  My other cousin Pinaki, visited us last weekend and came bearing the best possible gifts…. mushrooms, baby corn and cheese. Now that I had the perfect ingredients for a wonderful Italian dinner, I decided to make my own pasta from scratch. You have told me often enough to try my hand at it. Well last night, I did. And wow what a revelation ! I doubt if I will be buying those packaged pastas any time soon . And it was pretty simple too. Making the dough was the same as kneading atta for chapattis, and the cooking time was a fraction of that of dry pasta. The only thing which took a little time was the rolling and cutting bit. But I involved Riz, who gladly cut the tagliatelle ribbons, while I rolled out the pasta sheet. It was fun and the flavour was simply amazing.

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No-Bake Vegetarian Cheesecake with Kiwi and Mango

Dear Dakhina,

Yes, it’s been a while since I visited the by-lanes of curry-cousin land, and how I have missed the heady aroma of recipes …. A strange mix of circumstances have prevented me from taking a more active part. Time has just flown, and in a blink of an eye, days have turned into weeks . Meanwhile my little sister has tackled her food demons and come out a winner. Iced cakes, jams, preserves, and even your own food business.. I couldn’t be more proud of you. Yes, I’m definitely trying to sweet talk you into forgiving me . And as an atonement for deserting you, I am making a comeback with a dessert! And not just any old dessert, but a deliciously divine vegetarian cheesecake with yummy fruit.

An interesting thing about this cheesecake is that it is made with home made ingredients that I have substituted for conventional store bought ones. You know here we don’t get cream cheese or mascarpone or just about anything! After this recipe you could call me the queen of substitutions ! Also instead of a large single cake I have made individual servings. You can divide or multiply the ingredients according to your need.

No-Bake Vegetarian Cheesecakes

No-Bake Vegetarian Cheesecakes

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A Winter Morning Tea with Egg n Cheese Pillows

Dear Rinki,

The barometer has been reading 14 degree C…its such a pain getting up in the morning, I just feel like burrowing deep into the quilt and hibernating till spring knocks on my window. Its not that I don’t love winters, I do. Especially now that the flowers are in bloom and there  is early morning fog…that’s a favorite. A foggy morning, with next to zero visibility, and streams of smoke enveloping each spoken word, never fails to transforms me back to childhood. Suddenly I am five again, walking to school with ma, holding her hand, and feeling transported to a strange land where around the next invisible corner, something magical waited to be discovered. I have never been able to shake that feeling for a more prosaic one, maybe I never wished to.

Yes winter mornings are definitely special, sans the early morning tiffin making of course! But Thursday was special, it was Ma’s birthday. Wanted to surprise her with a special something to accompany her morning cup of tea which she relishes. So I made these soft pillowy buns stuffed with cheese and eggs. The perfect savory snack to go with her Morning Cuppa.

Morning Cuppa with Egg n Cheese Pillows

Morning Cuppa with Egg n Cheese Pillows

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