Gluten Free Brownies – Peanut Butter Sandwich Chocolate and Coconut Brownies

For the Love Of Peanut Butter

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When peanut butter and chocolate come together what does that end up with “irresistible” treat I say. My craze for peanut butter continues and this time I decided to add it to my homemade chocolate brownies and instead of adding the peanut butter to the batter mix, it turned out into a peanut butter sandwich. This way I can taste the crunchy peanut butter followed by the fudgy chocolaty brownies. To add to nuttier flavor pecan buts and coconut is added into the mixture making it even more moreish and rich. 20160115_204609

The idea is quite simple and makes a delicious combination of rich chocolate and crunchy peanut butter all in one little treat. Peanut butter is an ideal spread sandwiches, crackers, toast and also to plain yoghurt, your protein shakes to give that super tasty nutty flavour with all the nutritional benefits.

I have always been a great fan and have a big craze about peanut butter. I remember when I was very little one morning I woke up and decide I wanted peanut butter on my bread for breakfast, and that day we had no peanut butter in the house – spoilt Brinda started to cry, so my mum had to send someone to the shop to buy a jar of peanut butter so I could have breakfast. Yes I was a bit spoilt but most importantly mum would do anything to make us happy, now when I think of such things it makes me realise how lucky we are to have parents who would always provide and made us happy.

Let’s continue onto my craze for peanut butter even now I always have jar at home and I add to almost anything – from sandwich to cakes, yoghurt and many of my cooking. I used to feel quite guilty eating peanut butter until I started reading about it and realised peanut butter does not contain any butter at all. The creamy texture is simply the result of the paste in the peanut making it resemble butter. 20160115_230824

Peanut butter is packed with goodness, oh yes I am sure you might be thinking packed so much calories how can this be good for us. Well let me tell you it contains fibre and protein both together that makes you feel full up quickly therefore you don’t eat much. Peanut butter is also full of good nutrients, antioxidants and minerals such as Vitamin E and B12, Magnesium and Potassium all important elements much needed to keep a healthy heart and overall good digestive system, reduced tiredness and fatigue. Peanut butter does contain fat for sure but it is the monounsaturated fat which is the healthy fat option.

I can consume peanut butter at any point in the day providing me with a good source of long lasting energy especially when I have a long tiring day – No guilt feeling.

Ingredients Makes 1 6 medium squares 20160115_204922

  • 200 gms Gluten free flour (can be substituted with plain flour for a non Gluten Free Brownies)
  • 100 gms unsalted butter (soft, almost melted)
  • 175 gms dark muscavado sugar
  • 100 gms Cocoa powder
  • 75 gms desiccated coconut
  • Handful of pecan nuts (optional)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp coffee granules
  • 2-3 Tbs liquid milk
  • 150 gms crunchy peanut butter – beat to a soft paste and set aside

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Prepare the cake tin. Grease an 18cm/7in square cake tin and line with non-stick baking parchment.
  3. Prepare the ingredients; sieve all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Chop the nuts coarsely and set aside.
  4. In a clean bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the egg one at a time, beat well after each addition. If the mixture splits, just add one tablespoon of flour and mix well.
  6. Dissolve the coffee granules in two tablespoons of warm water, leave to cool then add to the mixture.
  7. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Add some milk and fold in gently.
  8. Fold in the chopped nuts to a fairly wet batter mixture.
  9. Spoon the brownie batter into the prepared tin and level out the top with a spatula.
  10. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Test using a skewer, if comes out clean turn the oven off. Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes, and then turn on a wire rack to cool.
  11. Cut the brownie in half spread with the softened peanut butter and sandwich together.
  12. To serve, cut into little squares (dust with either cocoa powder or with icing sugar, your choice). I personally prefer to have them as they are.

Brinda’s Note: For a vegetarian version, simply replace the eggs with 125mls plain yoghurt. This cake can be made in advance and will keep well for up to one week in a sealed container that if you are can resist the temptation……..20160115_204949

 

 

 

Spicy, Aromatic Roast Spatchcock Chicken with Lemon

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Are you planning an event this summer and looking for inspiration? This is yet another opportunity to bring people together and one to make a difference to so many families. As part of my contribution to one of the charity I support http://find-your-feet.org/ I share with you one of my summer recipes. Why not have an outdoor BBQ event to raise money and help  poor families in India & Africa http://www.curryforchange.org.uk/

If you wish to get involved sign up with  on the link above. You will also receive an event pack of Natco spices http://www.curryforchange.org.uk/natco  and lots more. Every little helps…..

Here I have BBQ/Roast Chicken is on the menu, and I have chosen this recipe for few reasons. Firstly because it is one of the most eaten white meat in many household, secondly this recipe can be cooked in many ways – which you will see as you read through. This is what I call one recipe with several options to suit individual taste and use of different method of cooking depending on the cooking appliances/facilities you have available and your mood……as well as the weather and season you may be enjoying.

Roast chicken is a very comforting meal, especially when it can be made in very little time. Here is one for you to try, it’s a flattened chicken whereby a whole chicken is cut in the middle into a butterfly shape.

Nothing complicated here this can be done by using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut in the middle and casually flatten the chicken. The technique of Spatchcocking is great as it exposes the chicken surface area including the skin which is a real bonus of having more crispy chicken skins to enjoy. This way the cooking /roasting time is much quicker with very little effort.

Even quicker if cooked on a BBQ, a whole chicken cooked to perfection on the grill outside, without any hassle. If time allows you can leave the marinating chicken in the fridge overnight or even a few hours before, making a much tender and well flavoured roast chicken.

While cooking a whole chicken isn’t always practical, cooking chicken legs is a definitely easy option perfect for a quicker roast dinner. So here by using the same recipe, you can use make this dish with large chicken portions.20141009_194532

Ingredients Serves 6-8

  • One whole free-range chicken
  • 1 whole lemon – thinly sliced
  • Juice & zest of one whole lemon
  • 4-6 shallots – cut into quarters
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp five spice or alternatively you can use (½ tsp ground cinnamon and½ tsp ground cloves)
  • Ground ginger & garlic
  • Few curry leaves – finely chopped (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1Tbs paprika
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbs margarine or butter
  • Seasoning soy sauce
  • Drizzle of clear honey (optional)

NB: Please note five spices is a lovely aromatic ingredient as its name it contains five spices and must be used sparingly for a good balance of flavour – like most spices it will l keep for a long time if kept in an sealed jar.   20160612_200137

Method

  1. Start by preparing the marinade – In a small bowl mix all the dry spice ingredients followed by a good drizzle of olive oil, and the rest of the wet ingredients, give it a good mix and set aside.
  2. Butterfly chicken by placing breast side down and using heavy-duty kitchen scissors or shears to cut along both sides of backbone, turn chicken over and open it, press gently to flatten it. Using a sharp knife slash into the chicken thigh (this is optional). This will help the chicken to cook quicker, and enable the flavours/seasoning to penetrate right into meat.
  3. A little tip, using your finger gently run under the chicken skin in such a way to separate the skin from the chicken. In doing this I like to rub the spice mix in this cavity rather than rubbing the spices all over the skin surface – this gives the chicken a more flavoursome taste without burning the spices leaving you with crispy spicy chicken skin.
  4. Rub the prepared marinade spice inside and under the skin cavity and paint rest of the marinade on surface, placing the lemon slices around.20141008_201013
  5. It is best to marinate the chicken beforehand then place in a dish cover with cling film and leave to marinate overnight of few hours before. When ready to cook take the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature
  6. If cooking in the oven, preheat it to 200°C. Place the chicken skin side up in a roasting dish and roast for 45 minutes at 200°C. Baste the chicken through, scatter the shallots around in the baking tray reduce oven temperature to 180°C and cook for another 30minutes until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat almost falling off the bone.
  7. Transfer chicken to a carving board, and leave to rest 10 minutes. Cut chicken into portions, and serve with roasted vegetable. Served here with beetroot Raita and coriander flavoured rice.

Other Cooking Options:

  • If cooking on the BBQ, cook for 10 minutes on the grill skin down, turn regularly until thoroughly cooked.
  • If cooking on a skillet, add a drizzle of oil on a hot skillet. On high heat start by sealing the whole chicken skin, lower the heat to medium and using a tong keep moving the chicken side to side every so often until thoroughly and evenly cooked. Add the shallots halfway and cook until golden brown.

Brinda’s Note: Whichever cooking method you choose, leave the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes, before carving into portions and serve.

 

Spiced Papaya Compote – Compote de Papaye

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In dedication to my father and my father-in-law and their love for this beautiful tropical fruit. They both used to tell me how wonderful this fruit was and how important it was to eat a least a slice everyday especially in the morning. It shouts out a powerhouse of health benefits…….20160409_170423

Papaya a very popular fruit In Mauritius and can be found in almost every part on the island. Like many of the fruits we have on the island, Papaya or “Papaye” as we call it in Mauritius originating from South America. Papaya is becoming more and more popular and much loved by everyone of all ages. No doubt, papaya is renowned for its numerous health benefits. The whole papaya tree from the leaves, seeds, skin to the flesh can be used in some ways – nothing wasted since they all have their individual health benefits.

The ripe papaya exudes with rich orange, yellow, pink colours – as you cut through it is encased with dark black seeds. Pretty colours, and even prettier and a very tasty fruit. 20160409_130458

In Mauritius, we consume papaya both ways – ripe and green as and is increasingly becoming a favourite ingredient in many local dishes including dessert. Today I will share one of my sweet recipe – known by many in Mauritius. It is one dessert that my late father-in-law used to make on open fire, cooked on low fire for hours until translucent, soft and exquisitely moreish. Unfortunately he is no more for me to share my version of “Compote Papaye” with him, but I do hope I can only make him proud that I have tried to replicate his recipe – with a little twist.

On the sweeter side of things, I have combined in my recipe a concussion of aromatic spices to enhance and lift the flavours in the dish. This delicious sweet dish infuse with all these aromatic ingredients, which looks as pretty as it tastes can served on its own or with ice cream of your choice. It is a refreshing dessert after any meal.

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Ingredients Serves 4

  • 1 medium raw papaya (peeled, deseeded & cut into thick strips)
  • 1 lime (juiced & strips of zest)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ vanilla pad (sliced and seeds removed)
  • 2 star anise
  • Few whole cloves
  • 4 Tbs granulated sugar (or dark Muscavado sugar)
  • 4 squares of jaggery (raw sugar)
  • 2 cups waterIMG_4068

Method

  1. In a large saucepan add the sugar, jaggery, lime juice, lime zest and water bring together until the sugars have dissolved. 20160113_193344
  2. Add the papaya, cinnamon stick, vanilla pods including the stick, cloves, cardamom, and star anise and bring to the boil then simmer on medium heat.
  3. Leave to cook slowly, moving the papaya around taking care not to let them break. Cover on low heat for at least 1-2 hours, checking and turning the papaya regularly. Add more water as required. 20160409_142229
  4. To check if cooked using a pointed knife insert into the papaya slice to check if perfectly cooked and soft
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down completely before serving, I prefer to serve these chilled drizzled with the thick sirop. It can be served warm as well. 20160409_170641

Brinda’s Note: You can substitute the jaggery with dark muscavado sugar  which will give the fruits a more darker colour almost a rich caramelise colour.

 

An Evening of Delicious Food & Tasty Wines – Wine Pairing with Indian Food

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Foooood oh yes, that what I wish to talk about surprise surprise!!!!!! I just want to share my delightful experience from one of my evening out this week. Jessica and I had a lovely evening girls midweek night out to sample Food & Wine with Romy Gill , Andy Clarke, Kim Sumauroo and their lovely team.

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Andy in his element

When choosing the right wine to go with a curry or any other spicy food, it can be a bit tricky. There are still a deep-rooted aversion to which ones goes with curry. Taste is very unique to each person, but when it comes to food and wine matching, certain flavours bring out the best in each other. I was quite excited to have attended the Food & Wine tasting where wine were carefully selected and paired with some of Romy’s delicious dishes. 

I love my food but when it comes to food and wine I am in even more love with these combination. This evening dinner was just amazing – many people relate a good curry with larger, but not in this case. Andy Clarke is a genius, the way he combined the different wines from white to red, sweet to medium dry, sparkling to dessert wine – good heaven give me more. Andy’s choice of wine which we tasted with every course of the meal were out of bound and complimented the most delicious food prepared by Romy and Kim. 20160518_195809

From the minute we walked in Romy’s kitchen we were greeted with such hospitality and warmth. I just love Romy’s quaint restaurant, it feels so homely and comfortable just like going to someone house for dinner. The warmth and the decors throughout the place is enough to make one want to casually walk around and mingle. As we arrived I could smell such lovely aroma wafting through, my appetite, taste buds were tingling. I knew we were in for a treat…and quite honestly we were spoilt with good wine, delicious food and in the cutest dining room.

Followed by a glass of Fizz Italian Finest Pignoletto & a British Balfour Rose (from Kent), cold and refreshing drink. Next what better to serve a delicious starter of potato balls, chickpeas and tamarind chutney with this amazing Haus Klosterberg Riesling (my favourite). This was so refreshing chilled with the little spicy chickpeas, that certainly exploded with a tingle in the taste buds.

I say this was a teaser because soon after it was followed by the second starter of the succulent spiced marinated Gurnard with a chilled glass of Jean Biecher Pinot Gris. I am a big fan of fish, and I just love it when it’s got spices as well, and goodness this was just the ticket. Soft flaky fish with a hint of spice, crispy onion salad and fermented beetroot. Does this sound crazy of course because all these flavours burst with craziness in the mouth, so good with such a great combination of flavours. 20160518_200254

Should I continue…..the evening is not over yet. We are only half way, now it’s time for the red wines. Puri “gharam gharam” hot hot puri (fried Indian bread) served with pulled pork with added bonus of a sweet beetroot and pomegranate raita. What do I say to such Indian desi food, I was lucky enough to see Romy and Kim busy in the kitchen rolling and frying these fluffy Indian bread. Hot puri that puff up as soon as it hit the hot oil, tempting as it was I so wished I could have eaten it there but I had to resist.

Then comes Andy with the red wine, warm textured, as you swirl the glass and the gorgeous rich colour is revealed. First sip to taste, as it rolls in the mouth I could taste rich, warm soothing totally captivating the moment. Great pair with the dish and this time it’s another Italian Villa dei Fiori Primitivo.

Hang one not quite over yet……the star of the show when a big plate of Lamb Biryani comes out, as the aroma spread across the table. No time to waste, and how one resist when a piping hot plate of Biryani is presented to you. One of the most favourite meals in Indian Cuisine, so tasty, so flavoursome that totally blows your senses away. A good Biryani with alovely red wine – Renwood Amador.

Girls Selfie time

Girls Selfie time

Yeahhhh it dessert time, and a sweet white wine, the chosen one was Asti “Vietti Cascinetta Moscata”. Who would think we would be enjoying this wine with a “Phirni” creamy rice pudding with rose water and cardamom… well Andy did. Spot on, it was just too good to say not to the last wine tasting of the evening and such a perfect way to complete the meal. 20160518_215729

I had such a scrummy evening, wine paring with spicy food – I want more. Next time you have a curry, give the lager a miss, think of wine. There are so many wines to match just about any dish. I thoroughly enjoyed my Food & Wine evening so a big thank you to Romy, Kim & Andy for such a lovely relaxed evening. Wish to try delicious Indian food head over to  Romy’s Kitchen http://romyskitchen.co.uk/

For more details of the wine served on the night contact  Andy & Romy http://romyskitchen.co.uk/contact

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Dhud Pitti – Rice shaped pasta cooked in sweet coconut milk

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In dedication to my dearest Papa, I share with you one of his favourites of all sweets. By now many of you will know, whenever I talk about food I find comfort, and I like to share my memories.  

 Lately I have been trying to replicate some of the traditional and homely dishes my mum used to make. One of them was “Dhud Pitti”, I am not sure whether I have spelt I spelt it correctly, but I have written it the way I say it. So if anyone out there knows the correct spelling please share. These “Dhud Pitti” resemble rice but are made with flour. They are tiny pasta that looks like rice similar to Orzo pasta. Made with a flour dough and shaped into tiny rice grain. My grandmother used to make them, and she would sit down on a small bench with a large tray in front of her, and one by one patiently shape the dough into small tiny rice shaped pasta. These would then be left to dry until they turn hard. Once dried they would be stored and like dried pasta, would keep well in an airtight container.

It is true as they say getting older makes people wiser, I hope so in my case. Since I now appreciate simple staple food more, that also takes me to memory lane. So today I wish to share this delicious but simple pasta-like dish. It looks like rice cooked in sweet coconut milk and flavoured with desiccated coconut and pistachios nuts. My dad really liked this dish, a homemade simple dish and the more reason why he liked this one is obvious…. my dad sweet tooth and affinity to sweet dishes like these ones. 20160416_184834

I will refer to the “dried dhud pitti” as pasta throughout the recipe.

Ingredients Serves 4

  • 250 gms dried rice pasta (Dhud pitti)
  • 1 litre whole milk (you can even use a mixture of condensed milk and milk)
  • ½ can coconut milk (or you can use a whole can)
  • 2 Tbs desiccated coconut
  • ½ tsp ground green cardamom
  • ½ vanilla pod – cut and scrape the seed
  • ½ cup sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
  • Handful of chopped mixed nuts (I used almond, pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • Handful of chopped pistachios for garnishing 20160416_184712

Method

  1. In a deep saucepan put water, bring to the boil. Add the rice pasta in the boiling water. Cook until tender and al-dente. Remove and drain, set aside.
  2. Pour the milk, coconut milk into a heavy-based pan and heat gently.
  3. Add the ground cardamom, vanilla seeds and the half cooked rice pasta to the milk.
  4. Slowly bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer rapidly, stirring from time to time to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If using condensed milk, add it to the mixture.
  5. Simmer stirring occasionally, until the milk is reduced by about half; this may take some time but be patient. This cooking process is slow by worthwhile.
  6. When the milk has reduced by half, taste to check for sweetness and add sugar if needed. Add the coconut, mixed nuts and stir well.
  7. Transfer into serving bowl. Serve with sprinkles of chopped pistachio.

Brinda’s Note: As this is flour based, it tends to absorb a lot of liquid; you may find it dries out when it is cold. To serve add a little more milk while you warm it.

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Egg Flan with Passion Fruit Coulis

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A sweet flan is one impressive dessert that always wows the guests. A delicious sweet custard flan that in my opinion everyone will love. With a good drizzle of caramel sauce that oozes from the bottom and spread all over the flan, giving that glossy golden outer layer of sweet slightly burnt toffee goodness.

This is a quick and easy baked flan recipe, put together in no time. It is great served warm or cold with a good spoonful of the caramel sugar on top.

Flan has always been one of my mother’s favourite desserts. At every family get together or special occasions, mum first choice of dessert would be a flan. And we used to say “oh no not again!!!”, but quite honestly it remains one of the favourite sweets, one that disappears very quickly.

As it is my mama’s birthday today, I share one of mama’s favourites. Wishing you a very happy birthday “Ma”. Wish we were with you on your special day but you remain closer to us all in our hearts, and we know every day is special for you because you spread your love to all those who surrounds you.

To add to this decadent dessert, I have added one fruits that is in abundance in my mama’s home garden in Mauritius. Passion fruits served here with passionate love of a Flan.

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Ingredients Serves 4

  • 3 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 500 – 600mls liquid milk (you can use half evaporated & half condensed milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Passion fruit coulis (optional) – made by dissolving some sugar in fresh passion fruit and simmer for 5 minutes.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until it has dissolved and is golden in colour. Carefully pour hot caramel syrup into a 23cm round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Mix in the milk, sugar, vanilla essence and eggs. Whisk all together.
  4. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 50-60 minutes or until the custard mixture is fairly set. (Alternatively you can cook this in a bain-marie.)
  6. Leave to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight. To unmold, run a knife around edges and invert onto a large rimmed serving platter. Carefully turn the flan out onto a dessert plate. Pour any of the caramel sauce that’s in the bottom of the dish over the top.

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Gateaux Piments” – Mauritian Dhal Fritters with Chilli

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The Mauritian Food Gastronomy is translated proof of the rich diversity of its culture. We have inherited flavours from around the continent and made it into our own, from fine cuisine, rustic home cooked food to street food. If you have visited Mauritius you will certainly relate to this and if you intend to visit the beautiful island then believe me you will not be disappointed when it comes to cultures and cuisine. I often get asked, what is Mauritian food? I guess because Mauritius is such a popular destination we assume everyone know about its food. The Mauritian street food like in most countries has to be in my opinion the kind of food that reflects a country. And today we are not going too far fetch, as I want to share a favourite of most Mauritians and visitors to our beautiful Island – and in one guess many will shout out “gateau piment”. Gateau Piment or Mauritian Dal Fritters are a very easy snack recipe. It is probably one of the most popular snacks (or street food) in Mauritius. These beautiful little fritters crispy on the outside soft on the inside and as you bite in with a touch of two kinds of heat – one from the chillies and one from the heat. I can even do this mouth gesture while I write – that goes ho-ho-ho while I bite in because these cakes are eaten as soon as they come out of the frying pan. 20160301_172329

Many people wonder why these cakes are called “gateaux piments”, simply translated into “chilli cakes”. One would expect to find a big chilli fritter. Well these are made with chana dhall and added to it chillies and herbs. It’s as simple as that, so one would ask, what’s all the fuss about? But us Mauritians we love our “gateau piments” and the “sold out” sign tend to be a very common thing when it comes to these cakes. We like to eat them with bread and butter which makes a lovely breakfast, lunch or mid-afternoon snack with a nice cup to tea. 20150816_123144

These small, tasty fritters are beautiful just like Mauritius. They are a real symbol of simplicity, yet beautiful and delicious and I could not think of a better recipe blog to share on the occasion of Mauritius Independence/Republic Day.   “Gateau piment” are such delights, most “marchant gateau piments” will have a queue of people waiting to buy these hot golden jewels. This is not an uncommon site where there is hot gateau piment being fried and the smell of these fritters can travel a long way. Therefore as we say, just follow your nose to get to your nearest “marchant gateaux piment”. Liked and enjoyed in most Mauritian household. 20160301_172537

I felt like sharing this recipe with you because just like many Mauritian food and I would call these a real delicacy in the Mauritian Cuisine. “Gateau piment” can also be used in several other way, any leftover you can keep in a container and add them to a tomato salsa (salad gateau piment), as seen below. 20160216_193102 

Ingredients – Serves 6-8

  • 230 grams of yellow Chana dhal
  • Bunch of spring onion finely chopped
  • Green chillies – finely chopped (personal choice depend on how hot you would like the cakes)
  • 1-2 dried red chilli – finely chopped
  • Fresh chopped coriander
  • 1-2 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt and peppers as per taste
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Method

  1. Rinse and wash the dhal. Leave to soak in a bowl of cold water, preferably overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the soaked dhall in a colander. 20160213_155537
  3. Once well drained, divide the dhal in three parts. Place one portion in a food processor, blend to a coarse texture, remove and set aside.
  4. Blend the second portion now this time to a softer texture, remove from blender add the first batch of ground dhal. 20160213_155438
  5. Take the third portion blend to a smooth texture add a little of water if needed so you get a rather smoother soft texture paste. By grinding the dhal into three different textures will give you a very crispy, crunchy cake but yet soft on the inside.
  6. Mix all together. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Taste for seasoning and as necessary. 20160213_162956
  7. Heat oil in a deep-frying pan. Make small uneven balls and deep fry the “gateaux piment” in batches until golden brown. (Remember the oil has to be at the right temperature, if too hot it will burn the cakes leaving a rather soggy inside. If the oil is not hot enough the cakes will quickly absorb a lot of oil making them quite oily and greasy cake).
  8. Remove the “gateaux piments” drain them on kitchen paper. Serve hot. Or if you fancy with bread and butter.

Brinda’s Note: These make a lovely vegetarian snack at parties or even for a morning or afternoon snack – Mauritian Style. 20160214_101204

“Rainbow Sponge Roll”

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In celebration of Mauritius Independence Day

I have been inspired by the beautiful colours of the Mauritian flag to bake my Rainbow Sponge Rolls…..But before we start baking lets spare some moments to reflect on why we are here today.

As Mauritius celebrates its 48th anniversary of independence, the day also marks the 24rd anniversary of the Mauritian republic, from Independence to Republic our colourful flag of independence has remained the same. 20150312_123215

Four-striped red over blue over yellow over green.

Symbolises:-

  • Red reflects independence
  • Blue for the colour of the Indian Ocean
  • Yellow symbolizes a bright future
  • Green represents the lush vegetation of the island.

There is something deeply heartening about how we got our independence; it is the tale of our great fathers who suffered slavery, indentured labour and colonial rule, and fought for independence, overcoming the odds that came in the way of a life of fulfillment and dignity. The people, whose roots are in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, China and Africa feel an ‘umbilical’ connect with Asia & Africa. As the new generation we can only salute all our people who worked together to build our beautiful nation and made our treasured Island free from outside rulers.

Ingredients Serves 6-8

  • 6 free-range eggs
  • 150g/6oz golden castor sugar
  • 150g/6oz self-raising flour
  • Food colouring – red, blue, yellow, green
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Mixture of desiccated coconut, finely chopped nuts (please note this is optional)

For the filling:

  • 150g/3oz strawberry jam
  • 250ml/9fl oz whipped double

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.Grease and line four 23cm x 30cm/9in x 12in Swiss roll tins. If you don’t have four tins (like me) you can bake them one at a time or bake in a larger tray and spread the mixture as illustrated in my picture below.
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
  3. Fold in the flour. Separate the mixture into four equal quantities in four mixing bowls.
  4. Now add the food colourings in each sponge mixture and carefully mix, (taking care not to overwork the mixture).
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tins.
  6. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until light and springy to the touch.
  7. Remove from the oven and turn the sponge out onto another piece of greaseproof paper.
  8. For the filling, place the red sponge on a greaseproof paper spread the jam onto the sponge and then spread with the cream, leaving a small gap around the edges.
  9. Repeat this by now placing the blue sponge, then yellow and lastly the green sponge until you have layered all the sponge on top of each other.
  10. Now you’re ready to roll! Push the paper towards you and ease the sponge over the filling. Roll all the way to the end then turn over to seal the filling.
  11. Use the paper to keep the roll tight, I find it best to the take the paper between your index finger and thumb, and use the rest of your fingers to push the roll over.
  12. Leave the roll with the seam side down to cool. If you are adding the coconut and nuts mixture, sprinkle the mixture on the grease proof paper and roll the sponge gently so the mixture sticks to the sponge.
  13. Dust with a little caster sugar or icing sugar and serve.
  14. Cut the sponge into little rolls. 20150312_122610

Our National Anthem:- Sing with Pride

  • Glory to thee, Motherland, O motherland of mine.
  • Sweet is thy beauty, Sweet is thy fragrance.
  • Around thee we gather As one people, As one nation, In peace, justice and liberty. Beloved country, may God bless thee For ever and ever.

To celebrate Mauritius Independence day indulge yourself into a delicious scrummy rainbow sponge roll.. Happy Republic Day to All xxxxxxx

 

Tiramisu with “Baileys Chocolat”

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I have been thinking about this for a little while now and every time I open my drinks cabinet – which is very often I will say!!! I see this bottle of “Baileys Chocolat Luxe” staring at me. It’s crying out to be used up. I had a dinner party last week and decided to make good use of it.

Tiramisu is liked by many. It is very much a party sharing dessert and easy to serve. My husband & friends like Tiramisu but strangely enough I have not made it for quite some time, so it was well overdue.

If you’re a fan of Baileys Cream I am sure this one will be a great dessert for you, an added twist to a much loved dessert. The other change I made to this recipe was to use a mixture of sponge fingers and amaretto biscuits. Wooow! The combination was perfect. The crunch and almond flavored biscuits made this dessert even tastier.

Tiramisu looks so impressive every time it’s brought to the table. When cutting through the layers with the soft textured coffee and alcohol soaked sponge fingers and cream, it certainly looks complicated to make and yet it’s ridiculously so easy to do. I would always recommend you to make it the night before as it always tastes better the next day.

No doubt I decided to share this recipe today on this Valentine Day Special. Who can resist chocolate, cream and delicious dessert on such an occasion. (See my note below for other ingredients and vegetarian option).

Enjoy!! 20160205_191337

Ingredients Serves 4-6

  • 2 large free range (it is very important to use very fresh eggs)
  • 75gms castor sugar
  • 250gms Mascapone cheese
  • 300 gms biscuits (I have used both sponge fingers and amaretto biscuits)
  • Instant espresso or strong coffee dissolved in 350ml water (cooled)
  • 200 mls chocolate Baileys
  • Cocoa powder & 2 Amaretto biscuits (powdered) for decoration 20160205_191232

Method

  1. Begin by combining ¾ cup of the chocolate Baileys with the espresso or strong coffee. Set aside.
  2. Layer half of the biscuits alternately in a shallow glass dish, pour half of the coffee mixture over the biscuits; let them soak up the coffee liqueur add a bit more as required.
  3. Separate the eggs in two mixing bowl. Using an electric whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together until thick pale yellow and creamy.
  4. Add the mascarpone cheese to the mixture, followed by two tablespoon of the baileys mixture. I purposely do not add too much of the baileys mixture, as it’s a chocolate one adding too much will change the colour of my mascarpone mixture. Mix all until well incorporated.
  5. Whisk the egg white until thick and frothy. Fold the egg white into the mascarpone, and then spread half of this mixture on top of the layer of biscuits.
  6. Repeat with another layer of biscuits, spoon the remaining baileys mixture over the biscuits and then top with the remaining mascarpone mixture.
  7. Cover the dish with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
  8. Before serving; using a tea strainer sprinkle with powdered amaretto biscuits and cocoa powder to decorate the tiramisu.

Brinda’s Note: You can use original Baileys Cream or the traditional Marsala wine for this dessert, the procedure remains the same.

If you are not keen on using raw eggs and want a vegetarian version, substitute the eggs with condensed milk. But remember to reduce the amount of sugar.

 

Diwali Celebration

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Diwali or Deepavali, the “festival of lights” is a very auspicious festival, and as it’s related to lights what better way to describe this occasion. It is one of the most significant festivals in Indian culture, celebrating the victory of light over darkness – good over evil. “Diyas” oil   lamps are lit to welcome Lord Rama’s return after 14 years of exile. Diwali is also associated with the goddess of prosperity Lakshmi, and marks the beginning and a prosperous year.

Light brings brightness and happiness and in my ways to describe Diwali is simply a message to appreciate the good things in life. Everyday can be celebrated as Diwali but in the Hindu calendar today is the auspicious day and as our lives is very much dictated by the lunar moon/sun Diwali celebration falls on a specific day every year.

The most important of all is that Diwali is a time to treasure and to remind us of the good over the bad things in life, and the fact is good things always prevails over the bad. And the message is no matter what, we need to surrender to goodwill, and what better way to show our good will is to share.

For that reason to celebrate Diwali many food are prepared both savoury and sweets and shared amongst friends and family. It’s one way of saying “I Care” about “you” rather than just me, meaning let’s forget about selfishness. Sharing sweets and food has certain meaning and in my view it’s sheer happiness of sharing to those who are less fortunate and in need.

Below are just a few ideas which might inspire you to make a few delicious sweet & savoury dishes and share which will certainly bring a smile and happiness to some.

Wish you all a very Happy Diwali – Happy Deepavali

With Love Brinda

xxx