Eggless easy almond paste cake


Being an almond paste fan , I simply love this cake , it has a tender fine crumb with deep hints of almond . This recipe can easily be turned into vegan by switching the butter to Earth balance margarine and switching the buttermilk to soy milk plus a teaspoon of cider vinegar .

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1/2 lb almond paste

1  1/4 cups ( 10 oz / 315 g ) superfine sugar

1 cup ( 8 oz / 250 g) room temperature unsalted butter , or earth balance margarine

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups ( 16 fl oz or 500 ml ) buttermilk or soy milk plus 1 tsp vinegar ( combine soy milk and vinegar for a few minutes )

3 cups ( 12 oz or 375g ) all purpose flour

2 tsp ( 1/4 oz or 8 g ) baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325*F . Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan.

Combine the almond paste and sugar in an electric mixer and process until well blended . Add butter and beat until very creamy . Stir in the almond extract , Vanilla extract and buttermilk . Mix until well blended .

Sift the flour , baking powder , baking soda and salt together . Add the dry ingredients to the almond paste / buttermilk mixture , stirring to blend . Do not overmix . Pour the  batter into the greased bundt pan .

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean . Cool in pan for a few minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool .

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Fabulous eggless white chocolate cheesecake


This elegant cheesecake makes a great presentation when decorated with white chocolate curls and served alongside a beautiful bowl of sliced strawberries . The great thing is that this is a no bake cheesecake , freeing up oven space when entertaining.

Williams Sonoma

One 9 inch cake , serves 12

CRUST

1 package ( 9 oz /280  g) chocolate wafer cookies ,broken

1/4 cup (2 oz /60  g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (4 oz /125 g) unsalted butter , melted and cooled

FILLING

12 oz (375 g )  Good white chocolate ,chopped

1 cup ( 8 fl oz /250 ml ) heavy cream

1  1/2 lb (750 g) cream cheese , at room temperature

1/4 cup ( 1 oz /30 g) confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

large block good white chocolate , slightly softened

CRUST

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade , combine cookies and sugar. Process to grind finely . Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs begin to stick together . With your  hand draped with plastic wrap to form a glove , press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a springform pan 9 inches in diameter and 2  1/2 inches deep .Set aside.

FILLING

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat , combine the white chocolate and cream and heat , stirring constantly , until melted and smooth . Remove from the heat and refridgerate , stirring occasionally , until cool , about 30 minutes .

In a large bowl , combine the cream cheese , confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract . Using an electric mixer set on medium speed , beat until well blended . Add the cooled white chocolate mixture and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with aluminum foil and refridgerate overnight or for up to 3 days .

To serve , run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake . Release the pan sidesand place the cheesecake on a plate. Cut the white chocolate into long , thin curls . Mound the curls atop the cake and cut into wedges.

Chili sweet soy


This is an indispensible Thai mulipurpose sauce . It is easy to prepare with several easy to find ingredients , its great served with grilled or fried foods . Once prepared it can be stored , thightly covered in the refridgerator for up to 2 weeks .

1/2 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 tbs finely diced onions

2 tbs tomato paste

2 tbs rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar

2 tbs finely diced fresh ginger

1 tbs or more to taste  red chili sauce ( like sambal olek ) or Tabasco .

Combine the soy sauce and sugar in a small saucepan . Place over medium heat and cook 7 to 10 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and the mixturethickens . Remove from heat and let cool . Stir in the onions , tomato paste , vinegar , ginger and red chili sauce .

Serve on the side with grilled and satay dishes

Mushroom Satay


Mushrooms , of all kinds , make great satays . They absorb marinades well , and are great on skewers , the meaning of satay. The satays should be oiled while grilled , to ensure a tender inside and a crisp outside. Serve with peanut sauce or Chili sweet soy sauce , both recipes posted on this site .

Serves 6

Chat  Mingkwan

2 lbs assorted mushrooms (portobello , shiitake and button )

1 package bamboo skewers

1/4 cup finely minced lemongrass , tender midsection only

3 tbs finely minced garlic

3 tbs finely minced fresh ginger

3 tbs finely minced green onions

1 tbs pepper

1 tsp salt

vegetable oil , as needed

Slice the large mushrooms into long strips about 1/2 inch thick . Leave the small mushrooms whole . Skewer the mushrooms horizontally with the bamboo sticks .

To make an herb rub , combine lemongrass , garlic , ginger , green onions , pepper and salt in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor until well blended . Rub the herb mixture over the mushrooms , making sure all surfaces are well covered.

Arrange the skewered mushrooms on a tray , stacking the skewers on top of each other . Sprinkle lightly with the oil . Cover the mushrooms with plastic wrap and refridgerate them overnight .If you are in a hurry , you can marinate them for 1 hour at room temperature .

About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve the mushrooms , light a charcoal grill .When it reaches medium heat , grill the mushrooms 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until they are tender . If the mushrooms seem dry , brush them occasionally with oil

Serve hot with peanut sauce or Chili Sweet Soy .

Rich chicken and pistachio curry


Pistewala Murgh is a delicious , creamy , rich chicken curry . Typically I serve this for company when I want to pull out all the stops , but , on occasion , I serve this for a simple romantic dinner with my husband . I know pistachios are not always on hand , so I have made this with cashews or even macadamia nuts .

Sanjeev Kapoor

1 lb boneless chicken , cut into half inch pieces

2 large onions , boiled till tender in 1 cup water

1 inch piece ginger , 4 to 5 cloves garlic , ground to a fine paste

4 green chillies , finely chopped

1/2 cup yogurt, whisk

1/2 cup pistachio nuts

4 tbs oil

2 tbs coriander powder

1/2 tsp white pepper powder

salt to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp garam masala

Drain the onions , cool slightly and grind to a paste .  Soak pistachio nuts in hot water for 10 minutes , drain and peel . Reserve a few pistachio nuts for garnish .

Grind the remaining peeled pistachio nuts with chopped green chillies to a fine paste , adding a little water .

Heat oil in a pan , add boiled onion paste and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until oil starts oozing out , careful not to brown the onions .

Add the ginger garlic paste and stir fry briefly . Add coriander powder , white pepper and salt ; mix well . Stir in pistachio and green chillies paste and cook for a minute .

Add chicken pieces and saute for 2 minutes . Reduce heat , add 1 cup water and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked . Stir in yogurt and continue to simmer for 2 minutes , stirring occasionally .

Stir in fresh cream , sprinkle garam masala powder , remaining pistachio nuts and serve hot .

Quick eggless berry Mousse


With spring around the corner , big plump juicy berries will be easily available . This recipe works well with most berries like blue berries , black berries , strawberries and raspberries , the last two being my choice .

serves 4

Food and wine

1 pint berries , hulled and quartered

3 tbs sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 heaping tablespoon thin sliced fresh mint ( optional )

In a medium bowl , sprinkle the hulled and quartered berries with the sugar and mash them lightly with a fork until the strawberries have excuded some juice and the sugar has started to dissolve . Let macerate for 15 minutes .

Strain the juice from the berries into a bowl . Whisk the sour cream into the berry juice . In a medium bowl , whip the heavy cream until it holds soft peaks . Fold in the sour cream mixture and then fold in the sweetened berries .Refridgerate the berry mousse until it is chilled , at least 20 minutes .Spoon into bowls and garnish the mousse with the slivered fresh mint , if you like.