Eggless fresh mango cheesecake


Well-Sweep Herb Farm


Personally spring is the season I look forward to most. Besides the obvious,long, dark winter bid goodbye, everything is starting to bloom. Life begins…oh joy!!!

I love to work in my garden and grow as much fresh produce as possible in the warm months, nature just provides the best growing environments. I had been on the look out for some Asian herbs, not found at any of the local nurseries. A good friend and neighbour, suggested Well sweep Herb Farm. I was hesitant,it was a good hours drive for me. However after a brief conversation over the phone with them confirming they indeed had what I was looking for ,I headed out today.

Let me say,Herb farm is deceptive. They have every variety of herb known to me in different flavors.So much to choose from,it was a gardeners dream come true. I picked up a Kaffir Lime plant with bright healthy leaves, a curry leaf plant ,Siamese Basil,Key lime plant,Holy Basil ,just to name a few.

At check out the cashier was so helpful and knowledgeable, about repotting, type of soil,watering and treatment once the fall was here. I encourage anyone wishing to build a herb garden (even flower or fruit) to stop by.Believe me,you’ll be thrilled you did.

They have a terrific warranty on all their plants and they ship nation wide,what could be more convenient?

Well-Sweep Herb Farm

205 Mount Bethel Rd,Port Murray

New Jersey 07865

908 852 5390

 

Steamed dumplings in hot sesame sauce


Its funny how life evolves , an idea starts out with one intention and suddenly takes on a new tradition. The sauce for these simple store bought mini chicken dumplings was created by me for unexpected dinner guests as an appetizer till dinner was ready . My husband took such a “loving ” to them , they are now regularly served at our week night family dinners ( yes , we ALL still eat together , every night !) You may use store bought or home made dumplings , depending on your pleasure or time frame . I do however stress using a home made Asian peanut sauce, such as Perfect peanut sauce , found on this web site , it really does make a difference .

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Serves 4

24 mini chicken or pork dumplings

1/2 cup Perfect peanut sauce

2 tbs lite soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 to 2 tbs Sambal Oelek ( ground fresh chili paste , or any crushed red chilis )

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbs sesame paste

pinch of salt and pinch of ground white pepper

Chiu Chow oil for drizzling as garnish

1 sliced scallion

a few sprigs of cilantro

Mix all sauce ingredients and set aside.

Steam dumplings as directed just until cooked.

Pour sauce into a wide saucepan , warm , stirring. Add in steamed dumplings and gently JUST WARM THROUGH . Off heat.

Place in serving dish and garnish with sliced scallions , cilantro and drizzle with Chiu Chow oil . ( Please note , the Chiu Chow oil offers a flavorful impact and should preferably not be omitted )

Almost Tortuga Rum Cake


My son is a great fan of Tortuga Rum cake , minus the nuts . I found this recipe on recipezaar , and , despite the glowing ratings , had my misgivings it would compare to the original . O boy was I wrong !  I feel bold enough to say its even better . We had a group of friends over and they simply could not get enough . It is well risen , moist and really keeps well for days thanks to the butter rum syrup poured over it ,. it is the perfect cake for entertaining as it can even be made a couple of days ahead , saving time on the day of . I must confess I decided to switch from the reccomended Whaler’s Rum to Spice Rum , it gave the cake a more intriguing lingering mouth feel . Really hope you try this .

Recipezaar , by Heart ‘N Soul

Makes one 9 inch cake

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

BASIC CAKE MIX

1 cup cake flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, cut into bits ( please , room temperature butter is important )

4 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

CAKE

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts ( I simply omitted them )

1/2 ( 3  1/2 oz ) package instant vanilla pudding mix

1/4 cup milk

2 eggs

1/4 cup whaler vanilla rum ( I used spice rum )

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

RUM SOAKING GLAZE

1/4 cup butter , do not substitute

2 tbs water

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup whaler rum ( or spice rum )

CAKE MIX

In a large mixing bowl , combine basic cake mix ingredients . On low speed combine ingredients until the mix is the consistency of fine gravel , and all particles are about the same size .( This mix may be contained and stored for up to 3 months in the refridgerator )

CAKE

Preheat oven to 325*F . Spary a 9 inch cake pan with non stick spray . I lined the bottom with parchment paper . Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on the bottom.

Place basic cake mix , pudding mix , milk , eggs, rum , oil and vanilla in a large bowl and combine on medium speed with electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes , scrape down the bowl half way through . Batter should be very smooth .

Pour into prepared pan .

Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes until fully golden and tester comes out clean and cake springs back . Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack while making the soaking glaze .

GLAZE

Combine butter , water and sugar in a small saucepan . Bring to a boil carefully as mixture boils over easily . reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved and syrup is well combined and a little thicker .

Remove from heat and add the rum, mix to combine. While cake is still cooling , pour some of the hot syrup on top of the cake , allowing it time to soak ( this may take a few minutes as there will be a lot of syrup ) continue adding syrup until all of the syrup is added . Allow cake to cool completely in pan before turning out on to a serving platter . Sprinkle with podered sugar , if liked .

Microwavable eggless brownies


Isn’t it just great how the microwave offers us almost instant gratification ? Tarla Dalal has creating a fool proof winning recipe to tickle your taste buds in a hurry …yea.

Tarla Dalal

Yield    1 large brownie or 8 pieces

1 cup All purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups dark chocolate , chopped

1/2 cup unsalted  butter at room temperature

1/4 cup superfine sugar

1/4 cup plain yoghurt ,beaten

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 cup walnuts , chopped

Grease and line a 6 inch diameter shallow microwave safe bowl and keep aside.

Sift together the flour , Baking powder and baking soda and keep aside.

In a micowave safe bowl , add chocolate pieces and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and stir lightly to get a smooth mixture .Keep aside.

In another bowl , add the butter and sugar and stir with a wooden spoon till the mixture is soft and creamy.

Add the melted chocolate to the butter mixture and mix lightly

Add the yoghurt , vanilla , flour and walnuts , mix lightly.

Pour the mixture into the greased and lined dish and microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 70 % power and microwave for another minute. Remove and keep aside.

Rich Chocolate Pistachio Fudge


Fudge is one of those feel good , childhood memories . I remember walking “Kingsway ” ( now Republic street , Valetta Malta ) and going  into the  tiny , quaint candy store , where they had the most delicious fudge . Funny , I used to imagine the store owner getting up before dawn to whip up a fresh batch !!! These are just delicious , enjoy !

Christine McFadden and Christine France

Makes 36

1 cup sugar

1 can ( 13 oz ) Condensed milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz dark chocolated , grated

3/4 cup pistachios , almonds or hazlenuts

 Grease a 7 inch square cake pan and line with parchment paper . Mix the sugar , condensed milk and butter in a heavy pan . Heat gently , stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is smooth .

Bring the mixture to a boil , stirring occasionally , and boil until it registers 240 *F on a sugar thermometer or until a small amout of the mixture dropped into a cup of ice water forms a soft ball .

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the vanilla , chocolate and nuts . Beat vigorously until the mixture is smooth and creamy .

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake and spread evenly . Leave until just set , then mark into squares . Let set completely before cutting into squares and removing from pan . Store into an airtight container in a cool place .

Moroccan Spice Rub


This is such a versatile rub , delicious , smoky and fragrant, so easy to prepare and so impressive. I use it on pork chops , other cuts of meat and even tofu or potatoes. I have even  rubbed small , new potatoes , boiled rubbed with the paste and grilled and a medly of other grilled vegetables and tossed them into couscous…oh what a vegan feast.

Makes 1/2 cup

Fine Cooking

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 Tbs ground cumin

1 Tbs paprika

1 Tbs ground black pepper

1 Tbs ground coriander

1 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 Tbs lemon juice

3 Tbs chopped garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and blend , scraping the sides occasionally ,until you have a paste. Use on your favorite meat , vegetables or tofu.