Monday, June 30, 2014

Jerk Chicken

Finally I get time for breather. Today I officially finished my studies and has submitted all my paper works, it definitely calls for a celebration for me. All these days I have been opening my word for typing up assignments and it feels so good to finally write a blog post !

This post is long overdue, its more than a month since I made this Jerk chicken for our anniversary dinner and before I totally forget about this I wanted to post it mainly for my my own future reference and secondly for few friends who has asked me for this recipe. It was actually my hubby who came up with Jamaican  Jerk chicken recipe first. Once in a blue moon he gets into the mood of cooking and do all the search online for a recipe  and cooks for us , the only down side of him cooking is that  for  few hours he  goes on and on about what a good cook he is !!  Anyway coming back to topic, first time when he read this recipe here it mentioned that the scotch bonnet chillies are really hot so use as per your taste, but we both being mallus thought that this scotch bonnet would be something like  Kanthari (small hot green chillies)  and  we ignored that warning and decided to be generous and use 3 scotch bonnet chillies !! Oh boy we were wrong, our mouth was on fire, and the worst part was that we had some friends over for dinner and they suffered too..luckily as it  was my hubby  who made it, I could blame him for all that heat without spoiling my name J .Inspite of all that heat the chicken was still delicious and we all ate it. Second time I decided to take over and made this for our anniversary, but this time I was very cautious, I deseeded the chillies and used only 2 small ones and it made a big difference. It was perfect, we could enjoy the flavours without that heat and for the first time he admitted I cook better than him :) We made this again one more time after that and this is a winner recipe for us now.

Recipe adapted from BBC good food
Chicken thighs – 9
Lemon halves – 2-3 (optional)
For marinade
½ of a small onion
1 ½ inch ginger piece
Garlic cloves – 2
2 small scotch bonnet chillies (deseeded)
Thyme leaves – ¾ tbs
Juice of ½ lime
Soya sauce – 1 ½ tbs
Oil – 1 ½ tbs
Brown sugar – 2 tbs
Ground all spice powder – ¾ tbs
Blend all the ingredients mentioned under marinade to a paste.
Marinate the chicken in that paste and leave it in the fridge overnight.
Bake the chicken in a baking tray in a  preheated oven at 180 degree C for 45 minutes flipping sides in between.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Minnie Mouse Cake and Mini Mouse themed cookies

No matter how tired or busy I am it’s so hard for me to pass any cake requests, so in spite of a having tight schedule till June end, I took up this Minnie mouse cake and Minnie mouse cookies for a little girl who loves Minnie mouse. I was really nervous about making the Minnie mouse standing up on a floral wire but luckily it turned out fine and was the wire was able to hold the weight of Minnie, but things can’t go really smooth every time can it ? An accident happened.. a major one I should say. All my cookies were done and decorated and just when I lifted the cooking rack in which my decorated cookies were resting,  ¼ th of cookies slid through the gap  from  the cooling rack  and crumbled on floor !!! I stood there numb without knowing what to do as I was really running out of time and this happened just when I was going to put them in cookie bag and tie a ribbon for delivery. I had guests coming next day so I was waiting for this cake and cookies to get done to prepare myself for the guests next day. I had to act fast and after the initial panic my brain started working again and I decided to bake it all over again. I have never baked anything as fast I did that day. In one hour cookies were ready but I had the challenge of cooling them before decorating it. So I had to cool them in fridge and freezer and just after mere 15 minutes from the oven , my cookies came to room temperature . I decorated it as fast I could and finally in less than 2 hours I managed to replace the crumbled cookies and delivered it ! All my effort came worthwhile when the birthday girls mum called me to thank me. She gave me a good feedback and  said everyone in the party loved it. After all that’s what matters really and I totally forgot all the stress I had that day!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chocolate Date Walnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I can’t believe how fast my half term holidays went by, now we have one more term to go and then its summer holidays! My studies are on its final few weeks and I (as usual) have kept all the assignments till the very end, so whenever I get time I am busy catching up with those works. Hopefully by July, I will be able to submit everything and will get some time to breath, enjoy some sunshine and of course do more blog posts!

It was our anniversary last week, 9 years to be precise! That morning was my day off and it was just like any other day. I was lazing around with no intention of cooking up anything special but then came a call in skype from lil sis with anniversary wishes. She wanted to know what am I baking and when she heard my reply “Nothing” she didn’t sound very pleased. She pointed out that I bake cake for everyone else and it’s not fair not to bake anything for our special day. Anyway that motivated me to whip up something special. A quick raid in the fridge and I knew what I wanted to make for main and starter. But when I checked for the cake ingredients, I was disappointed that I had only 125 gm of butter which wouldn’t be enough for cake and frosting. After brain storming a bit I decided to experiment my own recipe with the limited ingredients I had. It was inspired from my previous bakes of sticky toffee pudding and coffee walnut cake, so I came up with a new idea of chocolate dates walnut cake. It may sound boastful when I say it was one the best cake I baked in a long time but I have to stress that out again as it was absolutely delicious. The texture, moisture and the taste, a perfect bake indeed!! 

Ingredients ( serves 6-8)
Flour – 1 cup
Cocoa powder – 2 tbs
Salt – 1/4tsp
Baking powder – 1 /2 tsp
Eggs – 2 (large)
Oil – ½ cup
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Caster sugar – ½ cup
Light brown sugar – ½ cup
Dates (pitted) – 150 gm
Boiling water – 3/4 cup
Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
Walnuts (chopped ) – 25 gm

  • In a saucepan place 150 gm of dates and add boiling water to it. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from fire and add baking soda to it. Blend it into a puree
  • Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and keep it aside.
  • In a bowl break 2 eggs, add both caster sugar and brown sugar to it and beat with an electric beater for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add vanilla extract, oil and beat just to mix.
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients and fold in.
  • Add the dates puree and carefully fold in.
  • Finally add the chopped walnuts and fold in.
  • Pour the batter into two 6 inch greased cake tin and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
 Ingredients for salted caramel (yields 2 -3 tbs. of salted caramel)
Butter – 25 gm
Light brown sugar – 25 gm
Double Cream -50 ml
Salt – 1/8 tsp
Place light brown sugar, butter, salt and cream in a saucepan on a low heat until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens and gets a  toffee flavour.

Ingredients for salted caramel buttercream
Butter - 100 gm - (approximately 1/2 cup)
Icing sugar - 200 gm (1 1/2 cup )
Double cream - 50 ml
Meringue powder - 1tsp
Vanilla extract - 1tsp
Salted caramel – 2 tbs.
·        In a mixing bowl add 1/3 of the sugar, salt and meringue powder and mix.
·        Add cream to it and beat it for 5 minutes in an electric mixer with paddle attachment.
·        Add remaining sugar and beat for 3 minutes.
·        Add Butter little by little and beat for 5-7 minutes.
·        Add vanilla extract, salted caramel and beat for 1 minute.

Assembling the cake
Place one layer of 6 inch cake on cake stand and spread buttercream on top. Place the second layer and cover the whole cake with the rest of the buttercream.

Anniversary dinner !! Chicken Pilaf, Jerk chicken and Cake