Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Walnut Cake with Milk Chocolate Icing for 5th Blog Anniversary

It’s spring, the trees started showcasing their new sprouts, the daffodils in my backyard is in full bloom and we are so looking forward to some sunshine, some warmth and comfort when it started snowing heavy again throughout this week!! And it is bitter cold with wintry winds. Is winter not yet over?? It was quite warm with lots of sunshine couple of weeks back and I thought the winter gloom is over. But with the snow this week, it feels like winter is forever!

It’s again another year again, and Shab’s cuisine is an year older than last year. The blog turned 5 on March 11. March is the busiest of months for me as both the husbands and kid’s birthday falls on the same month, just a week apart. Lot of thoughts goes into planning each day to make it special and memorable, and lot of arrangements to be made. The blog was started between the two birthdays, so posting something or even planning something on that day is just of question, atleast for me. I am planning to do a giveaway soon, something edible, some thing that you will definitely be looking forward to, but I will have to plan it for another date, later in April or May after the hectic schedule. Can you guess what that is going to be? Stay tuned for that.

Have I mentioned about my new year resolution on cutting down on my baking? I have been doing good so far with minimal baking unlike usual.  But I will have to break all my rules when it comes to March. It is a celebratory month where my oven sees lot of baked goodies. Everything was working down a treat until I borrowed this amazing chocolate recipe book from the local library. I have been flipping that book ever since I borrowed it. Pages over pages of chocolaty goodness made me full, but this simple recipe had caught my attention enough to try. I had to bake it, it is just the occasion that I had to wait for.

That was when the neighbour called us girls over for a coffee morning. I then bought all the stuffs and baked it just before it hit the midnight, so that I could try and taste it before I took it over to her house the very next morning. Icing was done in a hurry in the middle of the morning rush, and getting the son ready to school and then shooting had to be done soon after dropping son off to school. I was so pressed for time, as I had to get ready before the ladies met together over the coffee table that morning.

The cake was well received by the ladies and went down well. It is a basic butter based recipe, it is a breeze to make and has lovely texture with a lot of crunch from the nuts. The walnuts impart lots of flavour to the cake and the simple chocolate icing works well with the cake. I think apart from chocolate icing, cream cheese frosting or coffee icing would work well with the cake as well. I am sure making this cake again, but I would try tweaking it by adding coffee to the batter and doing a different icing, but  I have to await another chance to bake again.

Walnut Cake with Milk Chocolate Icing
Preparation time: 30 mins
Serves 8-10
180g soft unsalted butter
½ cup, 100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup, 150g plain flour
2 ½ tbsp, 25 g corn flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
60g walnut finely chopped
¼ cup, 60 ml milk

125g milk chocolate
20g butter
40g walnut to garnish

1. Grease and flour an 7 ½ - 8 inch deep pan or line with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180 ˚C/ 170 ˚C fan oven. In a bowl, sift together the plain flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In another bowl cream butter and sugar using an electric whisk until creamy and pale.

3. Add eggs, one by one until well incorporated.

4. Add in the flour mix in 2-3 parts, and fold it gently mixing milk in between.

5. Gradually add in the chopped walnuts and fold again.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until golden for about 35 minutes or a tooth pick poked in the centre comes out clean. Let it cool completely before turning out.

Make the icing when the cake is completely cooled.

1.Melt the butter with coarsely chopped chocolate over simmering water or in the microwave and continue stirring, off the heat, until lukewarm.

2. Place the cake on the rack and pour the warm chocolate mixture over it and spread it using a palette knife. I just iced the top, but you can ice the sides too and decorate with chopped walnuts.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Restaurant Style Chicken 65

It looks like it’s been a while that I posted some recipes here. I have plenty of recipes pending in my drafts, I am not sure when I am going to be done with all those. I am caught up with loads of stuff for the past couple of weeks and I am going to be busy for the coming weeks as well. So, I am hoping my posts are going to sporadic, until unless I prioritize blogging over several other things like I used to do before. 

Back home, Chicken 65 is one of the most popular starters in an Indian restaurant menu. They are not seen in the menus here somehow, but these are the ones we always order for the starters, if they are available. The Indian restaurants here have very different menus as that to India, something that not only taste different, but looks quite different as well. I have to agree to the fact that, Indian food in Indian restaurants back home tastes so much better than the ones in here.

There are many stories about the origin of this recipe, I am not certain with any of them though. I read that, it uses chicken that is 65 days old. Some says it is the 65th recipe on some restaurant menu. Whatever the story is, all I can tell you is, this is a great, simple and easy chicken recipe with great depth of flavour.

I always believed that we can never recreate the restaurant-like food at home and this recipe proved me wrong. I was quite surprised at its outcome, as it tasted as good as the ones we get in the restaurants if not better. It is not only scrumptious, but equally easy and quick to prepare. The outcome is always juicy, tangy and spicy chunks of meat slathered in goodness! I have already prepared it several times, many a times it being the starters for the party and I got rave reviews for it. I usually prepare it with chicken breast, as it is easy for the little ones to eat, but they are more tasty and tender with meat on bone.

Restaurant Style Chicken 65
Serves about 12-15 as starters
Recipe adapted from Shashirecipes
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 mins
 2 lb, 900g chicken breast, or legs cut into small bite size portions, about 2 inches
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp Red chilli powder*
½ tsp cumin powder
½ Tbsp Paprika**
¼ tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp corn flour
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp lemon juice
few drops of red colour
salt to taste

½ of a large onion finely chopped, ½ cup
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
2-4 green chillies
1 tsp pepper powder
2 strands of curry leaves finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
Vegetable oil to deep fry

1. Marinate the chicken piece with all the ingredients listed under marinade until the chicken is evently coated and leave it in the fridge for couple of hours or overnight in the refrigerator for the marinade to seep in the meat.

2. Heat oil in a kadai or a large frying pan and pour enough oil to deep fry the chicken. Oil should not be heated to smoking high heat, but retained at a medium heat to cook the chicken pieces.

3. Once the oil is hot, add few chicken pieces in the kadai and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes undisturbed until the bubbles starts to come down. Using a slotted spoon, flip the chicken pieces over and cook for 3-4 more minutes. At a medium heat it just takes about 7-8 minutes to cook each batch, but check the doneness by taking out couple of pieces. Make sure it is cooked through and you don’t see any pink in the middle. Over cooking them can make it hard and chewy, so make sure you cook it for sufficient time to keep it juicy and moist. Once done, drain them in a kitchen towel to remove excess oil.

4. For the tadka, in another oan, add 2 tbsp of oil and throw in chopped onions. Once they trun golden, add in the ginger garlic, curry  leaves and green chilli and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the raw smell fades.

5. Add in pepper powder and coriander leaves and sauté for few seconds and then add the chicken pieces and mix well. Serve hot with rice, chappathis or naans or as starters.
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