Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Daring Bakers #20 Challah... and my childhood memories :)

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

"Challah (also ḥallah plural: challot/ḥalloth/khallos) (Hebrew: חלה) is a special braided bread eaten on Sabbath and holidays. According to Jewish tradition, the three Sabbath meals (Friday night, Saturday lunch, and Saturday late afternoon) and two holiday meals (one at night and lunch the following day) each begin with two complete loaves of bread. This "double loaf" (in Hebrew: lechem mishneh) commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years after the Exodus from Egypt. The manna did not fall on Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion would fall the day before the holiday or sabbath. Each single loaf is woven with six strands, both loaves have twelve which represent each tribe of Israel." - by Wikipedia.org


Challah - or chalka in Polish - is something I'm very familiar with :) I remember when I was only few years old and we had some leftover, a little on the hard side, chalka. My dad used to warm some milk and put a little bit of sugar in it. He then tear the chalka (or chopped into a big cubes) and add to the milk. Chalka would soak all the sugary, warm milk and... that would be my breakfast! Nothing better on a cold winter morning... especially when you have a hard school day in front of you ;)
This time it was my Hubby who fought with this month's challenge. It's Him who bakes all the breads at home so why not this time ;) The result was fantastic! Just like I remembered it.. You have to try it!
Oh, and Ruth - thank you my dear for the great challenge and bringing back those great, childhood memories! xoxo


How to make it...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Polish cream pie - kremowka - Pope John Paul II favourite...

"Kremówka, napoleonka is a Polish type of cream pie. It is made of two layers of puff pastry, filled with whipped cream, creamy butter cream, vanilla pastry cream (custard cream) or sometimes egg white cream, and is usually sprinkled with powdered sugar. It also can be decorated with cream or covered with a layer of icing.
The cake itself is a variation of mille-feuille - a French dessert made of three layers of puff pastry filled with cream or jam - also known as the Napoleon.
On 16 June 1999 pope John Paul II mentioned that after he had completed his matura exam, he had kremówkas with his colleagues in his home town of Wadowice. They wagered who could eat more. The future Pope ate eighteen kremówkas but did not win the bet.
And there was a cake shop. After the matura (matura is a Polish equivalent of a leaving certificate exam) we went for kremówkas. That we survived that all, those kremówkas after the matura....
—Pope John Paul II
This was publicized by media, and "papal" kremówkas from Wadowice became popular in Poland. "Papal kremówkas" are filled with pastry (custard) cream." - by Wikipedia.org


Everyone, but everyone, heard about kremowka in Poland. That's also due to Pope who was so fond of them. I ate them few times in cafe or cake shops but never made one myself. And this time I didn't make it either ;) I just bake the puff pastry and it was my Hubby who was responsible for making the crème patissière. We didn't know exactly where to find a good and reliable recipe for the cream but fortunately Raymond book came to the rescue! It's actually quite easy to make and it's very smooth, light and... delicious! :)

How to make it...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chicken Saag - chicken in spinach Indian style...

"Saag (Hindi: साग; Punjabi: ਸਾਗ ; Oriya: ଶାଗ) or sag is a spinach and/or mustard leaf-based dish eaten in South Asia with bread such as roti or naan, or rice (in Orissa and West Bengal). Saag can be made from spinach, mustard leaves, finely chopped broccoli, or other greens, along with added spices and sometimes other ingredients such as paneer. On some menus, it is called saagwala.
Saag is more common in Punjab, especially Sarsoon da saag, where it may be eaten with makki di roti. This roti is made of corn flour and is yellow in colour, though it can also be eaten with other breads. Saag/sag however can be a catch-all term for various green-leaved dishes. Sag aloo is a common dish in Pakistani/Indian cuisine as served in restaurants and take-aways in the Western world." - by Wikipedia.org

I just love spinach so when I saw this recipe I thought it's perfect for me and my family (lil J is a huge spinach fan too - after mummy :) ). It's easy and delicious - so what do you want more from a recipe. Spinach is very popular in Indian cuisine and is widely used. I would even go as far as to say that after aubergine, onions and okra it's next vegetable on the priority list in an Indian kitchen. Hope you'll like it as much as I did!
This recipe comes from a great cookbook 'Complete Indian Cooking' by M.Baljekar, R.Fernandez, S.Husain and M.Kanani.


How to make it...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spiced potato soup...

Light and tasty, this creamy and mild vegetable soup is perfect for lunch or as a starter. It's good warm or cold. It's very cheap to make and also quick and easy - something great to fit into a busy family life.
One tip I can give when cooking Indian dishes (or all others as well for that matter) prepare all your spices, measure them before you even start cooking. Sometimes a spice list can be very long and you can mix something up when trying to add them and measure quickly when already cooking.


How to make it...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Curried lamb samosas...

"A samosa is a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, ground lamb or chicken. The size, shape and consistency may vary, but many versions are triangular. Samosas are often accompanied by chutney. Samosas are a popular appetizer or snack in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Southwest Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, and South Africa." - by Wikipedia.org

I always wanted to make samosas. I didn't have a filo pastry at home though - which is usually used to make them - but I remembered that The Hairy Bakers made samosas once and it was a home made pastry, not filo. Found the recipe for the pastry online and the only thing left to 'create' was filling. Finally had an excuse to use that lamb laying in our freezer for some time now. I loved those samosas! You can eat them warm but personally I think (and mu Hubby thinks that as well) they are better cold. There is some work with the pastry itself but it's well worth it!!! :)



How to make it...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Goan fish cakes...

"Goa is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot. (...) Goan cuisine consists of regional foods popular in Goa, located along India's west coast along the Arabian Sea. Seafood, coconut milk, rice and local spices are main ingredients of Goan cuisine. The area is located in a tropical climate, and spices and flavors are intense. Use of Kokum is another distinct feature. Goan food cannot be considered complete without fish. It is similar to the Malvani cuisine/Konkani cuisine." - by Wikipedia.org

Fish cakes are popular in India but mostly in the Goan region - the rest of the nation would make fish kebabs. These are very nice, not too spicy but a little bit different than traditional fish cakes. Light and perfect as a snack on parties.


How to make it...

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Almond and chicken soup...

So sticking with the Indian theme for this month time for a soup! Almond and chicken sounds quite interesting - and it tastes even better! This soup is very easy and quick to make - it's also budget friendly too. In the recipe it says to use chicken breasts but I used the meat from wings (quite few of them) and it worked perfectly. It will be great idea for a starter or as a main if you pair it with naan bread. My 20 months old baby J loved it: 'Mummy mniam, mniam' - were her exact words :) It doesn't have those 'traditional' Indian spices so it might be something good for those who don't like 'curry'.


How to make it...

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Onion Bhajis with cucumber raita...

I love onion bhaji (or vegetable for that matter) but whenever I buy them from an Indian restaurant they're always very greasy and heave. I decided to finally make them at home - which turned out to be very easy and rewarding. I know that traditionally one should use gram flour instead of plain one but I didn't have it available at this time at home so I used self rising flour instead. It gave bhaji lightness and nice, crisp outer. Recently I found out that those should be actually called 'pakoras' and not bhaji, as bhajis are completely different thing all together (it's a type of beaten rice eaten in Nepal). To accompaniment this delicious treat I made cucumber raita.


How to make it...

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Spinach and chickpea rice... a great Indian vegetarian meal...

You can't talk about Indian cuisine without mentioning vegetarian dishes. In fact more Indian people are vegetarians than meat eaters. Chickpea is one of the staples of all vegetarians - not only Indian ones. I choose this recipe because in our home we love spinach! This dish is perfectly balanced in regards to spices and is very filling. Just one tip - prepare all your ingredients first, have them all ready at hand, as once you start cooking everything goes pretty fast ;) After eating this dish my Hubby concluded that after meals like this one he'll be happy to be a vegetarian - especially that the quality of meat sold in shops these days is rapidly getting worse...
This great recipe comes from Good Food Channel website and it's author is no one else but Anjum Anand - my official Indian food guru! :)


How to make it...