Curry Cuisine

1.Laal Maas
Substitute paneer for the meat to make it vegetarian

25-35 dried red chillies
11/2 tsp cloves
51/2 oz ghee or vegetable oil
9 oz plain yoghurt, whisked
2 tsp cumin seeds, roasted
11/2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp salt
2 cinnamon leaves or bay leaves
6 green cardamom pods
5 black cardamom pods
21/2 oz garlic cloves, finely chopped
9 oz onions finely chopped
21/4 pound leg of lamb or goat with bones, cubed
3 cups lamb stock
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Set aside three or four of the dried chilles to use later, put the remainder to soak in half cup waer. Put aside 4-6 of the cloves and 1 tbsp of the ghee.

Mix the yoghurt with the cumin seeds, ground coriander, chilli powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat the rest of the ghee in a heavy based pan. Add the remainng cloves, the cinnamon leaves, and the green and black cardamoms. When they begin to crackle and change color, add the garlic. Saute for two minutes or until the garlic begins to turn golden. Add the onions and cook for 10 min or until golden brown, stirring constantly.

Stir in the meat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain the soaked red chillies and add to the pan. Continue cooking for 10-12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the meat starts to brown slightly. Now add the spiced yoghurt and cook for another 10-12 minutes or until the liquid from the yoghurt has evaporated.

Add the stock or water and bring to a boil, Then cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is tender. Adjust the seasoning. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Do tadka with ghee, reserved cloves and dried red chillies.
Sprinkle with coriander leaves.

2. Plantain curry

South african style Plantain dish.

4 plantains
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
11/4 piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 green chillies
2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
lemon juice

Steam the plantains for ten minutes. Reserve.Pop mustard,add onions, ginger, curry leaves. Peel the plantains just before grating it into the onion masala. Add salt, turmeric, green chillies. Saute. Top with lemon juice and cilantro leaves. Serve.

Cooks notes: Best served fresh, dries out when referigerated. Tastes sort of like potato poha.


First Birthday Menu

1. Assorted Vegetable Chips - Lotus, Banana, Sweet Potato, Apple
2. Corn Cups with Nacho Dip
3. Scotch Eggs
4. Fruit Bouquet


Main Course:
1. Thai rice with Pineapple and Cashew
2. Stuffed mini Peppers with paneer sabji
3. Aloo Paratha
4. Vegetable Lasagna

Rasagulla in Mango Ras in a carved watermelon swan


Colettes Birthday Cakes

Reference recipes from Colette Peters
1. Rolled Fondant:
2 pounds confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup white corn syrup
11/2 tbsp glycerine
1tsp flavoring
liquid coloring if desired

Soak the gelatin in the water for five minutes. Melt gelatin over low flame until liquid is clear, add glycerin, corn syrup and flavorings. Add to sugar. Mix with fork until all liquid is incorporated. Knead gently with hands until all sugar is incorporated. Cover well with plastic wrap and keep overnight.

Mix with dye as required. Go slowly, lighter shades can be made darker but not viceversa. Ive used Candy dyes so far, because they are oil based and work very well with fondant. To be specific, Chefmaster and wilton candy dyes. Iam not sure how well water based dyes will work with fondant.

Cooks notes: Could try flavored gelatin next time. For flavor , oils seem to work best, tangerine, orange, lemon. Gives off a nice strong enticing aroma. Although the recipe calls for resting the dough overnight, I have mixed and used fondant immediately - worked just fine. Would love to know the advantages of letting the fondant rest overnight.

To cover a cake with fondant:
Required: A crumb coated cake, fresh buttercream or royal icing, dyed fondant. For a square cake, cover opposite vertical sides first . Then cover the other two sides. It is relatively easy to get straight edges if your cake is straight. However, the overlap is still seen. Usually other people seem to get around this by using decorations to hide the seam.

For any cracks, use white crisco or vegetable oil to smooth over.

2. Royal Icing
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp water
1 pound confectioners sugar ( 3 3/4 cups)

Combine all ingredients until well mixed slowly. Beat until stiff peaks form. For Stiffer icing add more sugar, for looser icing add more water.

3. Modelling Chocolate
10 ounces Confectionary coating
3 ounces light corn syrup

Melt the coating in a bowl over simmering water. Add the corn syrup, combine and wrap in plastic wrap until cool. It will seem stiff, but will become smoother with the warmth of your hands.

See sample using chocolate chips here http://foodtravails.blogspot.com/2007/09/birthday-cake.html

4. Chocolate Ganache

12 ounces semi sweet choc chips ( 2 cups)
8 ounces hvy cream
2 tsp flavoring

Heat cream until just below boiling point. Add choc and cover five minutes. Stir. Cover Again. After five minutes, whisk until shiny

Cake Book Shelf


Scotch Eggs

1 Pound yukon gold potatoes
red chilli powder
As many boiled eggs as you want
1 beaten egg
Parmesan cheese

Donot use boiling potatoes for this recipe as the outer shell gets very soft when fried and does not hold its shape.

Tips for boiling and peeling eggs:
If you want a perfect ovoid shape for your egg, pierce either the top or bottom of the shell with a sharp thin pin, like an office document pin or safety pin. Doing so will push the air bubble inside the egg out as the egg cooks. Donot worry about egg leaking through that hole, the hole is miniscule. This ensures a perfect ovoid shape.

To boil the egg perfectly without a green ring, keep the eggs in normal room temperature water and boil for ten minutes. After exactly ten minutes, turn off the heat, cover with a plate and let cool for ten minutes.

To peel the egg easily , fill a bowl with icecubes. Drain water from the pan in which the eggs were boiled, give the pan a couple of shakes with your hand to crack the eggs slightly.

Tip the eggs into the ice bath. Give it five minutes. You should be able to peel the eggs with a smooth and nice finish and not have pitted craters like the surface of the moon.

Back to Scotch Eggs:

Mash up the potatoes nicely, add salt, black pepper and red chilli pwd to taste. Make a ball of the potato mixture in your hand, flatten it, place a boiled egg in it, and wrap the potato mixture around it. Does not have to be very neat. Roll this ball in first the egg wash, which is a raw egg whisked with a little water to form a homogenous mixture. Then roll in the parmesan and bread crumb mixture. Deep fry.

Not the healthiest snack i know, but pretty darn tasty!

These cannot be frozen before hand.


Fruit Bouquet

Things you will need:
Cookie cutters in various flower shapes
Styrofoam core
Bamboo skewers
Fruits or Candy

Couple of Basics:
The total flower bouquet should be atleast around 1.5 times taller than the base.

First Birthday cake

I made this cake for my daughters first birthday. My main inspiration has been Charm City cakes who have a charming (:)) show on Foodnetwork. I was nervous on a number of levels, this is the first time I was going something this big with cakes. This Cake was also a departure from my earlier Buttercream heavy style.

I narrowed down the process to the following steps:

1. Look at a lot of cake pictures and decide what kind of look and end product i wanted.(Princess cake, frilly cream detailed look, cool modern finish etc etc)
2. Decide on the number of people I wanted to serve
3. Then decide the shape of the cake, Do i want a single layer flat sheet cake or a tiered sculpted look etc
4. Model the cake in a 3d drawing software - Sketchup in this case to see if the proportions look good.
5. Decide on the non edible decorations: The balloons, Flying butterflies etc.
6. Make the gosh darn thing!

The final cake was a 6x6 square on top of a 10x10 square and served 40 people. The layers were Chocolate Chiffon cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache fillings that alternated. Boy was it delicious, even if i say so myself.