Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Monday, December 24, 2007

Sugar High Friday - Rose Rice Pudding

Yakh-dar-Behesht - Ice in Heaven
Ground rice, ground almonds, a scattering
of bleeding-heart rose petals, a Persian paradise.

Ice in Heaven - Adapted from the Diana Henry recipe on Shaun's excellent recommendation


55g (2oz) ground rice
15g (1/2 oz) ground almonds
80g (3 oz) superfine (not powdered) sugar
375ml (13 fl oz) milk
45ml (3 tbsp) whipping cream
60 ml (4 tbsp) rosewater
juice of half a lime
Fresh or candied rose petals, lime zest, pistachios and/or mixed berries for garnish


In a large saucepan, combine rice flour, ground almonds and sugar, cooking over very low heat until thickened and gently bubbly, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk. If mixture becomes too thick, add incremental amounts of additional milk. Cook for another five minutes. Remove from heat then stir in whipping cream, rosewater and lime juice. Adjust sugar to taste. Pour into individual bowls or glasses. Decorate with optional garnishes. Refrigerate until cool and firm. Serves 2 generously. --

This post is being submitted to Zorra of Kochtopf, hosting December's installment of Sugar High Friday # 38 for Jennifer of Domestic Goddess, creator of this wildly popular monthly blogging event.

Friday, December 21, 2007

No Frills Friday - Mixed Vegetable Ambat

A Konkan curry.

The focus on fungi.

Cauliflower and potatoes, easy add-ins, clutter up a
cup of mellow, deep heat and natural sweet.

Pappadum flashed in a microwave makes
some waves of its own.

Mixed Vegetable Ambat (Curry) - Heavily adapted from the beautiful Almbe Garam Masale Ambat recipe from Aayi's Recipes for entry in the Grindless Gravies event (see details below recipe.)


2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 heaping cup cauliflower florets (1/2 head of cauliflower)
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 cup dessicated, unsweetened coconut
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon tamarind extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
2 heaping tablespoons dried red chili flakes
2 tablespoons oil



In a large pot, combine the vegetables with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a slow boil. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower and potatoes are tender.

In a large skillet, heat the oil then fry up all the ground spices until they darken in color and begin to sizzle. Remove from heat. Add the dessicated coconut, coconut milk and tamarind extract, mixing well. Add the boiled vegetables to the spices, mashing a few of the potato cubes with a fork to help thicken the gravy. Add enough water (from 1-2 cups) to suit your preference for gravy consistency. [I started with 1 cup and wound up adding another as the gravy boiled down and thickened further.] Simmer on very low heat for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Serve with rice, bread or pappadum. Serves 4. --

This post is being submitted to Sra of When My Soup Came Alive, creator of Grindless Gravies, an event featuring recipes of minimal effort and uncompromising maximum flavor. No appliances nor tools outside of a knife and fork were abused when adapting this recipe. All spices were purchased individually ground, approximating the measures vis-à-vis the whole spices. Dessicated coconut was also used to avoid having to grind anything into a paste. Though not as velvety smooth as a traditional sauce, the texture was pleasantly textured and satisfying.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Whip It Up Wednesday - Cappuccino Canapés

Need a lift?

Need a lift home? Be the designated driver.
Tank up on one of these.

Lifting another one, are we?

Cappuccino Canapés - Adapted from the Pepperidge Farm recipe

24 mini puff pastry shells
1/8 cup milk
1/4 cup of granulated white sugar

2 generous teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder or granules
2 tablespoons water
1/4 batch homemade vanilla pudding from this recipe (the PF recipe is faster, using pudding mix)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fine sugar (such as bartender or caster)


Create the sugar-crusted puff pastry shells. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Brush sides of pastry shells with milk, then roll them in the granulated sugar. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in oven approximately 7 minutes or until golden. Allow to thoroughly cool.

Dissolve instant espresso in the water, then mix it into the vanilla pudding. In a separate bowl, beat or whisk heavy cream into soft peaks, add bartender sugar, then beat until stiff. Do not over beat or the cream will break down. Fold in coffee-infused pudding. Return mixture briefly to refrigerator to chill and firm.


Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe cappuccino cream into each pastry shell. Garnish with coffee beans, chocolate shavings or cocoa powder, if desired. Makes 24 canapés.

Pure as the Driven Snow White Russian - My own recipe


2 tablespoons coffee syrup from this recipe
1/2 cup whole milk, half and half, light cream or heavy cream, or any combination of dairy
1 cup ice cubes, whole, miniature or crushed


Well mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, blender container or bowl. Pour into a short glass, straining ice, if desired. You can also whir in the blender to make a slushie. Makes 1 drink. --

This post is being submitted to Stephanie, The Happy Sorceress at Dispensing Happiness, for her Blog Party #29 - Another Bite of Dessert.

Been There, Done That ~

Puff Pastry
Green Goddess Crab Puffs

Bialetti Moka Express

White Chocolate & Orange Water Pots of Creme

[Whip It Up Wednesday is an occasional post featuring recipes that only look like you slaved over them all day.]

Friday, December 14, 2007

No Frills Friday - Lotus Root Curry

A low-fat, low-cal creamy crunch, lotus root
is water chestnut's girlie cousin.

Drenched in coconut curry, the girl turns as
sultry as Sri Lanka.

Wagon wheels, they ain't.

Nelum AlaSri Lankan Curried Lotus Root – Slightly adapted from RecipeLand.com


1 - 14 oz. can lotus root, drained, rinsed and sliced into coins or 2 cups of fresh slices from peeled tubers (small, young roots work best)
3 cups fresh or canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 small hot green chili peppers, chopped
1 large shallot, the size of a small onion, chopped
1 small sprig curry leaves (about 10 leaves)
½ cup coconut milk
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used Sri Lankan Curry Blend from Seasoned Pioneers)
½ - 1 teaspoon salt or to taste


In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the chopped shallot, ghee, curry powder and salt. Gently simmer for 15 minutes over very low heat. In a small skillet, fry the chopped shallot in melted ghee until it is transparent and somewhat frizzled. Add the fried shallot to the lotus root, stirring well. Add the curry powder and salt, again stirring well. Extend gentle simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with hot basmati rice garnished with cumin seeds. Serves 2. –

This post is being submitted to Astrid of Paulchen's Food Blog, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging for Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen, the creator of this popular weekly food event.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Root of All Goodness - Roasted Root Pie

It is a rich, historical tradition, food, files…and convicts. Smuggling implements hidden in the bellies of freshly baked cakes to aid the escape of prisoners from the belly of the beast is a well-worn cliché in many a crime drama. With the sophistication of today’s metal detection systems, it’s difficult to imagine that passing contraband could be as easy as taking candy from a baby. Pip is just such a baby.

Phillip Pirip, known throughout his life as Pip, is among Charles Dickens’ most celebrated protagonists. In a galaxy of supremely complicated and revered novels including Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, Great Expectations is a tale of an orphan’s long and painful coming of age in the age of Victoria, where children are harshly raised “by the hand” and an exacting class system takes its toll on everyone.

It is on Christmas Eve when Pip, visiting his parents’ tombstones on the bleak marsh landscape, encounters Abel Magwitch, an escaped convict, his ankles shackled in irons, his heaving great mass soaked to the bone. It is not difficult for Magwitch to bully the terrorized boy into bringing him some “wittles” and a file. As much an act of Christian charity as to keep the boogie man away, Pip returns to the graveyard with the ragtag spoils of a hasty raid on his shrewish sister’s larder:

“…I stole some bread, some rind of cheese, about half a jar of mincemeat (which I tied up in my pocket-handkerchief with my last night’s slice), some brandy from a stone bottle (which I decanted into a glass bottle I had secretly used for making that intoxicating fluid, Spanish liquorice-water, up in my room, diluting the stone bottle from a jug in the kitchen cupboard), a meat bone with very little on it, and a beautiful round compact pork-pie…”
Magwitch does not forget the kindness when days later, caught by the authorities, he confesses to the thieveries to spare Pip the punishment certain to be inflicted upon him as an accessory. This is but one spectacularly rendered episode of compassion which hurls Pip’s life on a meandering and fantastic trajectory defying what anyone could have predicted for him. Pip’s course ultimately falls far short of its potential, but for the reader who endeavors to follow him along his path of fortunes and failures, Great Expectations is a story you will never want to escape from.

Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pies – My own recipe


1 two-crust pastry recipe or store-bought pie crusts of your choice (I used this classic short crust recipe.)

Chanterelle Mushroom Béchamel Sauce (recipe follows)

1 cup rutabaga (a.k.a yellow turnip or swede), peeled and diced (about 1/3 of a large root)
1 cup white turnips, peeled and diced
1 large baking potato, peeled or well-scrubbed and diced
1 cup parsnips, peeled and cut into coarse matchsticks
2 carrots, peeled or well-scrubbed, cut into coins
1 cup pearl onions, peeled with ends trimmed (I used red pearl onions.)
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or mild-flavored oil (I used ghee.)

[Tip: Vary size of dice for each vegetable for additional texture.]


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the ghee or oil in a large cast iron skillet or roasting pan just until it thins out. Remove from heat and add all of the vegetables, tossing gently to coat in the fat. Position skillet/pan on center rack of oven and roast for 40 minutes or until vegetables are browned and crusty. Turn vegetables several times during roasting to ensure even browning.

Meantime, prepare the Chanterelle Mushroom Béchamel Sauce:


1/3 cup fresh or dried chanterelle or other robust mushrooms, coarsely chopped (I used dried which have to be chopped after reconstitution.)
¾ cup water

2 tablespoons butter or oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups milk or cream, any fat content
1/2 cup mushroom stock
1 teaspoon salt (or adjust to taste)
½ teaspoon black pepper


In a small saucepan, simmer mushrooms in water over very low heat until water reduces to about 1/2 cup and browns into a stock. Remove from heat and set aside. Chop reconstituted dried mushrooms now if you have used them.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, prepare a roux by mixing the flour with sizzling butter or oil until all the flour is absorbed and smooth. Allow to cook a few minutes until thick. Using a wire whisk, beat in a thin, steady stream of the milk and mushroom stock until fully combined. Add salt and pepper. Beating constantly to prevent lumps, cook the sauce until it thickens again, allowing it to bubble without scorching. Remove from heat and set aside.


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill four 4-5 inch diameter ramekins to the rim. Roll out pastry to a thickness of ½ inch. Cut 4 squares of pastry about 1 inch longer than the edges of the ramekins, reserving any leftover dough for another use.* Position a pastry square evenly over top of each ramekin, allowing the corners to drape over the sides. [Optional: Brush a bit of beaten egg mixed with chopped parsley over the tops of the pastry squares.] Carefully cut small vents into the pastry squares to allow steam to escape. Bake on a cookie sheet for approximately 35 minutes or until pastry is fully browned. Ramekins will be very hot; please use caution. Serves 4. --

* For simple jam-faced pastries, roll out leftover dough then cut into shapes. Place pieces on ungreased cookie sheet and spread with preserves or sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in 400 degree F oven for approximately 20 minutes or until pastries are brown and topping is bubbly.

This post is being submitted to Simona of Briciole and Lisa of Champaign Taste, hosts of Novel Food, a four-seasons blogging event featuring all meals great and small, and the pages they spring from.


Been There, Done That ~


Crumb-Topped White Peach Pie
Rosina (Funeral)Pie

Other People's Eats ~

Mini Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pies
Chicken Pot Pie

Friday, December 7, 2007

No Frills Friday - Olive Pomegranate Relish

Handfuls of mean green olives, a shower of sugar,
a deep pool of rusty pomegranate molasses.
Crush, cook and consume.

Little froggies drunk on Persian elixir.

Brine, cloy and twang. Good with goat.

Olive Pomegranate Relish - My own recipe, provoked by $1 per ounce sticker shock at the gourmet grocer

1 generous cup large pitted green olives (any variety) bathed in oil and flecked with dried red pepper (the loose kind from the deli counter)
3/4 cup jarred, pitted and drained small Spanish green olives packed in water
1/2 - 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses


Rinse the large green olives in several changes of water to remove most of the oil and dried red pepper flakes. Finely chop these olives in a food processor or mince with a sharp knife on a cutting board. Heat 1/2 cup sugar with the pomegranate molasses in a medium saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Transfer chopped olives to the syrup and simmer over very low heat for a few minutes. Chop Spanish olives into almost a paste in the food processor. Stir this mixture into the saucepan. Makes 1 generous cup. Consume within a few days. Keep refrigerated.

This recipe is extremely flexible. If you want it sweeter, dissolve the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a little boiling water before adding to the final relish. Adjustments can also be made to the olive and molasses quantities to suit your particular salt/sour preferences. If you don't like the relatively mild heat of red pepper flakes, buy plain deli olives or the ones with garlic and/or herbs.

This post is being submitted to Simona of Briciole, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging for Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen, creator of this popular weekly food blogging event.


Been There, Done That ~


Salsa Verde
Raspberry Marmalade Vinaigrette


Other People's Eats ~

Sambal Lado Mudo
Green Tomato Jam with Ginger and Vanilla
Brussels Sprouts with Maple & Walnut Vinaigrette