Strawberry Mousse

This time of the year we get lovely juicy strawberries and they make the most wonderfully light and fluffy mousse. Try this simple and quick recipe and I am sure you will love it too.

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Ingredients

20 strawberries

1 sheet gelatin

2 egg whites

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 teaspoons water

1 and 1/2 cups whipping cream

10 drops lemon juice

1 sprig mint to decorate

Method 

Take 15 strawberries hull them and mash or puree them in a food blender. Warm the water and the gelatin to it making sure it dissolves. Whip the egg white to form peaks. Then slowly add sugar, making sure it is well amalgamated.

Whip the cream till soft peaks form. Fold the egg white mixture. Next add strawberry puree, lemon juice and gelatin  Mix well. Pour into a wet mould and refrigerate till it has set. Just before serving decorate with the remaining strawberries hulled and slice and a sprig of mint.

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Cocktail Quiche

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When you have guests over for drinks and a small bite, nothing can be more stressing than the thought of what nibbles to make. This recipe for mini mushroom and spinach Quiche is ideal for a party or even dinner at home with family. The portabella mushrooms add a lovely meaty flavor to these Quiche.

Ingredients

Portabella mushrooms 8-10 large nos finely chopped

Button  mushrooms 15-20 small nos finely chopped

Green garlic finely chopped (fresh garlic with the leaves included), 1/3rd of a teacup

Green Onion finely chopped (spring onion, bulb and leaves), 3/4th of a teacup

1 bunch fresh spinach 2 teacups chopped roughly

1 medium spice green chili finely chopped

Pepper powder 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Cornstarch or some thickening agent like wondra flour 1 & 1/2 tablespoons

20 tartlets cases or ready quiche pastry cases pre-baked

2 large eggs beaten well

125 gms grated Parmesan cheese

Olive oil 2 tablespoons

1 knob of butter

Method

Add oil to a skillet. Let it heat but not burn. Add a knob of butter to it. Now add the garlic and let it saute till golden. Add the green onions and chilli. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Now add your mushrooms and saute for another minute or so. Add the spinach and pepper. Saute well. The mixture will now leave water.

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Let most of the liquid dry. When only 1/4 of the liquid is left take some of the liquid aside and mix wondra or cornstarch well with it, making sure there are no lumps. Add this to the mixture and stir till it all comes together and thickens. Turn off the gas and let the mixture cool. Season with salt to taste.

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Pre-heat the oven to 140 degrees. Take a baking tray and line it with tin foil. Now place the empty tart shells on the tray and spoon in some mushroom and spinach mixture till the tartlet is 2/3rds full.

In a bowl add the parmesan cheese to the beaten egg. Mix well. Fill the top of the tarlets to the top with this mixture. Now bake in the oven till the egg and cheese mix cooks and forms a crust. This should take 10-15 minutes. The tarlets will brown too a little.

Remove from oven and serve hot.

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You may add 2 tablespoons of chopped smoked bacon to the mushroom mix, but be sure to add less salt , as bacon tends to be a little salty.

Cheers!

 

 

Holiday Special Fruit & Nut Cake

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Christmas and The New Year are the most delightful holidays. It is the only time when I don’t mind spending all afternoon over the stove cooking and stirring away. In fact the mere thought of it warms the cockles of my heart.  Like every year, this year too I made my special holiday cake, which is apt not just for Christmas day but for every day leading up to and post festivity. I prefer to use orange juice to soak my fruit in as I have a little child but there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy this with alcohol in it. I’m going to tell you how you can do that after you have baked the cake following the original recipe. Happy New Year everyone. I hope that you make and enjoy this cake as much as my family did.

Ingredients

Mixed dry fruit 350 gm ( I use a mix of sultanas, mixed fruit peel, figs, cranberries and apricots)

350 gm mixed nuts chopped (use pecans, walnuts, almonds)

200 ml of natural unsweetened orange juice

120 gm Butter plus extra for greasing the cake tin

120 gm soft brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

Orange zest 1/3 teaspoon

Lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon

3 Eggs medium-large sized

1 tablespoon of marmalade or any tart jam such as plum or apricot.

80 gm almond powder (Just powder whole almond in a blender till coarse)

170 gm plain flour

1 teaspoon of mixed spice (cloves 8-10, cinnamon 1 inch stick, 1/4 ginger powder, half a nutmeg nut)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond essence

Pinch of salt if you are using unsalted butter

30 ml warm water

60 ml of your choice of alcohol (Brandy, Rum etc)

A square or round tin 8 inches (for the regular cake) and one loaf tin (for the alcohol version)

Method

Place all the mixed dry fruit (sultanas, mixed fruit peel, figs, cranberries and apricots) in a glass bowl and add the orange juice. Refrigerate for at least a day so that the fruit swells up soaking all the orange juice.

Pre-heat your oven to 140-150 degrees centigrade/ gas mark 2. Line your cake tins with butter and double thickness baking parchment and then some more butter on the inside. The parchment should be 2 inches above the cake tin.

Next in a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar. Then add the lemon and orange zest. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each egg is added. Then add the marmalade or jam.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spice mix together. Add the almond powder, sifted flour, fruit and nuts alternately and using a big wooden spoon, fold all the ingredients together.  Slowly add a little warm water if the mixture feels dry. Last of all add the almond essence and mix thoroughly.

Put the cake mix half in the round tin and half in the loaf tin. Bake for one hour. Since ovens vary in temperature keep a look out to see that the cake isn’t browning to fast. If you feel its cooking too fast on the top cover the cake top with some tin foil. Check the cake in the center with a skewer or spaghetti stick to see if it’s cooked closer to time.

Let the cake cool in the tin before you cut it to prevent it from going dry. Refrigerate and store for up to a week.

The cake in the loaf tin when cool is ready to soak up the alcohol. Make small holes on the top with a spaghetti stick and slowly pour the alcohol into the holes. Let it rest. If you like it more intense you could keep the cake in the refrigerator for a day and again soak it the next day in some more alcohol.