Posts Tagged ‘Modest’

Spice up your dates!

Ramadhaan has dawned upon us once again. Dates are out in full force, from fruit shops, to grocery stores and even the local supermarket chain. Dates are very nutritious, full of fibre and great to stave off hunger pangs, no wonder it’s the perfect food to break fast with. The best part is that this wonderful treat is not only good for you, it tastes good and most importantly it’s Sunnah!







We go through a lot of dates during Ramadhaan, so I’ve come up with some date recipes to spice things up a little. There’s no doubt that dates taste great just by themselves, but if you do want to try something a little different, are having guests over or even need a treat outside of Ramadhaan, give these a go.

Pistachio Cashew Dates

Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Crush pistachio and cashews. You’ll need 1 tsp of nuts per date. Fill dates with crushed nuts.

Coconut Almond Dates

This is an old classic. Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Fill 1 almond in each date. Heat butter on stove, throw in coconut, again you’ll need approximately 1 tsp per date. Roll dates in heated butter and coconut mixture.

Cream Cheese Walnut Dates







Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Fill each date with approx. 1/2 tsp cream cheese and 1 walnut which you can crush by hand. This is my personal favourite, it’s a recipe given to me by a friend. Thanks Christina!

Give these a try sometime, great during Ramadhaan or any time really. Ramadhaan Mubarak to everyone out there, hope you all have a blessed month.

Salted Brown Sugar Buttercream Macarons and a Confession

Confession time:
Is there such a thing as a salted brown sugar macaron? Probably not. It was something I had to come up with because I made a big booboo. I was meant to make salted caramel buttercream to sandwich my macarons, but it all went horribly wrong when I decided to go with the flow off the caramel instead of following the recipe. My caramel turned rock hard! What a disaster. Here’s some advice, if you’re making caramel FOLLOW THE RECIPE! Having to think quickly, I decided that since the brown sugar was out (used it in the caramel) I may as well use it in the macarons. Brown sugar is sweet and moist and has a toffee like flavour. Closest substitute I was going to get for caramel at that moment. And to my surprise they turned out quite well.







This was a new macaron recipe that I tried. I must warn you: TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK.  This batch turned out well, but the 3 batches I tried after this flopped miserably. It was really disheartening for me, I haven’t flopped macarons since I started making them and I’ve made so many batches since then. I’ll admit my macarons are never 100% perfect, but I’ve never had them completely fail on me like those 3 batches did. Here you go, hope they work better for you, if you do try them, please let me know how they turn out. (EDIT: It wasn’t the recipe, it was my oven (they can be so temperamental), I’ve now learnt how to best use my oven for macarons, so please give this recipe a go) Or you could try my pistachio macarons.

Ingredients
makes 10-12 sandwiched macarons

35 g egg white (the whites from 1 large egg)

60 g icing sugar

35 almond meal

20 g sugar

Ideally you want to age your egg whites for a few days, but if you don’t have the time, try to use eggs that have been lying around for a while instead of fresh and make sure they are at room temperature. Measure out your almond meal and icing sugar, grind these to a fine powder and sift into a bowl. Measure out your sugar and keep aside. Weigh your egg white and whip with a stand or hand mixer. Once the egg white becomes frothy, begin to add your sugar in a slow stream until the egg whites turn stiff and glossy.

Gently fold 1/3 of your egg whipped egg whites into your almond meal and icing sugar mixture. Fold until nearly combined, fold in the rest of the egg whites until it’s just combined, once combined there’e no need to mix/fold any more, this can cause the batter to be over mixed and this may cause issues for the final product.

Fill mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto baking paper lined baking trays. You want the mixture to be piped into 2/2.5cm diameter rounds. Gently but firmly knock the tray against the table to remove any air bubbles. Leave the macarons for half an hour or more on the counter to form a skin.You know the skin is formed,  when you are able to touch the macaron without it sticking to your finger. Pre heat oven to 150C and bake for 15 mins.

Salted Brown Sugar Buttercream

1/4 cup salted butter

1 cup sifted icing sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/4 tsp fine salt (be careful with the salt, taste as you go, you really don’t want to end up with an over salty macaron filling)

Cream butter, icing sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add salt and brown sugar and beat until combined. I didn’t over beat the mixture at this point as I liked the speckled brown sugar effect. But if you prefer you can continue to beat the mixture which will cause the brown sugar to dissolve into the buttercream.







Enjoy my brown sugar macarons, I guess good things can come out of kitchen disasters after all!

5 Tips for a healthier Ramadhaan

With Ramadhaan right around the corner, I thought I might put together a few tips on making Ramadhaan a little more healthier. I’m not sure what Ramadhaan is like at your place, but at our place, Ifthaar is an array of deep fried goodies. I guess I can blame that on my Indian heritage. We usually try to compensate for the foods we missed during the day which is very unhealthy. This year I’m attempting a healthier Ramadhaan and here are a few tips:





 

1. Incorporate nutritious items onto the menu: including foods that are low GI to for a more sustained energy release, porridges such as oats as well as fruit like bananas are filling and keep you fuller for longer. Add fresh fruit and vegetables into your Ifthaar/Dinner which will leave your tummy feeling lighter and give you the energy for Taraweeh (night prayers). Don’t forget the dates, they’re nutritious and full of fibre, and most importantly breaking your fast with dates is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

2. Prepare your meals in advance: It is more likely that you will be able to keep healthier if you have a clear idea of your meals in advance. Being unprepared is more likely to leave you flustered and running to grab the closest thing that can be quickly prepared in the fryer.

3. Space out your meals: Spreading out your meals will help to get your metabolism going as well as giving your stomache enough time to digest between meals.

4. Bake everything: During Ramadhaan we tend to prepare many ‘fry-ables’ in advance, like samoosas and spring rolls, etc. Try baking these instead, it still has all the flavour and crispiness, but feels so much lighter on the tummy.

5. Fluid Intake: Drink lots of water during Ramadhaan. This is 1 thing we tend to neglect, but it is very important. It seems hard to fit it in, but keep up with the 8 glasses. Remember to sip your water instead of sculling it, drinking in 3 sips is another Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

Hope this helps all of you have a healthier Ramadhaan.

Ramadhaan Mubarak to you all!

Modest Macaron… I think not!

It seems lately that macarons have shot into popularity with them being featured frequently on TV cooking shows like Masterchef & Zumbo. My first taste of a macaron was in Singapore with my husband. I had no idea what to expect, I bought a chocolate macaron. I bit into it’s crisp shell and soft, luscious inside just melted into my mouth with the creamy ganache filling. YUM!







I have been determined ever since to recreate these little treasures. After a lot of research, I realised it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Macarons are notorious for being temperamental and hard to master. That shattered my spirits a little but hey, why not give it a go. Well, I did, my first 3 attempts were complete failures. But I kept going. Plucked up the courage to try once more and finally achieved my first decent macaron. Pistachio!

Here’s my recipe (taken from various sources, cookbooks & websites)

Ingredients (this has to be precise and measured as accurately as possible)

35 g Egg whites (approx 1 egg white)

55g Pure icing sugar (pure icing sugar without any corn flour/starch)

45g Almond meal (blanched-skins removed)

30g castor sugar

This recipe makes about 10 macarons once sandwiched (20 halves)

Method

Combine almond meal and icing sugar, grind until it becomes a fine powder. Sieve the almond meal and sugar mixture and discard any big bits, set aside. In a clean stainless steel or glass bowl, with an electric whisk, whick the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly drop in castor sugar until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. If using food colouring add it into the egg whites now and give it a quick whisk once more (a gel colouring is recommended). I used a little blue and yellow colouring to make a green shell, next time I think I’ll go darker. Sieve the almond and sugar mixture onto the egg whites and fold it in. Keep folding until the mixture is just incorporated into the egg whites. The mixture needs to be firm but loose enough that it settles back into itself if you make a line through the centre.

Line a tray with baking paper, then fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe into 3cm rounds. Leave aside for 30 minutes to form a skin and pre-heat the oven to 150°C. The cooler weather in Australia at the moment is ideal for macarons, the humidity during summer can really affect the formation of a skin (Tip – You know the macaron is ready for the oven when you touch it with your finger and it does not stick)

Put it into the oven for 15 minutes. By definition a macaron must have that cracked, airy crease at the bottom (known as feet), you should see this after 5-10 minutes of baking. Let the macarons cool and remove them from the baking paper. If they’re having trouble lifting off, sprinkle some water under the paper. Set aside to cool, ideally leave the macarons for a day in the fridge in an airtight container. Fill macarons with buttercream or ganache filling. I filled my macarons with buttercream that I had added crushed roasted pistachios to.







…Tandoori Skewers

Tandoori it is… This had to be my first recipe, it’s the easiest, yummiest thing I like to make. Normally I use chicken, but in this case I decided to use chicken and paneer for a vegetarian option. I was surprised, it actually turned out quite well with the paneer. What is paneer? It’s an Indian cheese, that is basically a hardened cottage cheese.







Ingredients

1 kg boneless chicken (I used 750 g chicken and 200 g paneer)

115 ml tomato paste (about 4 tablespoons)

2 tblsp yogurt

1 tblsp lemon juice

2 tblsp oil

1 tsp garlic

1/4 tsp ginger

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground red chillies (chilli flakes are a good alternative)

Method

Mix all the ingredients together and marinate chicken and paneer. You can use it straight away, but if you have the time, leave to marinate for a few hours. You can use this recipe for a roast marinade, you can fry the pieces or with cut up vegetables on skewers. I used red onion, red and green capsicum. A tandoori meal needs a cooling accompaniment such as a raita (cucumber yogurt) but my beetroot version is an absolute hit… It goes well with almost anything, and works wonderfully as a dip with bread and crackers.







Beetroot Yogurt

2 medium beetroot (or half a can of beetroot)

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

If using fresh beetroot, boil them until cooked (about 30-60 minutes). If using whole beetroot, grate them. If using sliced beetroot, chop finely and mix in with yogurt. I know it seems too simple, but trust me, it doesn’t need anything else.

Tandoori skewers and beetroot yogurt… flavoursome, healthy… Yum!