Tag Archives: Christmas 2014

Home-made Lychee and cinnamon ice-cream

8 Dec

Home-made Lychee and cinnamon ice-cream

You know that feeling when your head swells a little and eyes lose focus…for an instant when you are neither here or there. I am feeling awkwardly poetic as I write this, but you know how there is just a moment, when a surge overcomes you and a sensation that feels so rousing that it sinks and then very quickly elevates your heart.  That is what happened to me today, when I tasted this ice-cream and I have so say, I am pretty proud.

lychee cinnamon ice cream by Deena Kakaya

Imagine. I knew that it would taste good when I was warming the custard base with the cinnamon going through it; it filled the house with festive Christmas essences but really, I didn’t know it would be quite this good. It was almost midnight when I stood at the ice cream maker with a dessert spoon, turned it off and planned to scoop it into a clean tub. But what happened? I had a little taste and then another, then another and now I can feel the cool lychee in my throat and the cinnamon on my skin and let me tell you…mmmm….

I am quite an ice-cream person so the cold weather out there doesn’t put me off. It did my friends who visited last week but when they tasted the star anise and amoretti number, they polished it off saying it was the best ice-cream they had tasted. I blushed, but you know that I love it. Anyway, it’s Christmas and if you are serving ice-cream on the side of a warm pudding or dessert, maybe a chocolate fondant or brownie, then make it this one.


lychee cinnamon 1

I used my froothie, the optimum 400 to blitz together the lychees and grind the cinnamon (not together) and found that there were no clumps of cinnamon or lychee in my ice cream and this is important because clumps of frozen lychee just don’t work because it is such a wet fruit. It is important to achieve a really smooth lychee pulp and this machine does a mighty fine job. I have also used Tesco’s extra thick double cream because the lychees are pretty wet.

Ingredients to serve 4

300ml double cream (I used extra thick double cream)

300ml whole milk

4 egg yolks

1 ½ tsp. of corn flour

200g sugar

1 ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

250g lychees

Method

  1. Beat the egg yolks, corn flour and sugar until they are smooth and have achieved a pale yellow colour from a deeper, egg-yolk colour.
  2. Warm the milk, cinnamon and cream together until they are just under boiling point, but do not allow them to boil.
  3. Add the milk and cream to the eggs and sugar little by little. Start with a very small amount and gradually build it up, whisking as you go. If you pour too much of the milk and cream in, you could curdle the eggs if they get too hot.
  4. Return the pan to the heat and stir on a gentle flame until the custard has thickened. Check that it is ready by drawing a line on the back of the spatula. If it doesn’t fade out, the custard is ready.
  5. Leave the custard to cool to room temperature and in the meantime, blitz the lychees smooth to a thick juice. There should be no chunks.
  6. Once the custard is at room temperature, mix in the lychees and then refrigerate for about four hours.
  7. Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker or freeze it overnight. If you are not using an ice cream maker, break up any ice particles with a fork and then refreeze it.

 

Shrikhand, cherry and amoretti fool

25 Nov

Shrikhand, cherry and amoretti fool

I am writing this recipe on the request of the lovely people who came along to my last cookery class in London and we didn’t even cover this recipe at the class!  I just assembled 17 (one for each attendee, none for me) glasses of this pretty and easy to make sweet dish before they arrived and as soon as they came out, even whilst I was explaining what the fool comprises, they were swiftly lifted off my tray. Each of the glasses came back empty and many requests and follow-up requests ensued. So, I take this one is popular.

Shrikhand, cherry and amoretti fool by Deena Kakaya

Shrikhand is a sweetened, thickened curd. Traditionally, yoghurt would be strained through tightly woven cotton or cheesecloth to remove excess moisture and leaving creamy, pillows behind. This curd is then infused with saffron, cardamom and sugar as well as rose water. I remember my mother going through the onerous and utterly rewarding process from my childhood and oh, the joy of scooping Shrikhand up with some puri (fried and fluffy bread).

The funny thing is, a wonderful and sweet lady who attended the class said me ‘Deena I HATE Shrikhand, but I absolutely loved your fool’. Many jokes are popping into my head about who, ‘my fool’ may be, but let’s not.

The fool is layered with sticky sweet cherries; compote really, then there is a bite of amoretti and sprinkle of pistachio. I am being utterly serious when I say there was really not a lick of the spoon left in the kitchen. Wiped clean. Totally.

A few of my class said they would make this for Christmas and I think I may too. Every family has guests that have dietary needs and in my family there is the exclusion of sugar as I come from a family of diabetics and you can make Shrikhand without using generic sugar. The other restriction is eggs; we generally need one eggless dessert.  So, this is an easy peasy one that you can make using quark and make each of the components ahead of time and then assemble them when you are ready to serve the dish; no fear of flattening bakes or ice creams that don’t set. Relax.

Ingredients to serve 4-6

500g Quark

100g caster sugar for the Shrikhand

Two pinches of ground cardamom

One pinch of saffron

1 tbsp. rose water

200g frozen cherries

70g sugar for the cherries

25g unshelled pistachio, finely chopped

4-6 amoretti biscuits

Method

  1. Combine the quark, sugar, rose water saffron and cardamom. If your saffron is in strands rather than the powdered version I have used, heat 1 tsp. of milk and infuse the strands of saffron into the milk before adding them (when cooled) to the Shrikhand.
  2. To make the berry compote, combine the sugar and cherries and heat them on a low-medium flame until they have thickened. This should take 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and then allow the compote to cool to room temperature. Then, pop them in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  3. To serve, place two heaped dessert spoonful’s of the Shrikhand in the bottom of the glass, then top with the two dessert spoons of the cherries. Then place an amoretti biscuit on the top and a sprinkle of pistachio.

 

Sweet corn, Feta and Mango pakora

19 Nov

Sweet corn, Feta and Mango pakora

Is there ever a time which is not emotional or filled with guilt of some sort when you are a parent?

Sweet corn, Feta and Mango pakora by Deena Kakaya

Well, I am embracing (perhaps reluctantly) another emotional time in the life with my two year old sweetheart because we have been viewing nurseries for next year, when he will be old enough to join a proper, actual nursery. Really.

There will be someone else there, to tell him to take his shoes off and listen to his fabulously demonstrative story-telling about planets, squirrels and cars and someone else will be listening to why Neptune is blue and why we can’t go on Mars. There will be animated enacting, I am sure, for all the other children on the bubbling volcanic scenes that make Mars red but my boy’s imaginary friend will be there I hear, but of course. He will play and interact with other little people and I won’t really know them, or be there for any awkward or charming moments. I won’t see his face broaden with that adorable glee upon discovering something new, though he may turn around and say, ‘look mumma’. I will miss the cheeky charm of those moments where he will just grab my head and exclaim, ‘I love you so much mumma; you are a genius’. But this is growth.

Sweet corn, Feta and Mango pakora by Deena Kakaya

So today, I treated my tiny boy with some much requested crunchy, crispy pakora of Indian food influence (vegetarian fritters) with sweet bite of sweet corn, small nuggets of salty feta that oozes when hot and some chewy baked pieces of sunny and happy mango that the folk from Urban fruit sent me. All in all, the sensations left me feeling like another holiday. Alas, sunny treats like these golden and sumptuous pakora must keep me going.

If you are cooking a vegetarian Christmas meal, this is always a crowd-pleaser. If you are not cooking a vegetarian Christmas meal this recipe pleases nonetheless for a tempting and fun starter, canape or side dish.

Ingredients to serve 4-6

175g sweet corn

One large red onion, finely diced

100g feta cheese cut into small cubes

100g baked mango chunks from Urban fruits

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. minced ginger

Salt to taste (remember that the feta is salty)

½ tsp. turmeric powder

½ tsp. garam masala

2 green chillies, choppped

100g gram flour

125ml water

Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. Heat the oil on a medium flame.
  2. Combine the sweet corn, red onion, feta with all the spices, salt, chillies and mango chunks and combine well.
  3. Mix in the gram flour and coat all the vegetables, combining well.
  4. Add the water to make a thick batter and then drop a small amount into the oil to check that the oil is hot enough to fry; if the batter sizzles and rises to the surface then add the pakora in small mounds with your fingers, equivalent to the size of a couple of tablespoons of batter.
  5. Fry the pakora until they are golden brown and crisp before removing them onto kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  6. Serve with chutney such as tomato, tamarind or chilli and coriander chutney.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: