Tag Archives: sweet

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, sour, spicy, nutty, smoky, crunchy roasted aubergine salad

25 Jun

Sweet, sour, spicy, nutty, smoky, crunchy roasted aubergine salad

Sweet, sour, spicy, nutty, smoky, crunchy roasted aubergine salad

Throughout my 20’s I had infrequent contact with a self-indulgent and woeful lady who recurrently stressed to me that having children is the hardest thing in the world.  She meant raising them. She would stand over me as I slumped into the sofa, and she wafted an overstating finger above me whilst popping eyes glared at me, ‘it’s so hard’. I focused my eyes on the coarse hairs that grew under her chin and listened. I nodded as she told me how there is immense and overflowing love but there is no time even for a facemask or money left to buy clothes. I looked over at my husband and my expression clearly whispered, ‘I will still buy clothes’.

But look, I thought, people all over the world are popping them out. People in towns, cities and remote villages manage it and educated or uneducated, rich or poor, young or old…people all over the world and for as long as time has existed have been having children. So really, come on…

As my little one played with his friends in our garden and I looked at his sweaty little face reddening underneath layers of gritty sun cream. Underneath the wide forehead he gets from his daddy is a face that is so much like mine but that’s not the thing that sinks my heart and ties it in a knot.

Sweet, sour, spicy, nutty, smoky, crunchy roasted aubergine salad

Tiny friends rushed around busily and purposefully with his toys as he watched. One snatched his ball as he watched, as kids often do at this age. My little one let her and decided to go and water some plants instead until another friend announced that he would do it instead. But that was OK and my two year old headed for the trampoline but alas his was bounced off. He quietly returned to me and tucked himself under my arm, ‘mumma I want my ball, it’s mine’. The bitter-sweet irony, as I could almost feel the sand under my feet on a school trip. I felt the pressure inside, even as a toddler as I was worried that my parents would be disappointed that I wasn’t as lively or vivacious as the other children or lacked the confidence to climb through the tunnels or jump off the bars as they were doing. I remember sitting near the teachers and watching the sand tumble through my feet and clearly feeling that somehow there was a waste here but I was too young to really understand the concept of money. I know I should talk to guests when they arrived at our home, when my parents told me to even more so, but I was too shy to make conversation and just willed them to turn their loud and animated interrogation off.

And here we are again. A nice boy that I made nice, to some degree, as his primary carer…but now, how to instil some personal robustness or survival instinct in him? At what point do my own experiences of the world become his perceptions? I don’t want my experiences to dirty his mind…and for someone who wouldn’t talk look at me now…I talk a lot, in front of crowds.

Here is to the bitter-sweet, hot and cool of life. A salad that tingles and zings with each mouthful of crunch from the beansprouts and alfalfa, heat from the chillies, silky smoky aubergine, nutty almond bites and sweet kecap manis. It’s loaded. I like loaded. Juicy orange and green tomatoes burst in the mouth…it’s all going on in this healthy plate. Life eh?

Ingredients to serve two as a main dish or four as a side dish

3 medium-large aubergines

4 good pinches of alfalfa sprouts

A couple of handfuls of almonds

100g beansprouts

An onion, thinly sliced

100g orange tomatoes, sliced

100g green tomatoes, sliced

2 tbsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. sesame seeds

The dressing

10 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

6 tbsp. kecap Manis

3 tbsp. sriracha sauce

Method

  1. You will need to coat the aubergines in oil and roast in the oven at 180 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until they are shrivelling and soft enough to pierce. Allow them to cool before removing the skin and scooping out the pulp and mash it lightly on a large plate.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a non-stick pan and add the onions, beansprouts and almonds and stir fry 3-4 minutes and then turn off the heat.
  3. Make the dressing by mixing the ingredients and smoothing any lumps with a fork
  4. Layer the aubergine pulp, then on top add the tomatoes, beansprouts mixture, alfalfa and the drizzle over as much dressing as you like.
  5. Serve with flatbread and share (try).

 

Quick and Easy Blueberry Shrikhand Fool

18 Jan

ImageQuick and Easy Blueberry Shrikhand Fool

So, it’s a Friday night and you invited some friends round for dinner.  You are running late home from work, stupid transport and why are so many people in your way! Goodness, you really wanted to make it special…well, nothing gourmet necessarily, but still, somewhat impressive!! You didn’t want to get ready-made cake from the supermarket…but should you…is that just rude? Do you have time to go and grab a cake? Oh no…Friday, it’ll be busy. Darn it.

I have an answer for you…yes, it is cheating…but you still do some work! It’s not like you are plonking a shop-bought cake on a plate!

Shrikhand is a popular Gujarati sweet dish.  The traditional recipe is made with hung curd and is infused with saffron and cardamom and often garnished with pomegranate seeds and toasted pistachios. I could lick countless spoonful’s of sweet and creamy shrikhand.  I’ve added a twist with a deep purple infusion of blueberries which I think gives an alluring effect. I have also added a few chunks of meringue nests which add wonderful texture.

We all know about meringue don’t we…for those of us who watch ‘come dine with me’ we have seen the meringue disasters and triumphs and I am sure we have all picked up tips.  This is, however a cheats recipe…don’t sweat, just sling it together.

This is my cheat’s recipe…let’s admit it, we all do it…

I like to think of it; a bit like cheesecake…you don’t make the cheese do you? Nah…

Ingredients (serves 4)

150g of blueberries and a few for decoration (about 10-12)

6 tbsp. of icing sugar, or more if you prefer a sweeter taste

500g of Quark cheese

1 tsp of cardamom

A pinch of saffron

A couple of meringue nests broken into chunks (don’t crumble)

50g toasted pistachios. Half for decorating and half for the shrikhand

Method

  1. Blend the blueberries and icing sugar together until smooth.
  2. Transfer the blueberry and sugar puree to a non-stick pan and set it on a low-medium flame before bringing it to a gentle simmer. Continue to stir it gently and allow it to thicken; it should take 3-4 minutes until its ready.  Remove from the flame and then let it cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl whip through the quark cheese and saffron. Don’t worry about beating too heavily if the saffron doesn’t release its orange glow, this will happen as the shrikhand settles.  Add half the pistachio’s.
  4. Once the blueberry sauce has cooled, add it to the quark cheese and mix through thoroughly.
  5. All you need to do now, is layer through the chunks of meringue and shrikhand in individual serving dishes/cups and decorate with a couple of blueberries and pistachio’s and then share, if you can bring yourself to…

 

 

 

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