Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Break from cooking but not from food...

Its 2:30 AM in my part of the world and Im sitting in the sofa like a big sad panda, thinking why the hell am I still awake.

Hubby has flown off to Islamabad yesterday to be with my father-in-law who still is in a very crictical condition, so this is officially my first attempt at managing everything on my own with Nael. And guess what? Its not even been two days and Im already missing him like crazy. Funny, no? I am neither a teenie (not even a twenty, anymore..oooppss!!) nor that I have never experienced an independent living situation in my life before but this "he is away, I have to be strong and take care of everything" feeling is soooooo weird. Ive never felt this responsible and mature in my life before and its just freaking me out a little.

But, at the same time, I am also happy that he has made it to see his father in time. I could feel how much my husband wanted to be there for the man who by all accounts is the main reason behind who he is today. I so pray that a miracle happens for my father in law and that he finds back his health and walks out of the hospital like the strong man he once used to be.

Anyways, back to food...

We were having house guests last week, so there are actually enough leftovers in the freezer for me to take a short break from cooking. But dont worry, Ive got enough delicious stuff in my laptop to feed your hungry souls.

Marinated Salmon with Butter Sauce and BBQ Flavoured Potatoes


For the butter sauce:

1 chopped onion
250 ml pure apple juice
salt, pepper
100 g cold butter, in cubes
1 tsp white vinegar
3 tbs heavy cream

Take onion, apple juice and vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let the juice cook until the onions become soft and the liquid reduces to nearly half. Remove the onions and save aside for the fish marinade. Turn off the heat at this stage and proceed to the next step shortly before serving.

For the Fish:

500 g salmon filet
½ cup frozen/fresh parsley
½ cup frozen/fresh dill
salt, pepper
red chilli powder, optional
juice of one big lemon
2 tbs mustard paste
5 cloves garlic
olive oil

In a large dish combine the herbs, spices, lemon juice, mustard and crushed garlic. Liberally coat the cleaned, deboned salmon filet with the marinade. Also, spread a layer of  softened onions on top. Let the salmon sit in the marinade for atleast half an hour. Tip: or better put in the refrigerator for an hour!!

Heat olive oil in a pan and cook the filet, skin side down, for about 7-8 minutes until it is golden on top and opaque in the middle. Note: Do not turn over the fish before that. Check in the middle for doneness and turn the side. Cook on high for a minute or so. I also sprinkled some red paprika powder on one side to give a spicy kick. Keep warm!

Bring the sauce to a boil. Start adding butter, 10 g at a time and stir gently. Season with salt and pepper, add in the heavy cream.

BBQ potatoes

6-7 small potatoes, boiled and peeled
1 tbs olive oil
salt, pepper
1 tsp any mild flavoured BBQ seasoning

Heat oil in a frying pan and toss potatoes in it until golden brown on both side. Just before serving, season with spices and cook on high for a minute or so. Done!

Now enjoy serving it to your family and dont forget to say a little prayer for mine as well.

Friday, 11 May 2012

A patisserie of my own....

The baker in me is on a high these days. Have tried my hand at various new cakes, mainly tortes, during the last two weeks and guess what???

No disappointments!! Nearly all of them turned out great....or atleast far better than I had anticipated.


Im totally in love with these
elegant, light and delicate multi-layered goodnesses these days. Not only do they look great but filled with various different flavours and textures, they also taste incredibly delicious.

Im sharing the recipe for the one I made to take to a friends last week. A multi-layered almond sponge cake with shortcrust pastry base, a peach mousse filling, whipped cream cheese orange frosting and lemon curd drizzle on top. phewwww!!!Yes, its indeed a very detailed cake and on top of it, I completely forgot to recharge the batteries, so there wont be many images today.

Now stop wrinkling your nose,
I always describe each step very thoroughly, so youll be fine even without the pictures :p

Multi layered Peach and Almond Torte


For the shortcrust base

115 g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50 g sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
half beaten egg
1 tsp water

50 g soft butter

Beat butter and sugars together until creamy. Add in the egg and water and process until everything is well combined. Add in the flour and process just until the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth (Dont overwork the dough!). Roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap and line the base of a 26 cm spring form. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 C for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the Almond Sponge:

6 whole eggs
pinch of salt
125 g fine granulated sugar
1/2 tsp instant coffee mixed in 3 tbs boiling water
200 g almond powder
1 tsp baking powder

Bake an almond sponge cake using my regular method for baking sponge (Replace the all-purpose flour with almond flour, the procedure remains the same). Pour the mixture into a greased, lined and foil-packed 26 cm baking pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 30-40 minutes.

Remove from oven, place on the wire rack to cool, remove the linings and allow to cool COMPLETELY.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

For the Peach Mousse:

1 cup canned or soft fresh peaches, cut in small cubes
2 tbs sugar
1 cup orange juice / you may take apple or pineapple as well
1/4 cup cold water
2 tsp powdered gelatin
pinch of yellow food colouring, optional

Dissolve gelatin in cold water. Take rest of the ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook just until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, allow to cool for a while and stir in the dissolved gelatin. Allow to cool completely.

Slice the sponge cake into two layers with a sharp knife or cake saw.

Take a big flat plate and set your ring mould on it.

Line the bottom with the prepare shortcrust pastry base. Tip: If youre lucky enough to have an adjustable ring mould, tighten it around the base to adjust the size or the liquid mousse will overflow on the sides OR bake a slightly bigger crust (and sponge) and adjust it inside your ring. This will ensure a beautiful layering!

Apply a thin layer of melted fruit jam (or lemon curd as I did) on the short crust base and cover it with a slice of almond sponge. Pour the prepared mousse over it and cover with the other slice of sponge. Press the top lightly, cover the ring with a plate and put in the refrigerator for atleast 3 hrs or until the mousse is set. I usually do this at night and proceed further with it the next morning.

For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

300 g heavy cream
100 g cream cheese
3 tbs San Apart ( Its a quick stabilising agent I use in my desserts here in Germany, see Note below)
zest of  an orange

Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the heavy cream and whip until soft peaks start to form. Add in the San Apart or 3 tbs icing sugar as well as the orange zest. Beat again for just a few seconds. Pour 3/4th of this cream over the prepared cake. And allow to set for half an hour.
Note: If you bake a lot, then you must be familiar with the consistency of stabilised whipped cream, just in case you feel adding sugar will not make the brand of your heavy cream hold for longer, try using gelatin or agar agar powder as explained in here.

Heat the side of your ring mould using a hair dryer or hot wet towel and carefully pull it upwards. Decorate the top of the cake with remaining cream and drizzle with lemon curd or jam or decorate with grated chocolate or caramelised peaches or whatever you like.

The torte was seriously great with each component a poem in itself and I was actually pretty proud of my execution as even those who usually never eat cakes took a slice of it at the get together. Who doesnt like to hear others gushing about their hard work :)

Monday, 7 May 2012

You´re the best, Coleen!!

I´m sure, youre drooling behind your screens :D

Come on, you are!

I dont know how strict you are about your weight resolutions but mine got short shrift the moment I laid my eyes on this delicious image at Coleens Recipes. She has named her post " The Best Cinnamon Rolls Weve Tasted - Not To Mention The Easiest Ones Ive Ever Made!!". Without even reading the entire recipe, I could tell that each word of it was right. In my opinion, she posts some of the best recipes you can find in the web.

Yes, my dear Coleen, after making the "Best Pancakes Ever!" and "Banana Chocolate Bread", yours is one of the blogs I now highly rate for delicious and reliable recipes. Once again, thank you indeed for putting my search for an easy but flawless recipe for cinnamon rolls to an end!!!

Coming back to all of you...I wish there were some widget to insert smells into the blog posts. The aroma in the kitchen while baking these was damn too intoxicating to describe in words.

And the oh man, it was incredible! So soft, truely melt-in-mouth and fluffy. (By the way, I hate those cake-like dense rolls that you cant eat more than one at a time). The recipe made 11 jumbo buns for me, four of which were straight away dispatched to a very dear friend living a few streets over, three were snatched direct from the baking tray and after letting Nael enjoy his share, I covered the deep tray with aluminium foil, heated the oven next morning for 10 minutes, turned off the heat and placed the entire tray inside for a few minutes. They were not as perfect as the freshly baked ones but still very tasty and soft enough to brighten up my morning.

Softest Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
4 + 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt


3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)
2 tbs soft butter

Mix buttermilk, sugar and oil in a bowl and microwave for a while, just until it feels warm (not hot).

Stir in yeast and put the mixture aside to let the yeast bloom.

Stir in 4 cups of flour, in two batches. No need to knead, just mix! Itll have a very sticky thick batter-like consistency.

Cover with a plastic wrap and place aside until double in size.

In a small bowl, sift together rest of the half cup flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. After the sticky dough has doubled its volume, stir it down and add in the final dry flour.

Mix until well incorporated. Itll still be very sticky!

Trasfer onto a well-floured counter, apply little flour - just until the SURFACE is not so sticky. Roll out into a rectangle.

Apply butter and spread on rest of the filling ingredients. Roll up tightly like a swiss roll and pinch the seam.

Cut into 1 1/2 inches slices and lay them, cut side down, in a greased tray (I divided into two). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

My second batch:

Bake in preheated oven at 190C for 20 minutes or until golden on top. Tap and they should sound a bit hollow.

Drizzle with the prepared glaze while the rolls are still hot.

For the glaze, I used a different recipe:

2 tbs butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs milk
few drops of vanilla essence

Melt butter. In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients. You may adjust the consistency according to your choice by adding more milk. Drizzle over the hot rolls.

Bake, enjoy and share the aroma with everyone!!!!


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Käsekuchen...The German cheese cake

This is a post, Ive been meaning to publish for months but never did. A very dear friend from the old school days wanted me to share a good recipe for cheese cake and I actually have an incredible one for the classic New york style but the vision of the entire 900 grams of cream cheese settling around my waist was so unpleasant and terrifying that I never felt really motivated to make it UNTIL few weeks ago when I received a home-made "German style cheese cake" as a neighborhood gesture from another very good friend of mine.

I took the first bite and knew instantly that this is it! Now is the time to get the ingredients and give it a go. So here it is Tehnia, a long overdue blog that Ive been promising you for months. But wait, first the picture

The German version of cheese cake is notably much lighter, less sweet and less dense than its American cousin. Decorated with fresh strawberries and a dark caramel drizzle, it was certainly one of the cakes I spent very less effort on making.

German Käsekuchen with cheese

German Cheese Cake


100 g fine granulated sugar
100 g melted margarine
1 egg
200 g all purpose flour
6 g baking powder

450 ml milk
500 g curd cheese / quark (I used 250 g of cream cheese and curd cheese each)
2 eggs
150 g fine granulated sugar
1 pkt vanilla custard powder (38 g )
2 tbs oil

Sift flour and baking powder. Take sugar in a seperate bowl and mix with egg (by hand).

Melt margarine, allow to cool a bit. Add in the sugar egg mixture.

Combine flour and baking powder, cover with a plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Take out from the refrigerator and line the bottom and sides of a 26 cm ring pan with it.

Put aside and prepare the filling by beating the egg with sugar first and then mixing rest of the above given ingredients using an electric mixer.

Tip: Make sure to beat the cream cheese and curd cheese seperately before adding into the milk. Itll help against lumps etc.

Pour into the prepared crust and lightly press the dough on the sides with your fingers to give a thick and nice shape.

Bake in the preheated oven at 180 C for 50-55 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool and set completely IN THE PAN.

German Cheese cake recipe
Add caption

Chill in refrigerator and serve as it is or decorate with fresh strawberries as I did. Avoid the caramel drizzle (unless it doesnt have a toffee-like thick consistency), it did look nice for a while but quite messy after a few hours.

A light, tangy, flavourful, fluffy and less guilty indulgence. Spoil yourself with a heavenly slice!

Have a great Wednesday you all!