22 December 2009

Clementine Cake - my Christmas tradition

You can't read this Nigella Lawson recipe without falling in love with it! What's not to love about clementine puree and almonds?! I made this last December when clementines were aplenty in the market, now have decided to make this an annual Christmas tradition!

This is my modified version of Nigella's recipe

4-5 clementines (any other small orange like satsuma, tangerine should also do)
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (I used almond meal)
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)*

Put the clementines into a pot of cold water, bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for 2 hours. When cooked, the clementines will be soft. Cut open and check to make sure there are no seeds. Put the cooked clementines into a blender, with pith and outside skin, and puree to a smooth paste.

In a bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients. Add the clementine puree and stir to make a smooth batter. Now grease a 9" baking tin well (make sure it is really greased well to avoid sticking) and pour in the cake batter. Cook at 375F for 30-35 mins.

The cake was moist and had the texture of chewy brownies.

* I prefer to put in some essence into cake to remove some of the "eggy" smell.

Simple Breakfast Sooji Utthapam

This is a traditional Konkani breakfast specialty. It's easy to make, and reminds me so much of home!

Serves 2 people

Sooji (semolina), 2 cups
1 onion, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped roughly
cilantro, 8 strands chopped
yogurt, 3 tbsp
water, as needed

In a bowl, combine sooji, onion, chilli, cilantro and yogurt. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix to form a smooth batter. Add more water as needed. The batter should be thicker than dosa consistency, but not too runny. Add salt and cover and keep for 1/2 hour. In this time, sooji will fluf a little. Check consistency and add some more water if needed. Grease a flat pan and spread batter to make a thickish dosa. Cover with a round lid while cooking. Utthapam takes about 3-4 minutes to cook on both sides.

08 December 2009

Cabbage, turnip, carrot soup

Winter veggies normally include root vegetables and lots of winter squash. This time we got a large, white cabbage - woohoo! I whipped up this soup last night to celebrate the snow showers that seems to be blanketting Chicago faster than I expected. It was a treat after a day of slipping and sliding.

Serves 4

1/2 head of cabbage, cut into thin strips and chopping those strips into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 small turnips, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp of lemon juice
3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup of cubed pancetta
1 tbsp of butter
Salt and pepper
  1. Add pancetta to a tsp of hot olive oil in a soup pot. Cook until the fat renders and pancetta pieces are browned and crisp.
  2. Add onions and garlic with salt. Cook until onions are translucent.
  3. Add rest of the vegetables and stir for a minute. Add stock, adjust for salt and add ground pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Cover and cook over low heat until vegetables are tender.
  5. Add lemon juice and stir in butter.
  6. Serve hot.