Sopa de espárragos verdes

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A warm Spanish soup today :

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This month :

Blog-checking lines: Our November Daring Cooks’ hostess was Begoña, who writes the beautiful blog, Las recetas de Marichu y las mías. Begoña is from Spain and didn’t want to go with the more common challenges of paella or gazpacho, she wanted to share with us another very popular recipe from Spain that we don’t see as often called Sopa Castellana which is a delicious bread soup!

(more here)

Besides the classic (with a complicated broth), there was an asparagus version that I’ve preferred.

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I combine the 2 recipes and changed… well, here is my broth, based on a grilled onion, with stalks of turnip, cloves, laurel, thyme, rosemary, a dry mushroom and chick peas.

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In the South of France, this type of simple bread soup existed too. Particularly aigo boulido in Provence, so my impression is garlic is the main ingredient.

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It’s the season of frozen green asparagus. Always.

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The soup with the bread.

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Poached quail egg. A similar soup with one egg is called “bouillabaisse borgne” one-eyed bouillabaisse.

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So we have a 4 eye monster soup.

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Mmmm, it’s very filling.

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Fall salmon pot pie

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A salmon and mushroom pie hidden in a pumpkin. That’s Halloween on the plate.

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This month :

Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.

So let’s go for Japanese season produce and even tofu for a dairy free pie :

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Autumn/Fall is the season of kabocha pumpkin, salmon, mushrooms (shiitake).

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Kabocha pumpkin crust : 1/3 boiled kabocha flesh, 1/3 flour, 1/3 whole wheat flour. Plus a little baling powder, salt, chili flakes and enough of the squash cooking water to for a dough.

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The fresh ingredients.

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Gravy : I stir-fried onion, garlic, the feet of the shiitake with salt and black pepper. Then added the shiitake hats, the peas. To cream it, passed in the blender : 1/2 block of silky tofu, 1 glass of white wine, a tbs of potato starch. I’ve added the fish and parsley raw.
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Baked 45 minutes.

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The crust is perfectly cooked. The inside is a little curded (I should have added the wine to the onions to avoid it), but it looks nice.

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Cress and parsley pesto on the plate.

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Curried chick pea dosa, with coconut gravy

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An Indian brunch maybe not so Indian… Well, dosa is the pancake from India, but this recipe has traveled via Canada, it seems.

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This month is a retro challenge, as we had to pick an older one we had not done yet, so mt choice was September 2009’s Indian Dosas (Vegan Style) :
Recipe here.

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The 3 elements : curried chick peas and veggies, dosa crepes and the coconut sauce.

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The curried chick peas with shishito peppers and kabocha pumpkin.

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The coconut gravy with a shishito pepper and a little bit of habanero pepper.

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I made the dosas with plain flour. Well, that’s easier and quicker, I prefer rice and lentil dosas :

red dosa
green dosa

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Side veggies : goya bitter squash and cucumbers.

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So let’s fill the crepes…

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… pour the sauce and sprinkle coconut snow.

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Romanesco ganmodoki

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がんもどきGanmodoki are one of the numerous tofu based specialties that you can find in Japan. You wonder how many there are ? Oh, hundreds :

The Tofu Hyakuchin (豆腐百珍 Tōfu Hyakuchin?) is a Japanese recipe book written by Ka Hitsujun (何必醇) and published in 1782 during the Edo period. It lists 100 recipes for preparing tofu. Due to its immense popularity at the time, a second volume was published the following year.

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And they had no romanesco then, so recipes like this were added later.
We can buy different types of ganmodoki in tofu shops, at markets and supermarkets and use them in many dishes. Making yours is easy.
Romanesco is beautiful. I’m never tired of watching it.

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For the detailed recipe, see on the blog of the Gourmet that lives in Shizuoka. I simply changed the garnishing vegetables.

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The stalks and leaves of the romanesco. I eat them too in soups or whatever. Here, I’ve cut thin sticks and steamed them. I’ve also steamed a few kabocha pumpkin sticks.

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ヒジキHijiki seaweed. We can buy them fresh or dry. That doesn’t make a big difference. Add water to the dry ones, wait 10 minutes.

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I pan-fried them.

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Served with steamed romanesco, raw myoga, and shikwasa lime juice as a seasoning.

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A nice plant based lunch.

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Postre de las tres leches, coconut style.

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The tres leches cake is very popular in Latin America. It’s classically soaked in tres leches (3 milks) : condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream. I had never eaten any. That was this month’s challenge :

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Blog-checking lines: Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!

I made 3, this one PLUS :

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DSC09607-001 Momo mitsu-nyu, a plant based tres leches with peach (coming soon)

I’ve put the classic recipe at the end. I drifted away, using a second coconut version.

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My biscuit is flavored with lots of vanilla powder.
For soaking : condensed milk + coconut milk + coconut cream + rum.

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I garnished with orange, litchi and whipped coconut cream, unsweetened.

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Fruits are between the 2 layers of biscuit and around. Then dry coconut and sweet cinnamon :

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Sponge cake for Classic Three Milks Cake:
Source : Daring Baker

Servings: 12

Ingredients for the vanilla sponge cake
5 large eggs (separated)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) (5 oz) (140gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)

-Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Prepare a square 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan
Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
-Beat the egg whites on medium speed, 3 – 5 minutes.
When soft peaks form slowly add the sugar in small batches.
Whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes. Set aside.
-In a medium bowl beat egg yolks at medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the egg yolks become pale colored, creamy and puffy. Stir in vanilla.
-Pour the egg yolks over the egg whites, gently fold until just combined trying not to lose any volume from the mixture.
Fold in the flour little by little in the form of rain. Mix until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake).
-Pour the batter into the prepared 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) square cake pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan.
Bake in the preheated moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool.
-Once cool, split the cake in half, flip the top of the cake and place it on a base. Poke using a fork holes all over the cake to better absorb the three milk soaking liquid.

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Classic Three Milks Cake:
Source : Daring Baker
For three milks syrup
1 can (14 oz) (400 gm) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz) (340 gm) evaporated milk
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (about 35% fat) or 1 cup of half & half or 1 cup milk
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rum (or other flavoring)

Topping and filling
2 cups (500 ml) of whipping cream (about 30% fat)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
Canned or fresh fruit (to fill and decorate the cake)

-Three milks syrup
In a saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove it and let it cool.
Once it is cool, add the rum or any other flavoring you are using
Gradually brush all the milk soaking liquid into all sides of the cake (including the cut surfaces) until all absorbed. Best to rest the cake in the fridge overnight to complete the soaking process.
-Topping
Whip the cream, when soft peaks form add the sugar little by little, continue whipping until stiff peaks form about 2 mins. Layer some whipped cream on the bottom layer and cover with canned or fresh fruit and decorate the top layer with whipped cream and the fresh or canned fruit.

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Mawa cake with DIY mawa

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South Indian cardamom milk cake, made with mawa (unsweetened condensed milk).

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So that’s this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge.

Blog-checking lines: Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious!

The detailed recipe is at the end of this post.

I also baked :
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Recipe in 1 line : Simmer and stir 1 liter of whole milk.
That’s true and that take ages. I have cheated, I’ve started with evaporated milk, then I had my mawa in 15 minutes.

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The baked cake.

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Let it cool.

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I found it better fully cooled, even chilled a few hours.

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Iced chai latte (Ceylon tea and cardamom infused in cold water and coconut milk, sprinkled with cinnamon).

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Recipe from the Daring Baker Challenge :

MAWA CAKE (Cardamom Flavoured Milk Cake):
Servings: Serves 8 to 10
Mawa Cakes are a specialty cake that is the hallmark of Irani cafés in India. The Iranis are Zoroastrians who left Persia/ Iran in the 19th and early 20th centuries to escape persecution of non-Muslims, and settled down and thrived here mostly in the cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune. They’re most famous in India for their friendly informal cafés/ restaurants that serve the most awesome food. The brun pav or maska pav(kinds of bread) with Irani chai (thick, strong, sweet and milky cardamom flavoured tea), their Shrewsbury biscuits and Mawa cakes are just a few of them.
Mawa (also known as Khoya/ Khoa) is made by slowly reducing milk (usually full-fat) until all that remain is a mass of slightly caramelized granular dough-like milk solids. Mawa is used in a wide variety of Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Peda, to mention just two. Mawa is pronounced as Maa-vaa; Khoya is pronounced as KhOh-yaa.
In this cake, Mawa lends a rich and a caramelized milky taste to this cake which is slightly dense and reminiscent of a pound cake. Cardamom and cashewnuts are typical of a Mawa Cake, though blanched almonds are also used. Mawa Cakes are also bakes as cupcakes.

The cake is very easy to make and the Mawa is not too difficult. It just requires some time, patience and a lot of stirring!

Ingredients

For the Mawa:
1 litre (4 cups) full fat milk

For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) unsalted Butter (soft at room temperature)
3/4 cup (180 ml) packed crumbled mawa
1-1/4 cups (300 ml) (10 oz) (280 gm) castor sugar
3 large eggs
5 to 6 cardamom pods, powdered, (about 1-1/2 tsp powdered cardamom)
2 cups (500ml) (9 oz) (260 gm) cake flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
Cashewnuts (or blanched almonds) to decorate (about 18 to 20)

Directions:
1. First make the “Mawa”. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.
2. The important thing during this process is to watch the milk and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt. The danger of this happening increases as the milk reduces and gets thicker.
3. Once the milk it has reduced to about one fourth, 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.
4. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the mawa to a bowl and let it cool completely. Then cover and refrigerate it for a day or two (not more) till you’re ready to make the cake. It will harden in the fridge so let it come to room temperature before using it.
You should get about 3/4 to 1 cup of mawa from 1 litre (4 cups) of full-fat milk.

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5. Now start preparations for the cake by pre-heating your oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Beat the butter, the crumbled mawa and the sugar in a largish bowl, using a hand held electric beater, on high speed until soft and fluffy.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat till mixed well.
7. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt onto the batter and beat at medium speed and well blended. If you cannot find cake flour, place 2 tablespoon of cornstarch in the bottom of your 1-cup measure and then fill it with all-purpose (plain) flour to make up to 1 cup.
8. Grease and line only the bottom of an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan. Pour the batter into this and lightly smooth the top. Place the cashew nuts (or blanched almonds) on top of the batter randomly. Do not press the nuts down into the batter. A Mawa Cake always has a rustic finished look rather than a decorated look.
9. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 1 hour until the cake is a golden brown and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Do not over bake the cake or it will dry out. If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover it will aluminium foil hallway through the baking time.
10. Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 10 min in the tin. Release the cake, peel off the parchment from the base and let it cool completely.

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Pineapple biryani

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That’s biryani party at the Daring Cook’s challenge.

Grace, one of our talented non-blogging Daring Kitchen members, was our Daring Cooks’ August hostess who shared with us some of her family’s tried and true Bengali Biryani recipes – all of them delicious and all of them prepared fresh from our own kitchens!

I had a weird one in archives :

fusion biryani

I made 2.

DSC07256-001 seafood biryani (coming soon)

And this veggie biryani with a fruity touch :

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Pineapple biryani. I took the recipe at the end as a guideline…I drifted away a little to adapt to my products.

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Pineapple is the accent.

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Pearl sweet corn.

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Okra and red bell pepper. I used these season veggies for the gravy. I replace the coriander by mitsuba leaves.

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The gravy, with home-made ghee.
Besides I prepared a ghee flavored rice with turmeric, cashew nuts and pineapple dices.
I had no basmati or other biryani specific rice. The only long grain rice I could get is Thai jasmine rice. I cooked it in the rice-cooker.

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Layer rice and gravy, close the lid and reheat slowly.

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First side dish : chick pea raita. I mixed boiled chick peas, coconut yogurt, very little grated garlic, salt, lemon juice and stalks of mitsuba. Let a few hours in the fridge.

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Aubergine chutney as a second side.

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Basic recipe from the challenge :

Vegetable Biryani:

Servings: 6

Ingredients

4 tablespoons (60 ml) (2 oz) (60 ml) ghee
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ inch (2½ cm) ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (2/3 oz) (20 gm) desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
Salt
14 oz (400 gm) canned tomatoes
9 oz (250 gm) frozen sweetcorn, thawed
5 oz (150 gm) paneer, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

Rice:
6 tablespoons (90 ml) (3 oz) (90 ml) ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 whole cloves
4 whole black peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 cardamom pod
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup (240 ml) (6½ oz) (185 gm) basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt
1 cup (250 ml) (6-1/3 oz) (180 gm) raisins
½ cup (120 ml) (85 gm) (3 oz) blanched almonds, halved
½ cup (120 ml) (85 gm) (3 oz) cashews, halved
2 cups (500 ml) water
Directions:

1. Melt the ghee in a large saucepan over medium high heat and fry the cumin seeds until fragrant. Add the garlic, ginger, and onion and fry until golden brown. Stir in the coconut and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the spices, salt, tomatoes, sweet corn, and paneer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the coriander, lemon juice, and mint. Remove from the heat.
2. For the rice, melt the rest of the ghee in another large saucepan and fry the whole spices until fragrant. Add the onion and fry until golden brown. Mix in the rice and fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the spices, salt, raisins, nuts, and water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until the rice is dry.
3. Layer the rice and vegetables in thin layers in a large saucepan, starting and ending with a layer of rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

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