Author: yudhikayumyum

About yudhikayumyum

About Yudhika Sujanani Gorgeous celebrity chef, author and personality Yudhika is best-known for her designer heels and signature curry dishes but this “Curry Queen of Bling” is not exclusively focused on Indian cuisine. She uses her extensive knowledge and experience to masterfully create innovative flavours and food combinations. With a passion for food and zest for life, Yudhika believes food and cooking not only nourishes the body....it also nourishes the spirit. Simple foods prepared in a flash are her key focus. With an incredibly busy schedule she insists on home cooked meals so the meals have to be spicy but not hot, fresh, zingy and packed with loads of flavour and fresh, seasonal ingredients. Experimenting with food is her creative outlet, guaranteed to cheer her up. Her mother was a professional chef and Yudhika could be found in hotel kitchens from her early teens. In grade seven she got her first job as an assistant in the Chantecler Hotel kitchen in Durban, but was happy to do anything, so long as she could be around good food and learn the ropes of the industry. After fulfilling her dream of owning her own restaurant, which was a runaway success, she turned her attention to more innovative ways of sharing and selling food. She started the highly acclaimed Curry Club, an idea born out of her love of entertaining that raised money for the Starfish Foundation at the same time. Yudhika has authored two recipe books, ‘Curry Me Home’ and ‘Curry Me Home again’, and will be releasing a third book mid-2012. Her ‘Curry Me Home’ complementary range of spices, available in a number of SPAR retailers country-wide, provide the foundation for many of her dishes (Red Chilli Powder, Ground Cumin, Ground Coriander, Garam Masala) and are roasted and blended according to her own recipes (Magic Masala, Nan’s Lazy Day Masala, Balti Blast, Balti Sprinkle). To add to her list of achievements, she was also honoured as an AMC Cookware ambassador in 2012. She lives in Fourways, Johannesburg with her fiance, Rob L'Etang, her three children and two Afghan hounds.

Very vegetarian….Paneer and Spinach Koftas

Paneer and Spinach Koftas....by Yudhika Sujanani

Paneer and Spinach Koftas….by Yudhika Sujanani

I recently joined a group on Facebook called ‘Strictly Vegetarian Recipes’ and it has been an inspiration. The group was started by Prathna Singh in memory of her mom who was a vegetarian. I have been so amazed by the recipes posted but mostly the enthusiasm of the members. From eggless baking to old fashioned recipes, the group share their love for all things deliciously vegetarian.

I have been raised in a meat loving home where veggies were for days that were financially challenging. Preparing veggie meals has not been at the top of my list but the ladies of ‘Strictly Vegetarian’ keep me on my toes and thinking of new ideas to share.

With the rise of the celebrity and masterchef generation, we tend to forget to acknowledge the home cooks and chefs from the older generation….there is no TV audience but it is where most recipes come from! Aunties and grannies, mothers and neighbours…recipes were shared through the local grapevine….I would also like to thank the members of the group for their amazing work and spirit in keeping the page alive and brimming with decadent ideas.

Some of the contributors on the page are Mrs Priscilla Ron Sha, Prathna Singh, Usha Singh and Sherry Baijnath. Thanks ladies for the delicious shares! This blog is a celebration so don’t forget to enter the AMC Cookware Competition, click here for the details…http://yudhikayumyum.com/2015/05/04/cookware-for-queens-and-a-few-kings-too-the-amc-cookware-competition/ Don’t forget the hashtags…#amcforlife #yudhikayumyum in your comments!

Here is a recipe from my veggie files…I used a combination of Indian and Thai flavours in the sauce. Coconut milk, lemongrass and lime leaves combined with Indian spices make this sauce utterly decadent. Lime leaves can be found at Asian supermarkets and can be kept in the pantry for over a year. When I am short on lemongrass, I just add a few extra lime leaves to mimic the citrus zing….it does work so don’t panic if you can’t find the lemongrass! When using coconut milk, I recommend the following brands…Mae Ploy, Aroy D and Chao Koh or you can use the Spar brand coconut cream (with the yellow label). Some of the brands are really watery and ruin the sauce. For the basic paneer recipe, click here…http://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/11/01/how-to-make-paneer/ – just remember to use Clover milk for the recipe…from my recipe testing, it seems to work best for paneer.

These recipes can be sent directly to your inbox…all you have to do is click follow on the bottom of the page…scroll down to the very bottom of the page!

Paneer and Spinach Koftas

200g grated paneer
2 large boiled potatoes, grated
150g baby spinach, finely shredded
7,5ml crushed ginger
7,5ml crushed garlic
2 green chillies, finely chopped
5ml ajwain (ajmo)
5ml fine salt

Chickpea batter
500ml chickpea flour
2,5ml ajwain
2,5ml salt
Cold water, to make batter

Sunflower oil, to fry koftas

For the sauce:
750g chopped tomatoes
250ml cold water
2 cloves garlic
5ml crushed ginger
6 lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass
4 green cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
15ml red chilli powder
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
5ml garam masala
5ml sugar
125ml coconut milk
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Place the grated paneer, potato and baby spinach in a mixing bowl. Add the ginger, garlic, chopped chillies, ajwain and salt.
Mix well until the ingredients are combined.
Mould the mixture into balls and leave in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
Make a batter with the chickpea flour, ajwain, salt and cold water.
Dip the koftas in the batter and then deep fry in hot oil.
Remove from the oil and leave to cool slightly, then dip in chickpea batter and fry again.
Leave to drain on a wire rack.

To make the sauce:

Place the tomatoes in a 24cm AMC pot and bring to the boil.
Pour in the water, then add garlic, ginger, lime leaves and lemongrass.
Place the cardamom pods, and bay leaf into the pot.
When the tomatoes soften completely, pass the mixture through a sieve.
Use the back of the wooden spoon to press the mixture through ensuring just the whole spices and lemongrass is left in the sieve.
Discard the pulp and bring the liquid to the boil.
Add red chilli powder, ground cumin, coriander, garam masala and sugar.
Simmer for a 3 – 5 minutes.
Add coconut milk and simmer until the sauce is glossy.
Place the koftas into the coconut sauce and garnish with fresh coriander.

Burfee Bliss…an eggless cupcake!

Yudhika's Eggless Burfee Cupcakes...

Yudhika’s Eggless Burfee Cupcakes…

No matter how much time you spend in a kitchen, there are always some things that are not your forte. For me eggless baking has never come easy…perhaps my attempts are sabotaged by some of my first attempts which were always disastrous. From cakes that looked like rubber to cupcakes that felt like tennis balls…my earlier attempts made me cringe with embarrassment. Thankfully, much to the encouragement and constant requests from my readers and Facebook family, I come up with a cracker every now and then…don’t get me wrong, there are more disasters than victories.

When it comes to eggless cakes and bakes, I often find beautifully decorated cakes that can set you up for disappointment. One bite and the cake is either too dry, heavy and the bicarby bitterness overwhelming. I have been playing with a recipe for an eggless cupcake for a while and why not make a celebration cupcake? Last week, I did a feature in the Post Newspaper and featured my Eggless Burfee Cupcake creation. The recipe has been tested for a while and each time I made a batch, I thought of ways to improve the texture and flavour. Taking inspiration from an Indian speciality fudge, I added Klim and dessert cream to the recipe…it was one of those recipes that go something like this….a few tablespoons of that, let’s add a little cream, stir and check consistency, then a few pinches of cardamom….lick the spoon and, ‘Aha, it needs more sugar!’ For a quick and easy flop proof burfee recipe, click here, http://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/10/31/idiot-proof-burfee/ and check out my latest competition to win a 30cm skillet valued at R3200 from AMC Cookware here, http://yudhikayumyum.com/2015/05/04/cookware-for-queens-and-a-few-kings-too-the-amc-cookware-competition/

The baked burfee cupcakes...a little scone like on the surface!

The baked burfee cupcakes…a little scone like on the surface!

I develop recipes over the weekend and get my kids to take notes on my ramblings and document the recipe changes. I took a peek at these cupcakes while they were in the oven. They looked like scones and my heart sank momentarily. It’s a case of not judging a book by it’s cover…the scone like appearance masked the deliciously light, moist cakes. I topped them with a generous slathering of cream cheese frosting but you could use butter cream or whipped cream if you prefer.

Eggless Burfee Cupcakes....deliciously light and moreish!

Eggless Burfee Cupcakes….deliciously light and moreish!

Eggless Burfee Cupcakes

Makes 18

125g soft butter

125g sugar

100g Klim milk powder

100ml dessert cream

200ml full cream milk

5ml vanilla essence

210g cake flour

7,5ml baking powder

5ml bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

2,5ml ground cardamom

Here’s how:

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

In a free standing mixer or with a hand held beater, ream the butter until light in colour.

Add the sugar gradually and continue creaming until fluffly.

Stir the mix powder into the mixture and continue creaming

Gradually add the dessert cream.

Combine the full cream milk and vanilla essence.

Sift the dry ingredients.

Add half the sifted flour to the mixing bowl and beat until smooth.

Add half the milk and mix well, followed by the remaining flour.

Pour the remaining milk and beat until smooth.

Divide the mixture into a cupcake pan, lined with paper cases.

Bake for 22 – 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the cakes are tested.

Remove the cakes from the tin immediately and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Cream cheese frosting


120g soft butter


375ml icing sugar


230g plain cream cheese 


5ml Vanilla paste or extract

Tinted almonds, to decorate

For the frosting:

Cream butter and gradually add the icing sugar until light in colour.
Add the cream cheese and continue beating.
Add vanilla essence.
Continue beating until smooth – do not over-beat as the frosting can split.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost them using a spatula and decorate with tinted almonds.

‘Keep Mum and Carry On’…a message for Mother’s Day!

Yudhika Sujanani with Hetal, Rushil and Tanvi

Yudhika Sujanani with Hetal, Rushil and Tanvi

The world I grew up in was very different to the one I live in. I watched my mom and gran quietly go about their business of running a home even when things were falling apart. They would ‘Keep Mum’ and carry on. Keep Mum..it’s a code that Indian women live by and a phenomenon that makes no sense to me at all! Trained to see everything and say nothing, an Indian women is pushed to the very edge. I was warned as a child not to say anything and to never ask questions. If i ever raised a difficult topic with my mom or gran, their immediate response would be, ‘Keep quiet, your father/grandfather is going to hear you’. It frustrated me that no one wanted to discuss what was obviously huge issues. From domestic violence to alcohol abuse, financial disasters or gambling, there were no discussions.

I got into lots of trouble…asked too many questions and questioned what should not be questioned. My childhood was punctuated with beatings from my father. But I never kept mum, I would question and it would be like somebody pressed play, rewind and play again. I watched that movie too many times and the beatings did become easier to deal with. At first, it was unbearable to accept that a parent could behave in that way but the regularity of it numbs the soul and it becomes an out of body experience. There is no pain but I still think about how a parent could be so messed up. Nobody spoke about what really went on in their home and my situation wasn’t an exceptional case. It plagued the community and silenced women.

Life wasn’t a cake walk but I don’t regret the decisions I made, questions asked and the person I am today. It shocked everyone and it surprised or horrified them even more that I would make the same choices over again knowing that I would get another beating. So my childhood was spent living from one catastrophe to the next, one beating to the next. I was not allowed to complain about it to friends, neighbors or family members. That was considered as bringing shame upon your family. Is it possible to shame a family already living in shame? What happened at our house, stayed in our house. Life was lonely and the burden of keeping mum weighed heavily on my spirit. I felt ashamed through most of those years.

We live in a different world and parenting is different. Our kids question freely, tell us how they feel and blatantly tell us when we fail. It hurts to hear it but being a mum isn’t for sissies. Being a mum is different and so is being a daughter. Over the past 18 months I have taken a long hard look at myself after the worst arguments with my 15 year old daughter, Hetal. We lost each other over a dozen times thinking that there would be no way back. Hetal also had issues with her mom being a workaholic. It’s the world we live in but also a personality thing. Being a workaholic is not something to be proud of, it comes from my childhood fears and my children have to live with that. The issues left a huge crack in our family but miraculously it changed. Hetal came back into our world. It was a long hard road back but we took some time to appreciate each other, discovering facets of our complicated personalities. Life is tough for our kids too and my mistake was assuming that it was tougher for me. I got so caught up in the daily grind and assumed that she understood that.

My kids asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day and I said, ‘All I want is for you to be really happy’. I don’t want a day off from being a mum or to be left alone, fragrant soaps and body butters. I just want to take a day to appreciate each other, for the day to be filled with love and laughter. There is no special recipe in this post but a request that we find ingredients to make our relationships work! For this Mother’s Day, I would like for us to get to know our kids better, build a few bridges, break a few walls and share a few secrets. Our time with them is precious and I plan to make the most of it.

The Crumpet Controversy…

The Crumpet Controversy by Yudhika Sujanani

The Crumpet Controversy by Yudhika Sujanani

With Mother’s Day just a few days away, it got me thinking about delicious recipes that my mom and gran would prepare! My gran always made fabulous crumpets and they are so good that she has to make them everyday when she comes to visit. I did watch her a few times and with most experienced Indian ladies, they cook and bake without measurements and my Nan is no different. They make everything look so easy and effortless. And it’s because they make it look so easy, that I did try to whip up a batch as an after school treat. Most of them were welded to the pan and scraping them off just led to lots of burning and trauma! The ones that did make it were hard and rubbery! I just had to pay more attention to Nan to get these right!

I use an AMC Chef’s Pan to cook these and grease it lightly with a mist of non-stick spray. Once the batter is in you could add a little melted butter to the pan but the spray on its own worked well enough. You can also use a AMC Cookware Skillet for this…and luckily enough, it’s the prize AMC are giving away…click here for more details on how to enter, http://yudhikayumyum.com/2015/05/04/cookware-for-queens-and-a-few-kings-too-the-amc-cookware-competition/

I posted a pic of the crumpets on Facebook. My English Champagne drinking friend, Carole Tate, declared that it wasn’t a crumpet after all! I was completely confused and decided to do a little investigating. English crumpets are different to Scottish ones, and there is much confusion over flapjacks, English muffins and Crumpets.

So let’s settle on calling these South African Crumpets which, by the way, are much like American flapjacks. They can be served dusted with cinnamon sugar, drizzled with syrup, and served in a stack topped with crispy bacon. Crumpets can also be served plain and smeared with a heavy dose of butter! It’s all good…it’s all delicious! These are easy enough for kids to make on Mother’s Day and here are a few other recipe ideas from my previous blog posts…For a meringue frosted cake and delicious scones click here – http://yudhikayumyum.com/2012/05/09/mothers-day-blues/

For those of you who are die hard English crumpet fans, apologies for calling this a crumpet. It’s what I have know it as my entire life. Let’s put the controversy aside, and bang out a batch…they are delicious by any name!

Since blogging is still ‘quite new’, I would love to hear from you so leave a message in the comments section when you drop by! And if you love the recipe, feel free to share it!

The crumpet stack - perfect for Mother's Day

The crumpet stack – perfect for Mother’s Day

Crumpets

Makes 24

Ingredients

500ml self raising flour
10ml baking powder
Pinch of salt
75ml sugar
250ml milk
250ml cold water
2 eggs
60ml melted butter

Cinnamon sugar, to dust
Butter and golden syrup, to serve

Here’s how:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.
Add the sugar.
Lightly whisk the milk, water and eggs to combine.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
Whisk the mixture until smooth, then pour in the butter.
Whisk once again to incorporate.
Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and leave the batter to rest for an hour.
Heat an AMC 28cm Chef’s Pan and grease with non stick spray.
Cook spoonfuls of the batter in the pan – I use an egg ring to keep them even in size.
When the crumpets bubble on the surface and are golden brown, turn then over and cook on the opposite side.
Grease the pan again with non-stick spray and repeat.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Serve with butter and golden syrup.

Another Meat Free Monday! Creamy Cauliflower

Yudhika Sujanani - Quick and Easy Creamy Cauliflower Curry!

Yudhika Sujanani – Quick and Easy Creamy Cauliflower Curry!

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a Meat Free Monday!

Creamy Cauliflower

Ingredients

800g cauliflower florets
60ml sunflower oil
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
10ml crushed ginger and garlic
10ml red chilli powder
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
125ml fresh cream
250ml frozen peas
Fresh curry leaves or coriander, to garnish

Here’s how

Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes and then drain.
Rinse the florets in cold water and leave to drain.
Heat the oil in a 24cm AMC pot.
Add the cumin seeds and when they splutter, add the onion and salt.
Saute until the onion turns light golden brown.
Add crushed ginger and garlic – cook until the moisture evaporates.
Stir the cauliflower florets into the onion.
Saute for a minute then add the powdered spices.
Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes, pour in the cream.
Add the frozen peas and simmer on a low heat until cooked through.
Once the sauce thickens slightly, remove from the heat and garnish with curry leaves or fresh coriander.

Cookware for Queens….and a few Kings too! The AMC Cookware Competition!

Competition time...The AMC 30cm Skillet worth R3200

Competition time…The AMC 30cm Skillet worth R3200

AMC Cookware and I have teamed up several times to work on some amazing projects…from TV shows to the Post Newspaper recipe column…we keep things cooking! And I sometimes share the experiences and want you to experience that too!

Drum roll please….we haven’t run a competition on the blog for a while so here is your chance to enter! AMC Cookware are giving away a 30cm Skillet and recipe book worth R3200! The pan is perfect for making crumpets, grilling chicken, chops and steaks and also for making roti!

All you have to do is share the link to the blog on facebook or twitter, click follow, and leave a comment with #yudhikayumyum #amcforlife We love hearing your feedback – feel free to comment on the recipes featured, share your memories and tell us your AMC story! We all want to be winners but try not to leave a comment saying, ‘I want to win the AMC prize’ You can leave your feedback in the comments section on this post or any of the recipe posts as long as you remember to hashtag us.

AMC for life!

AMC for life!

AMC has been a household name for decades. For more information on AMC Cookware and the amazing specials they have on offer, visit their website http://www.amcsa.co.za

The AMC Classic Cookbook!

The AMC Classic Cookbook!

So a few rules:

You can enter as many times as you like – all names will be put forward in a lucky draw.
You must be a follower of the blog to be eligible – to subscribe, please scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on the ‘follow’ button!
Rude and abusive comments will not be entered into the draw.
Competition closes 3 June 2015 and the winner will be announced on the 4 June 2015.
Please do not ask people to vote for your comment – it’s a lucky draw.

South African entries only.

Hope, Happiness and Hummingbirds…a visit to the Hummingbird Bakery

The black forest style cupcake by Yudhika Sujanani

The black forest style cupcake by Yudhika Sujanani

We grow up being mesmerized by fascinating creatures and when I was little, hummingbirds fascinated me the most. My mom once told me that this tiny little bird could even fly backwards. She described the way it would hover and draw out the nectar from flowers and it captured my attention forever. I have yet to see one but there is also another hummingbird that caught my attention while I was eating my way through London..The Hummingbird Bakery! I will come back to the bakery just now but first I want to share a few special messages that come from the mystical world of this bird. Ancient folk law has many myths about hummingbirds but mostly they remind us of how to live a happier life.

It’s called ‘the bird of the impossible’ – it can fly backwards which not only means that you can achieve the impossible, but it also symbolizes that we should re-visit our past but not dwell in it. While we fight to move forward in our lives, sometimes the answers can be found in our past. Take the lessons from the past, learn from the mistakes so you can move forward joyfully. Far too often we are encouraged to sweep things under the rug, box them and move on without processing it. We are pushed into believing that it is what we must do, but surely not what we should be doing? When the past remains unresolved, we carry the baggage forever, and forever is such a long time!

These tiny birds are able to fly thousands of kilometers during migration. They have the tiniest wings that make no aerodynamic sense at all! Take a closer look at your life and chose how you wish to spend your energy. We have limited resources and places and goals we wish to reach. Are we making the right choices or wasting our energy on things and people that don’t matter? From my own experiences, most of my energy was spent on fearing the unknown, worrying about issues and the worst of it is the people that seem to drain positivity out of your life. What will be, will be and the reality is that you will have to face it. The impending dread of dealing with a problem is far more agonizing than the problem itself. Take a beat, catch your breath and deal with the issue in your own time.

The hummingbird hovers over flowers for most of the day, tirelessly gathering up the nectar, but it never damages the plant. Sharing is not the issue, but we live in a society that takes until there is nothing left and too much damage is done. If you want something, do you need to harm the giver to get it? Do we take until there is nothing left? The greed that consumes us is what destroys our lives and the people around us. The hummingbird takes what it needs, not more! I have come across givers and takers, and things do swing in roundabouts…sometimes there are more givers, sometimes more takers but I changed so much about my life to ensure that although my circle is smaller, it is occupied by precious people. We experience joy in different ways and there is no right or wrong…so whether you are closing huge deals worth millions or collecting books for kids, it makes no difference. It’s your happiness! For many years one of my ways of experiencing joy is by sharing my generosity and love for food with my friends and family. I have learnt that not everyone values this gift. True generosity of spirit is my way of celebrating the successes and failures in my life.

Yudhika at Notting Hill's Hummingbird Bakery

Yudhika at Notting Hill’s Hummingbird Bakery

On a recent visit to London, I just had to stop in at the Hummingbird Bakery for a cupcake quick fix. I had first come across this amazing bakery while indulging in my penchant for recipe books. The first cook book was a collection of delicious, easy to make, home style cupcakes but it was the pictures that got my attention first. You see, I read my recipe books at bed time just as any person would read a novel. I pore over the pictures taking in every last bit of deliciousness. Most of the time, it’s this sort of food watching that leads to me raiding the refrigerator for midnight snacks. Life is full of little pleasures, isn’t it?

Yudhika at Notting Hill's Hummingbird Bakery

Yudhika at Notting Hill’s Hummingbird Bakery

What's in the box...Yudhika takes a  closer look!

What’s in the box…Yudhika takes a closer look!

I popped in at the store while visiting the Portobello Market in Notting Hill…yes, I had the whole Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts moment! Well, a short corny moment anyway. The store is tiny by South African standards…and the cupcakes delicious. I would be fibbing if I said I remembered how much the cupcakes cost, but a slice of cake is about 4 to 5 pounds….I was trying not to convert, it was way too depressing! I have been planning to write this blog for a while and thinking of a great cupcake recipe I can share with you….so here is my black forest cupcake recipe! There are a few steps to it but they are super delicious and worth the effort! A word on these…it’s my version – it is not authentic but being tired of commercial black forest cake with mass produced pie filling. This is a great way to use up strawberries that are over-ripe…remember the riper they are, the better the flavour. You can make up the jam or use a good quality store bought version to cut out a few steps.

The Hummingbird Bakery does not disappoint...Yudhika's visit to London

The Hummingbird Bakery does not disappoint…Yudhika’s visit to London

While I was in London, I was much like the hummingbird….hovering from one deliciously happy experience to the other…enjoying every moment…savouring every experience! Thanks to my lovelies that entertained me and spoilt me rotten! Before I launch into the recipe, I urge you to become the hummingbird…stay joyful, take all of life’s nectar with out hurting or destroying and most importantly to spend your time wisely with people that really matter! Wishing you all of life’s sweetness and joy!

Another London inspired cupcake by Yudhika

Another London inspired cupcake by Yudhika

Black Forest Style Cupcakes

Makes 16 – 18

Ingredients

100g soft butter
200g sugar
200g flour
50g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
15ml baking powder
2 eggs
7ml vanilla essence
250ml full cream milk, at room temperature

The strawberry and cherry filling.....in an AMC pan.

The strawberry and cherry filling…..in an AMC pan.

For the filling:

300g strawberries, hulled and quartered
200g sugar
Juice of 1 lime
5ml vanilla paste
1 cinnamon stick
1 x 400g tinned black cherries, drained and chopped

45ml kirsch

250ml double thick cream
125ml single cream
15ml sugar
Drop of vanilla essence

20g chocolate, grated
Maraschino cherries, to garnish

Here’s how:

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Line a cupcake pan with cases.
Place the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Process the ingredients on a low speed until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
Combine the eggs, vanilla essence and milk – beat lightly and gradually pour this into the mixer.
Beat until the mixture is smooth and lump free – do not over mix the batter.
Scoop the mixture into the paper cases.
Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the cakes are tested.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the filling….this can be prepared a few hours in advance.

Leave the sliced strawberries in the refrigerator to dry out.
Place the strawberries in an 28cm AMC Chef’s Pan and add the sugar.
Stir well to coat the strawberries in the sugar – the sugar crystals start to turn pink.
Gently heat the pan, stirring from time time while the sugar melts.
Once the sugar melts, add the vanilla, cinnamon stick and lime juice.
When the mixture starts to boil, skim the surface to remove the foam.
Simmer the strawberries until they break down and the mixture thickens.
Add the chopped cherries, water and kirsch.
Simmer again until the cherries break down and thicken the jam like filling.
Pour the filling into a sterilized glass jar and leave to cool – this can be kept in the refrigerator and also used as a topping for crumpets etc.

For the cream…
Place the double thick cream and single cream into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and vanilla essence and whip until soft peaks form. Leave in the refrigerator until needed.

To assemble…
Use a paring knife to hollow out about 2 teaspoons of each cupcake, taking care not to cut through them.
Fill each cupcake with the strawberry and cherry filling.
Top the cupcakes with a scoop of cream and grate over a little dark chocolate.
Decorate with a maraschino cherry and enjoy!

Bankers and Mash….choose your bankers and bangers wisely!

Yudhika's blinging up the bangers with this Meatball Macaroni

Yudhika’s blinging up the bangers with this Meatball Macaroni

There has been a lot on my mind recently. And for those of you that follow me on Facebook and Twitter, I am sure that you know that I have been asking Investec some questions. The purpose of my blog is to share not only recipes but information and experiences too. This is the common thread amongst all bloggers…we share! I have shared some of my most intimate memories on my blog…some of those memories have made me feel wretched and others have been ones that uplift the spirit. This is one that should raise a few questions around your financial security with banks.

The story with Investec began with me blocking a user’s access to my business account last year. Whether its a main account or an additional account – the user was blocked! I also moved some of my funds into an First National Bank account. P.S – I am loving FNB…banking with them has been an awesome experience! Somehow, and this part really boggles my brain, is the blocked user gained access to the Investec account and transacted through their call centre facility. Things get slightly more complicated when the blocked user is an employee at Investec and has been at the bank for decades, holding a senior position too. Surely after 30 years you are well versed in banking regulations? Is the senior management team of Investec miraculously not asking the same questions and opting to soft soap the person in question? An age before integrity stance, perhaps? Is this what is known as Banksterism?

For the record, it hasn’t actually created the business and personal hurdles intended but it has blown the lid on what seems more than just a random banking mistake! Questions around favors and privacy have been posed to the bank! The can of worms is open….and I intend on getting answers from Investec. The Ombudsman for Banking Service has also been hugely helpful in understanding procedure and the irregularities in this matter.

I would have thought that the bank would have called a meeting as a starting point to understand the issues with their employee and although there are many questions being raised, they still haven’t and prefer to claim to have exhausted all avenues in answering. My response to this was ‘the lack of a response has not gone unnoticed’. I did receive further communication with mentioned a mistake and an apology but I read through it and was left thoroughly confused. The next question posed was, ‘Exactly what are you apologizing for and what exactly is the mistake?’ There has been no response to my questions except a claim that my statements are factually incorrect and that Investec’s rights as a bank remain reserved if I make any factually inaccurate or defamatory statements. A veiled threat or is that just more generic letter writing? And why would they apologize if my statements were incorrect – surely, I should then be apologizing! Amazing how Investec never tells you what your rights are and that they also remain reserved at all times, of course! The bank now claim that they will not respond directly to me – and I should approach them through a mediator or the Ombudsman. Is it a stalling tactic and the bank assuming that I will be deterred by the admin intensive process? I have addressed this issue on social media and spoken to consumer journalists, – if it wasn’t for social media, there would actually be no response at all! Does this institution allow bankers to become banksters?

We all have bank accounts…here is some food for thought!

Do you actually think about the bank employees that access your personal account details and for what purpose? What stops somebody from asking a pal at the bank to check out his competitors account…if you find out where the payments come from, surely you find out who the clients are? How should a client feel about not being allowed access to what they call employee records? If an employee record logs queries on your account, surely the bank and the client should have access? Is this to cover up employees that actually have nothing better to do that play banking Peek-A-Boo?

Do you hold an account where your spouse is employed and have you considered what would happen if the relationship turned sour? Maybe you should consider what happens to your business and how this would affect your personal circumstances?

What regulations are in place to prevent cronyism? The ‘do me a favour and check on this account’ phenomenon? Should an employee use privileges at the bank to wage their personal wars especially in a divorce?

How do you feel about being tracked via credit card transactions? I may be completely wrong but is the moral of the story that you are not safe at a bank that employs your spouse or is it just that you’re not safe at Investec?

I requested information from Investec – a report on who accessed the account and would like to compare it to the dates of legitimate queries I have made. I want to know how many additional queries were made and if cronyism comes into play. They have refused to supply this information which in my book says plenty. Investec are aware that the reason these questions are raised is to find out if there has been an abuse of power but also, ‘What’s with the fiddling?’. If there wasn’t an issue, I wouldn’t be asking. Or am I not allowed to ask? Does Investec question the mental state of the employee and the desperate bid to fraudulently transact? And how could this employee be adding any value when they have clearly embarrassed himself and the bank by obviously focusing on his personal agenda and not his work? A case of setting the cat amongst the pigeons?

If you are an Investec ‘citizen’ as they call it and happen to be reading this, I hope that you have not indulged a staff member access and information to something he was blocked from in the first place. This applies to anyone who has worked at a bank really and after a few discussions with senior staff at other banks, one thing is really clear – insider information and meddling is a dismissible offense and so is taking a chance and transacting after an employee has been blocked from an account. It does not only bring the ‘blocked user or Investec employee’ into question, it questions the integrity of the entire Investec team and makes them accomplices too. My queries to the call centre have been discussed with the blocked user – what does ‘blocked user’ mean at a bank or is it not possible for an employee to be blocked? Shouldn’t this be made clear if it was not possible?

Who actually cares about the bank’s status or positioning and what is exclusivity without integrity to back it up? When I made queries about opening another bank account with Investec, I was given the whole nine yards with their rules, requirements and for not much in return! It got me thinking where are the rules when the back of house staff break the rules! Another instance where the rules are for the clients and but what about the citizens of Investec? Let’s get one thing straight, a bank is not doing you a favor by opening your account! And to treat a client like they are privileged is foolish and arrogant. Based on my account and previous history with FNB, I actually got a whole lot more than I was looking for! Shop around – and find a bank that will work with you and not against you! We all have our experiences…good and bad…but if you have a bad one, just move on to find the one that’s right for you! I certainly have and enjoying my banking pleasures at First National Bank.

If you are in the banking world, I would love to hear from you….and for those of you who have had similar experiences, please feel free to share them in the comments section!

I looked at a pack of bangers and it made me think of dodgy bankers…plump and arrogant…It’s no secret and not my original thought that bankers don’t have great reputations but they have much in common with a banger, chose the wrong banger and its also a whole lot of bad ingredients minced together and disguised as a tempting treat. I won’t prepare them in the same old way, grilled with a heap of buttery mashed potato. Not in the mood to flatter a banger, I chose to grab the bangers and squeeze out the sausage meat and turn them into something extraordinarily delicious…sometimes you need to squeeze the bankers, but let’s get on with a recipe that squeezes the bangers! The banger squeezing was most therapeutic!

Meatballs can be quite tasteless not unlike a bad banking experience. A combination of sausage meat and beef mince works really well and I have used some chilli flakes to spice things up. Fresh herbs also add lots of flavour and aroma to these meatballs. If you want the short version…just cook up the meatballs and serve with spaghetti! My kids love meatballs and my son, Rushil, said he could pretty much handle the meatball making on his own! Rushil has obviously been paying too much attention during my tv shoots – love the way he talks about wine and AMC Cookware! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq9YRwG8Qd8&list=UU-twiG9NWyVR9OH9F7gSbMg

Good enough to eat with spaghetti and cooked in the best AMC Cookware!

Good enough to eat with spaghetti and cooked in the best AMC Cookware!

Meatball Macaroni with Squeezed Bangers

Ingredients

700g beef mince
700g bangers, I used deli bangers from Broadacres Superspar
1 onion, chopped
Sunflower oil to fry onion
1 egg yolk
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Handful chopped coriander
Handful chopped parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
10ml chilli flakes, optional
Salt and black pepper to season
250ml red wine

For the meatball sauce:
50ml sunflower oil or cooking olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse
3 x 400g tins chopped Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to season

For the sauce:
75g butter
75g flour
900ml milk
150g cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to season

500g macaroni, cooked as per packaging directions

Here’s how:

Heat a little sunflower oil in an AMC 28cm Chef’s Pan. Saute the chopped onion until translucent. Remove the onion from the pan and place it into a mixing bowl.
Place the beef mince into the mixing bowl with the onions. Squeeze the sausage meat out and discard the skins. Add this to the beef mince and then add the garlic, chopped herbs and thyme leaves, egg yolk and chilli flakes. Lightly season with salt and add black pepper.
Mix the ingredients together and then mould into meatballs.
Reheat the 28cm AMC Chef’s Pan and add a little oil.
Fry the meatballs in two batches until they are browned.
Remove from the pan and then pour in the red wine to deglaze. Stir the wine around and scrape the base of the pan.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the red wine is reduced by half.

In an AMC Paella pan, heat the sunflower oil and add the bay leaf.
Add the chopped onion, salt and saute until light golden brown.
Stir the chopped tomatoes into the sauce and add the reduce red wine.
Simmer until the tomatoes dissolve, using the back of a wooden spoon to break down the lumps.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the meatballs and reduce the heat.
Simmer until the sauce thickens.

Prepare the sauce:

Heat the butter in a 24cm AMC pot.
Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
Cook the flour for 2 minutes and keep stirring with a wooden spoon.
Gradually pour in the milk and keep whisking to prevent lumps from forming.
Once the all the milk has been added, continue whisking with the meat on medium.
Add half the cheese and reserve the rest for the topping.
Once the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat.

To assemble,

Place the cooked macaroni in a casserole dish.
Top with the meatballs and sauce and ensure the meatballs are evenly placed.
Pour the cheesy sauce over the meatballs.
Top with the reserved grated cheese – you can add more cheese if you like.

Bake in a hot oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown – the sauce should bubble around the edges of the casserole dish.

Keep your eye on the doughnut….

Yudhika Sujanani's Cinnamon Doughnuts with AMC Cookware

Yudhika Sujanani’s Cinnamon Doughnuts with AMC Cookware

I love spending time with the kids and we always end up in the kitchen whipping up a batch of something special. The Easter weekend was no different and over the last few days, it’s been choc pudding, snowballs and doughnuts too! While making these doughnuts, I remembered the old saying….Keep your eye on the doughnut and not upon the hole! It just makes sense, doesn’t it? We just can’t stop fixating on the hole to see the luscious doughnut sometimes! It reminded me that through all the admin around the ‘hole’ in my life, there is still a doughnut!

The other saying that also came to mind was…The optimist sees the doughnut, the pessimist the hole! How often in life we spend our time with people who only see that hole and don’t have a word of encouragement to share? I am guilty of just that, and recognizing now that some of the best years of my life were spent with an aging playboy who was definitely the hole in my world! When you are compared to past lovers, accused of not bringing home enough bacon and never good enough for anything…when you are ridiculed and humiliated amongst friends and family, life begins to feel like the hole in the doughnut! Feeling unloved and tormented, the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can dominate your existence. These negative experiences can turn any relationship into a black hole!

A hole can abuse the human spirit. Holes sometimes carelessly define themselves by what they did twenty years ago….the wild parties, the corporate one night stands and how stupid their spouse was to not catch them cheating or maybe it was put in a slightly different way…I was so smart that I never got caught! I cannot understand how ego replaces good judgement and leads to emotional casualties. While most choose to add meaning to their lives by building careers and family relationships, a hole chooses to revel in frivolity. Casual flings, corporate incest…this is what I describe as those people that often become the ‘office bicycle’, and heavy boozing….it’s a tale not meant for the faint hearted but of a hole. The moral is a hole never grows up!

Some people thank me for the honesty and for sharing my thoughts, other so called public figures (not friends I might add, just opinionated fools) say that thoughts on politics, people and relationships should be zipped but in my opinion that is what only a coward would do! We all have our story and I share snippets of mine with you, hoping that it takes you out of your comfort zone, making you ask different questions. I have had to say my goodbyes, turning my back on things that were clearly toxic and damaging. The war still rages and unnecessarily so.

Just Doughnuts by Yudhika Sujanani

Just Doughnuts by Yudhika Sujanani

Such intense thoughts while making up a batch of doughnuts…I always say that cooking and baking is therapeutic and while you bang out a batch of these…keep your eye on the doughnut but find the hole that troubles your soul and keeps you up at night! Once you identify the hole, life starts to change and it can only be positive!

My last thought is that life is much like a doughnut, it can be plain and simple…just dusted with sugar, embellished with decadent toppings or filled with lashings of cream…the basic dough recipe however, remains the same! You can choose the toppings and sides like you did at ‘Just Doughnuts’ back in the old days. If your timing is off and you procrastinate, the doughnut turns stale! Seize the moment and enjoy. Celebrate the doughnut and mourn not a hole!

Cinnamon Doughnuts by Yudhika Sujanani

Cinnamon Doughnuts by Yudhika Sujanani

Cinnamon Doughnuts

Ingredients

500g cake flour
50g castor sugar
15ml dried yeast
5ml salt
300ml warm milk
3 egg yolks
100g butter, melted
Sunflower oil, to deep fry

200ml sugar
10ml ground cinnamon

Here’s how

Place the cake flour, castor sugar, dried yeast and salt into a mixing bowl.
Using a KitchenAid with a dough attachment, mix the dry ingredients on a low speed to evenly distribute the yeast.
Add the warm milk and eggs yolks.
Once the dough starts to come together, pour in the melted butter and continue mixing for 5 minutes.
If you are kneading the dough by hand, this should take about ten minutes.
Grease the mixing bowl with non stick spray.
Place the dough into a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Leave aside to rest and prove for 90 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and deflate, kneading the dough for 2 – 3 minutes.
Work the dough into a smooth ball and roll out until it is 1,5cm thick.
Use a round cutter and cut out the doughnuts and a smaller cutter for the hole in the centre. Use as little flour as possible or only if necessary when doing this to prevent the dough from becoming dry.
Place the doughnuts on a greased baking tray and cover with plastic wrapped that has also been greased with non-stick spray.
Gather the dough offcuts and once again roll into a smooth ball and repeat the process.
Leave the doughnuts to rise for 15 minutes.
Combine the cinnamon and the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir well.
Heat the sunflower oil on medium in an AMC Paella Pan – this pan has a smaller base and is wider at the top so it uses less oil than a normal pot.
Once the oil is hot, test using a tiny piece of dough – the dough should hit the oil, bubble and come up to the surface.

Frying the doughnuts in an AMC paella Frying the doughnuts in an AMC paella[/caption

Fry the doughnuts in batches until golden brown.
Remove them from the oil and dab slightly.
Toss the doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar and serve.