Month: July 2015

Spicing it up on Sugar & Spice…Saffron Apple Cake

Yudhika Sujanani's Portuguese episode on Sugar & Spice - DSTv 176

Yudhika Sujanani’s Portuguese episode on Sugar & Spice – DSTv 176

We are on the 5th episode of Sugar & Spice on DSTv’s Home Channel. I have been completely overwhelmed by the response and the emails and messages have been heart warming. Thanks to all of you for following the show and including some of my recipes in your cooking repertoire.

I do cook a fair bit of Indian dishes everyday, whether at Holi Cow or for my family…we love traditional Indian food but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the only cuisine that I prepare. Italian, Middle Eastern and Moroccan recipes are some of my favourites but also Portuguese cuisine! Portuguese food and I don’t mean the Nando’s type peri peri chicken, is popular and the Lusitoland festival shows just how popular it is.

On this season of Sugar & Spice, I have been stepping out of my curry zone and doing some of my other favourites with you…I challenged myself only allowing two Indian themed episodes. The team decided on Italian, Moroccan, Chocolate, Mediterranean, South East Asian and a whole episode dedicated to the love of chocolate!

This week features a Portuguese influenced Brazilian Pork and Bean stew with orange and cocoa….yes, it does sound a bit like a dessert and not a common combination for the South African palate but believe me, it does work like a charm. The Mozambican Style Prawns cooked in a buttery juice with onions, garlic and stock….and a Saffron Apple Cake with home-made custard!

We have the Portuguese to thank for making spices a part of global cuisine….and we also have them to thank for the Goan Indian Vindaloo….more about the Lamb Vindaloo later!

No matter what the theme is, the Home Channel together with Spar and AMC Cookware have given me an opportunity to share my love of all things spicy with you….it has been an amazing adventure so far and looking forward to the next season!

Yudhika's Saffron Apple Cake on The Home Channel

Yudhika’s Saffron Apple Cake on The Home Channel

Here is the recipe for the Saffron Apple Cake…this is a beautiful fruity cake and the appearance makes it impressive. You can use mixed spice, cloves, and cardamom to flavour the batter but I stuck to the classic cinnamon. For more recipes from Sugar & Spice, log onto http://www.thehomechannel.co.za and click on the food show tab.

Ready to serve...Yudhika's Saffron Apple Cake drizzled with home-made custard!

Ready to serve…Yudhika’s Saffron Apple Cake drizzled with home-made custard!

Saffron Apple Cake

Ingredients

Few strands of saffron
6 large Granny Smith Apples
15ml lemon juice
5 eggs, separated
225g butter
225g sugar
30ml ground almonds or coconut flour
370g cake flour
185ml full cream milk, room temperature
15ml baking powder
5ml vanilla paste or essence
5ml cinnamon
Pinch of salt

30ml sugar
Icing sugar, to dust cake

Pre-heat oven to 170 degree celsius.
Grease and line a 10 inch loose bottomed cake tin.

Heat the saffron strands in a dry pan for 30 seconds or microwave for 10 seconds.
Leave the saffron to cool and then crush lightly with your fingertips.
Peel and core the apples.
Cut the apples in half and slice thinly.
Lightly toss in the lemon juice to prevent the apples from discolouration.

Beat the egg whites until foamy and gradually add 15ml of from the 225g of weighed sugar until stiff.

Cream the butter until light in colour and gradually add the sugar.
Continue beating until light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolks with a teaspoon of flour and beat for a few seconds
Add the almond or coconut flour.
Gradually add the flour alternating with milk.
Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, crushed saffron and salt.
Beat well until the batter is smooth.
Lastly fold in half the stiffly beaten egg whites to ‘loosen’ the batter.
Fold in the remaining egg whites.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth with a spatula.
Arrange the apples starting out at the centre and angling each piece working in an outward concentric pattern so its starts to look like a flower.
Use the smaller pieces to fill in the gaps – do not press the apple slices deep into the pastry. The should have a raised appearance.
Sprinkle 30ml sugar over the apples and bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and shrinks away from the side of the tin.
Leave to cool slightly and dust with icing sugar.

Serve with home made custard.

French Style Custard

250ml fresh cream
5ml vanilla paste
2 egg yolks
70ml sugar

Heat the cream with vanilla paste, stirring continuously to prevent it from scorching.
Once the cream comes to the boil, place the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Mix the egg yolks and sugar into a paste and pour the hot cream over – this is an important step, do not add the eggs into the hot cream as this will cause the eggs to scramble.
Whisk the mixture and pour back into the pot.
Place the pot back on low heat and whisk continuously until the custard thickens.
Remove from the heat.
Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.
Serve drizzled over the sliced saffron apple cake.

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My first article for UN Empower Women….

Firing up entrepreneurial spirit....

Firing up entrepreneurial spirit….

I wrote my first article for the United Nations Empower Women organisation. Life takes us on some extraordinary journeys and I was on one of my adventures when I met Anna Falth from the New York office. I am still pinching myself to be given the chance and amazing opportunities to contribute and share my journey, which hopefully can inspire, encourage and motivate.

Here is the link to my first piece, my contribution, my story…hope you enjoy the read.  www.empowerwomen.org/en/blog/2015/07/02/17/53/entrepreneurs-the-centurys-superheroes

Feast, Pray, Love…#1 Persian Pleasures in Kensington

Yudhika's Feast Pray Love in Kensington at Zaman on High Street, Kensington

Yudhika’s Feast Pray Love in Kensington at Zaman on High Street, Kensington

Feast, Pray, Love are three words that best describe what my life is all about…I celebrate through feasting and when I pray, it isn’t with a long list of things I need or want, it’s to be thankful…taking time to count every one of my blessings which makes me love life more everyday. Love…the most beautiful gift of all, what would life be without those we love and treasure!

Whether I am working, doing a show, or just being with my family…I feast, I pray and I love fiercely! The idea of putting together the ‘FPL’ section to my blog has been on my mind for ages, like coffee…my ideas keep percolating! Through my journey, highs and lows….I am learning to be kind to myself and forgiving too.

I love to travel, see new places and experience different cultures…on the 15th May this year, just a stroke past midnight, I was tapped lightly on my shoulder by an air hostess on SAA, waking me up to my birthday and a bottle of Taittinger Rose…it was a toast to new beginnings and what better way to kick off a new year with an adventure in London…with an exciting new project on the cards, the city was my oyster. I threw back my champagne and fell into the most delicious sleep.

The Iranian/Persian influenced stores on Kensington's High Street with Yudhika Sujanani

The Iranian/Persian influenced stores on Kensington’s High Street with Yudhika Sujanani

I had a bit of free time and took a walk down Kensington’s High Street which led me to a little pocket of Iranian supermarkets, green grocers and restaurants. I love Iranian food and Jozi seems to have lost Apadana, the only place I knew that made a good Fesenjun…which is chicken cooked in pomegranate molasses and walnuts. There is also an Apadana restaurant in Kensington. I popped into Zaman, the Iranian Supermarket…the store is crammed with everything from fresh and dried fruit, Persian sweets like cashew nut baklava, macaroons and something that looks like Indian jalebi to Iranian caviar…and spices. The Iranian community are pedantic about the quality of dried fruit, nuts and the saffron is fabulous.

Pomegranates...a persian must have ingredient

Pomegranates…a persian must have ingredient

Brightly coloured, juicy pomegranate rubies...the perfect walkabout snack on High Street #yudhikayumyum

Brightly coloured, juicy pomegranate rubies…the perfect walkabout snack on High Street #yudhikayumyum

Persian peaches....at Zaman on High Street, Kensington

Persian peaches….at Zaman on High Street, Kensington

Iranian Caviar...sights and sounds on High Street, Kensington with Yudhika Sujanani

Iranian Caviar…sights and sounds on High Street, Kensington with Yudhika Sujanani

The Iranian stores seem to be more like old-fashioned family run businesses. The fresh fruit display outside the store is inviting, colourful and very old school….bright pomegranate rubies are sold in little cups which make the perfect walkabout snack. There are also persian peaches, glossy deep coloured cherries, fresh herbs and veggies. For a Persian experience outside Iran, I recommend taking a stroll through this part of Kensington, it’s not only a feast for food explorers but for the eyes too!

The end of a High Street adventure...Yudhika Sujanani - May 2015

The end of a High Street adventure…Yudhika Sujanani – May 2015

I have been working on recipes for the Post Newspaper’s with Ramadan in mind and it’s the perfect opportunity to splash out with my saffron…here is my version of a Persian dish called Koresht-e-Mast which is chicken cooked with yoghurt and saffron. How can I best describe this dish…it’s almost a curry and also described as a Persian stew…a stew??? This is way too exotic and fragrant to be compared to stew…cumin, coriander, red chilli, teamed with fresh orange juice and finished with yoghurt. The dish is lightly spiced, aromatic and creamy. I used the Spar branded double thick yoghurt for this recipe as I find this one doesn’t split or curdle.

Yudhika's version of Persian style Koresht-e-Mast

Yudhika’s version of Persian style Koresht-e-Mast

Persian style Chicken – Koresht-e Mast

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

2,5ml saffron strands
50ml boiled water
1,6kg chicken thighs and drumsticks
45ml sunflower oil
1 bay leaf
2 onions, finely sliced
2,5ml salt
3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
10ml crushed ginger
10ml crushed garlic
10ml red chilli powder
10ml ground cumin
10ml ground coriander
2,5ml ground cardamom
500ml boiled water
2 stock cubes
Juice of 1 orange
6 sprigs fresh thyme
200ml Spar Double Thick Greek yoghurt
1 egg
30ml cold water
20ml Magic Masala, if you have…this is from my Curry Me Home range of spice

Sunflower oil, to brown chicken
Black pepper, to season
Fresh thyme to garnish

Here’s how:

Heat the saffron strands in a dry pan or microwave for a few seconds.
Crush the saffron using your fingertips and place in a little bowl.
Pour the boiled water over the saffron and leave aside to infuse.
Heat the sunflower oil in a 30cm AMC Gourmet Roaster.
Add the bay leaf and fry until fragrant.
Add the sliced onions with the salt and saute until pale golden in colour.
Stir the celery sticks into the fried onion and saute until they soften.
Add the crushed ginger and garlic.
Place the chicken into the fried onion and stir well to coat.
Sprinkle the red chilli, ground cumin, coriander and cardamom over the chicken pieces.
Stir well to coat, pour in the boiled water and crumble the stock cubes into the pot.
Pour in the orange juice, add the fresh sprigs of thyme and saffron liquid.
Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is tender.
Remove the chicken from the pan.
Heat an AMC 28cm Chef’s Pan and grease with non stick spray.
Place the cooked chicken in the pan with the skin side down, turning them often to ensure they brown evenly.
Remove from the pan once they are golden brown.

Whisk the yoghurt with egg and water.
Important step: Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the yoghurt mixture while whisking the sauce continuously – this prevents the sauce from splitting.
Add the Magic Masala – if you have some!
Simmer on low until the sauce thickens and then return the brown chicken to the pot.
Once the chicken heats through, season with black pepper and garnish with fresh thyme.
Serve with steamed basmati or pilau rice.

Sugar, spice and all things nice….Date Chocolate and Pecan Pie

Sugar & Spice with Yudhika Sujanani on DSTV's Home Channel 176

Sugar & Spice with Yudhika Sujanani on DSTV’s Home Channel 176

It’s been an eventful week with the first episode of a whole new season of Sugar ‘n Spice airing on The Home Channel. It’s pretty special because up until now, I have been doing short food inserts on Saffron TV, Great Expectations on Etv and appearing on SABC 2’s MELA! When the Home Channel approached me earlier this year, I was gobsmacked at their offer and thrilled to have my first very own show!

Taking it up a few notches from a food insert, it’s taken us 4 months to complete the series and it’s been a roller coaster ride with my family, team and the crew! I have once again been incredibly lucky to work with such amazing people from the Channel….big thanks to Michael Porter and Simphiwe Gamede, the crew…Africa Vezi and Sipho, who tolerated many crazy out take moments, takes and re-takes, and the awesome team at Holi Cow….for the early mornings, long nights, and my long prep sheets! And then, there are those special people who always find a moment in their day to send me a beautiful message of love and encouragement…thanks to my the people out there on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the food love and sharing my posts and links…thanks and thanks again! And my family, who I am most thankful for….what you see on telly isn’t just me, you see the team effort with me being the ‘front lady’ and that also includes the crazy make up artist/stylist…Stavroula Georgakis! Spar has once again sponsored our ingredients and AMC Cookware just keep me cooking in their fabulous pots! I just realized how big this team really is…it’s huge!

Episode one...Pecan pie with dates and chocolate by Yudhika Sujanani

Episode one…Pecan pie with dates and chocolate by Yudhika Sujanani

In the first episode, we spiced up old favourites…leftover butternut was recycled into a delicious salad with hazelnut dukkah and prawns, a french chicken casserole got a spicy makeover with saffron, chilli, cumin and coriander…and the classic pecan pie was turned into a chocolately one with dates too!

For more information and recipes from the show, check out The Home Channel’s website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter, http://www.thehomechannel.co.za/shows/food/sugar-and-spice

Yudhika's Sugar & Spice...check out the show times on DSTV's Channel 176

Yudhika’s Sugar & Spice…check out the show times on DSTV’s Channel 176

I first made this recipe for Eid last year. It’s fruity, crunchy, buttery and purely decadent! Here is the recipe for pecan pie with dates and dark chocolate.

A slice of gooey pecan nut pie with dates and chocolate...by Yudhika Sujanani for Sugar & Spice

A slice of gooey pecan nut pie with dates and chocolate…by Yudhika Sujanani for Sugar & Spice

Chocolate Date and Pecan Pie

Pastry:

120g butter
200g cake flour
65g sugar
1 egg

Rub the flour and butter together until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the sugar and mix. Lightly beat the egg and knead gently into a soft dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Roll the pastry on a lightly dusted work surface until it is about 5mm thick and is large enough to line the bottom and sides of a 23cm loose bottomed pie tin.
Line the tin with the pastry and press down into the base and about 3,5cm up the sides.
Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Place a piece of baking paper over the paper, cover with dried beans and bake blind for 10 minutes.
Remove the beans and the paper and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Leave the pasty case to cool completely.

For the filling:

125g butter
175g brown sugar
75ml golden syrup
3 large eggs
1 cinnamon stick
200g pecan nuts
90g chopped dark chocolate, chopped
75g chopped dates, chopped

Whipped cream, to serve

Place the butter in a 28cm AMC Chef’s Pan, and melt on low heat.
Add the brown sugar and golden syrup.
Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Leave the mixture to cool till slightly warm.
Remove the cinnamon stick.
Lightly whisk the eggs, then add the melted ingredients.
Scatter the pecan nuts, chocolate and dates over the bake pie crust, then pour over the egg mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes at 150 degrees celsius, then reduce to 140 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.
Leave the pie to stand for a minute and then remove from the tin.
Serve slices of the pie warm with whipped cream.