My Spar

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.

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To knead or not to need?

Need this??? Yudhika's delicous Naan Bread!

Need this??? Yudhika’s delicous Naan Bread!

Knead reminds me of ‘need’ and being caught in the negative ‘need’ cycle. Wherever we are in life, no matter what we accomplish, we are bombarded by society that ‘needs this’ or ‘needs that’. We are also bombarded by clever marketing convincing us that our wants are needs, and this creates much confusion. Telling the two apart is sometimes impossible.

I can’t speak for others but I have always needed to prove that I could and would rise above adversity. In my mind I made up a black list, remembering every nasty comment and dig…thinking, ‘ONE DAY, ONE DAY…! As the years passed, the list grew longer…and I know that this is an unique situation. Most of us have been in this place at some point in our lives. And my ‘ONE DAY’ has come and gone several times…but there is always a new villain on the list or am I that villain that keeps pushing myself harder?

The negative side was the need to prove myself led to me being a workaholic and becoming a bit of a magpie, collecting trinkets and material possessions along my journey. The positive side, I turned my frustration into something constructive, working toward a career that has given me enormous joy and fulfillment. I had the fancy homes and the bad marriages that came with it, unbreakable credit cards, a wardrobe to die for and the shoes….let’s not go there!

I have worked through a particularly difficult phase in my life, thinking I was going mad at times, doubting my own intuition and recovering from years of feeling like I still needed to try harder to prove myself. Sometimes it was about feeding my ego. I couldn’t let the past go or the constant nagging that came from a partner who clearly had his own axe to grind…for my own selfish reasons but also because I was put under pressure by being told that I wasn’t good enough…make more money, be thinner, eat less, try harder, be more funny, perform and complaints that I wasn’t subservient like Indian women were supposed to be. When did I stop being a woman and at what point did I become the circus horse??

Stupidly believing that I was being ‘encouraged’ for my ‘own good’ only to realize that the more I performed, I become easier to validate as my partner’s choice. Who knows what his issues were? But he pushed me hard into being a trophy to save himself from looking the fool. The worst is that this sort of treatment comes from the people closest to us which makes it even harder to deal with and it leads to un-natural desires and needs, creating stress and frustration. This is not a whine session, but thoughts shared which create awareness and different thought processes. I was a victim once, but that was a long time ago…I am not feeling sorry for myself, or an emotional refugee either…I am a just a person who was lucky enough to work it out.

I have reached a beautiful place in my life and here are my thoughts…after having experienced soul-destroying unhappiness, nothing material can ever be more valuable than feeling a true sense of joy. I have reached a beautiful place that is free from want….I am free from chasing unrealistic goals, pressure and ego. Materially, I want for nothing…not the latest car upgrade or fancy house, shopping sprees and five-star meals! This doesn’t mean that I have lost my drive and positivity…I love my work, family and have a life that is brimming with the most amazing opportunities. I have everything that is important and the rest will sort itself out. I have probably never felt better, more relaxed or happier.

I confused my needs with my wants, venturing down a damaging path to prove to others that I was worthy and capable. I had proven myself worthy repeatedly without realizing it. Take a look at life and ask yourself who you are doing it for…do it for the right reasons. Work hard, play hard, feast and be merry…live, love and rejoice! The lesson is to learn to draw a line between when adversity becomes a positive driver and when it becomes an obsession.

To the people who have been nasty, I can’t thank you enough for the role you played in me being who I am today. What was said and done to break my spirit became that which makes me unbreakable. The process did not come without hitches. I worked through them, and have come through it bigger (and curvier), better and stronger. I am thankful for the adversity that has built character and resilience, and it plays a lead role in my script.

 

Going nuts….Coconut Tart meets Malva Pudding!

Going nuts....coconut tart meets Malva Pudding....by Yudhika Sujanani

Going nuts….coconut tart meets Malva Pudding….by Yudhika Sujanani

I have been going nuts over Malva pudding…it’s never happened to me before but lately it’s been malva this and malva that! And lashings of home-made, old-fashioned creme anglaise too! It is too hard to resist and one of the few things to look forward to when the Jozi chill sets in.

I hosted a dinner party a few weeks ago and then made a classic Malva pudding, a few days later on the Italian inspired episode of Sugar ‘n Spice, I threw in a few generous glugs of Frangelico while making a chocolate version. Sugar ‘n Spice goes live on The Home Channel in just a few days….We kick off on Monday at 2pm on DSTv’s Channel 176…so set the PVR and be sure to catch the first episode!

I was working on Ramadan sweet treats and in a complete moment of madness it was a ‘coconutty’ Malva sauce over a classic Greek tart! It is just pure decadence and dead easy to make. It can be served warm, room temperature or zapped in the microwave for a few seconds. It may be served with ice cream or custard but I had two diamonds and retreated to bed for the rest of the arvie, declaring I was in a food coma! It wasn’t just the tart, you see…it was also the other tastings that were going on this past Sunday…Persian Style Koresht with Chicken, Saffron Kebabs and and and….you can find these recipes in the Post Newspaper which is out today!

This recipe will have coconut lovers in heaven…the coconut milk in the malva sauce leaves the tart super moist and utterly decadent! I kept the batter quite simple, opting let the tart ooze with coconutty aromas but you can spice it up with lemon zest, cinnamon or ground cardamom. I used Mae Ploy Coconut milk for this recipe but you may also use a good substitute like Spar Branded Coconut Cream…it has a yellow label and costs around R24. If you love the recipes, please leave a comment and do click ‘follow’ to ensure the latest recipes are sent through to you via email…it’s lovely to hear from you, your food stories and hints and tips…it also keeps me in the writing in the right direction!

A few slices of coconut malva tart down...a few more to go!

A few slices of coconut malva tart down…a few more to go!

Greek Inspired Coconut Malva Tart

Ingredients

185g soft butter
250ml sugar
5ml vanilla essence
3 large eggs
250ml cake flour
15ml baking powder
500ml desiccated coconut
250 full cream milk, room temperature
Optional flavours: Lemon zest, 5ml cinnamon or 5ml ground cardamom can be added to the batter.

Coconut Sauce
250ml sugar
250ml water
250ml coconut milk
2,5ml vanilla essence
60g butter
Pistachio nuts, to garnish

Here’s how:
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Grease and line a 10 inch loose bottom pie tin with butter.
Using a hand held electric or free standing mixer, cream the butter until light and gradually add in the sugar.
Add the vanilla essence and continue beating until the creamed mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl regularly.
When the sugar granules should dissolve slightly, add the eggs one at a time with a teaspoon of cake flour. Beat well after each egg.
Sift the flour and baking powder and stir in the coconut.
Add the dry ingredients and milk to the creamed butter, alternating to prevent the mixture from becoming to thick.
Scoop the batter into a prepared tin and bake for 55 – 60 minutes.
The tart should be deep golden in colour and a skewer should come out clean when tested. Leave the tart in the tin to cool slightly and slice into diamonds.

Prepare the sauce: Dissolve the water and sugar in an AMC pan. Add the coconut milk, vanilla essence and butter. Bring to the boil until a thin syrup forms and lightly coats the back of a spoon. Pour the hot sauce over the warm tart while it is still in the tin.

Leave to soak and place a pistachio in the centre of each diamond.

Sorry is…such a sorry word!

Yudhika's Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

Yudhika’s Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

Is it just me or does the word sorry irritate anyone else? My thoughts and feelings percolate over time. This is not something new or a revelation of sorts and no, I haven’t had my heart-broken over the weekend…the word just irritates me! I can’t remember when it first struck me. Perhaps it was when my kids were little and bashing each other in a fight over a toy but I can still remember my son, Rushil, saying, ‘Sorry doesn’t even help!’ Over the past few years and somewhere in the midst of my latest ugly divorce, the dreadful word ‘sorry’ has been thrown carelessly into life changing conversations. Sometimes ‘Sorry’ comes only after years of someone forcing you to accept that an apology wasn’t necessary and by then, it is too late.

Sorry isn’t enough…the word has made the world a worse place to live in. People have become careless with those most dear to them. People take chances knowing that when the cracks appear all they need to do is say sorry. Think back to being a child at school and playing with your friends…if you hurt or wronged anyone on the playground, we apologized by saying, ‘Sorry’…how many times did you say it without real emotion, regret and remorse? It has always been a mindless almost insincere response.

Human beings are flawed….we all are and mistakes are a part of life and us growing emotionally. In this modern tech savvy world we live in, is it not possible that we have become emotionally unintelligent? Whether you are ill, being cheated on, just lost your job or experienced some sort of tragedy…it’s met with the same generic response, ‘I am sorry!’ How can such a small word possibly become the ‘one size fits all’ plaster for life’s wounds, whatever they might be? I was in a relationship once and my partner dated his ex girlfriend…he said, ‘It was no big deal’. If it was no big deal, why was it not mentioned when I made him dinner the next evening or when he chatted to me for hours the next day? Why did he actually do it? He took the chance and me for granted is the short answer thinking that all he had to do is say, ‘Sorry’ and that would come only if I found out, of course! Well, he didn’t anticipate that it would not be enough to fill in the cracks it left in the relationship….and the one thing about cracks is that they often expand and distort our feelings. My question is was he really sorry or sorry that I found out?

Is this me moaning about my relationship experiences….absolutely not! I have been lied to, cheated on and emotionally distraught at different stages of my life. It is wretched and the most important thing I have to share is that at no point was ‘sorry’ ever enough to take the pain away. When I have been left feeling wretched, I often heard the same thing which is, ‘Well, I said I was sorry…Didn’t I…What more do you want?’ and it simply wasn’t enough. I have been soul searching, wondering what was wrong with me and why an apology wasn’t the plaster I thought it would be. I realize that these apologies lack sincerity. Why isn’t it good enough? What do we want? More than words….once the trust is broken, it’s a long hard road back. Maybe it is a women thing…I wanted to know why and deal with the underlying issues and was met by the, ‘Sorry, can we sweep this under the rug now?’

Over the last while, I have had my share of generic sorries…but it’s taught me a lesson too. I would like to share my advice, if I may that is…I have been thinking, agonizing over the apologies I have not accepted and going forward ask you to live your life after erasing the word ‘Sorry’ from your vocabulary. Imagine making decisions and considering the people around you knowing that if you messed up, sorry would not be an option. I know that this would not erase any chance of making mistakes but we have become careless….maybe it would get us to think for a moment about everything that is precious and taken for granted.

When we are wrong, we have to work harder than just an apology…we have to work harder than ‘Sorry’ to find a remedy, support the person we are apologizing to and put the ‘no big deal’ mentality aside! ‘Sorry’ is not an apology…it’s a word and it has no magical powers!

Sorry is a sorry word….it is one of the most useless words in the dictionary. I have yet to write a blog about my carelessness and the things that I have been sorry about and apologies I’ve made….coming soon!

It’s been cold over the past few days and all I want to do is tuck into some comfort food. It could be the weather but my guess is that my thoughts have also been keeping me busy and craving the comfort of Wintery bakes…I am endlessly entertained in my own company…with some comfort food of course! Here is a recipe for a deliciously spicy lamb rosti bake! I love a traditional Cottage Pie but with the weather playing up, I spiced this recipe up along the lines of Keema Masala or Curried Mince. It is delicious, quick to prepare and comforting! I used the spices from my Curry Me Home range and at first glance it looks like there is lots of red chilli…keep in mind that lamb and beef ‘hold’ a lot more chilli and it is the base spice of the dish. Mince tends to often be flavorless and bland so you have to spice it up a fair bit!

Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

750g lamb mince
50ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
30ml ginger and garlic, crushed
30 – 45ml red chilli powder
10ml ground coriander
5ml garam masala
2ml turmeric
200g chopped tomatoes

700g potatoes, boiled in skins – I used Up To Date variety
Salt, to season potatoes
100g butter

Here’s how:

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Paella Pan.
Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf until fragrant, add the cumin seeds.
When the seeds start to splutter, add the onion and salt.
Salute the onion until light golden.
Add the crushed ginger and garlic and fry for a few seconds.
Add the red chilli powder and warm through for 3 – 5 seconds.
Stir the lamb mince into the red chilli and fry until it changes colour.
Add the ground coriander, garam masala and turmeric.
Stir for a few minutes and add the tomatoes.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften.
Place the lamb mince into a casserole dish.
Peel the potatoes and grate them over the mince.
Season with salt and black pepper.
Melt the butter and pour it over the potatoes.
Bake the lamb in the oven at 180 degrees celsius until the potatoes are golden brown which would take about 35 -45 minutes.

Meat Free Monday’s Mushroom Macaroni

Yudhika's Meat Free Monday Mushroom Macaroni

Yudhika’s Meat Free Monday Mushroom Macaroni

I am a carnivore!  I love all things good and meaty.  With food inserts being filmed and the Post recipe page, I have to put my food wishes aside and put together a balanced recipe offering.

 

My daughter, Hetal almost 15 now…and going on 55 surprises me Sometimes they are pleasant, sometimes they are shocking!  But she has suddenly developed a love for vegetarian food.  How did she get through 14 years without me knowing that she loves paneer?

 

Sundays are busy days with the Mela food insert – you can find recipes after the show on the Mela Facebook page or get onto their twitter page too. I got into the kitchen quite early so I could clear my arvie for the Sunday dose of the show!  If you missed the food mela, click here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7d-b10Pu_s

 

I took a time capsule back to Std 6 Home Economics and decided to re-create the old Macaroni and Cheese by turning it into a gratin for Hetal yesterday.  Do you remember Home Economics from the good old days?  I almost expected her to say that she would prefer chicken…another surprise…she polished off the macaroni and went back for seconds.

 

I tasted some and although I am not a huge fan of vegetarian food, it was delicious…slightly creamy with fresh thyme to delicately flavour the sauce….then topped with a layer of golden melted cheese!  Just a word on the sauce, I added egg yolks to the sauce to add a little richness.  If you are strictly vegetarian, omit the eggs from the recipe.

Mushrooms in the AMC 28cm Chef's Pan

Mushrooms in the AMC 28cm Chef’s Pan

There are four easy steps to making up this dish, first the pasta and while that is on, I get going with the basic sauce and while that is cooling slightly, I saute the mushrooms.  Assemble and bake!  The ‘Big Mac’ just got a makeover!

 

For more pasta recipes, don’t forget to check out the Post Newspaper this week and you can also enter the AMC cookware competition!

 

All baked and ready for lunch...

All baked and ready for lunch…

Mushroom Macaroni Gratin

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

350g macaroni

Butter, to grease baking dish

45ml sunflower oil

400g button mushrooms, sliced

4 sprigs fresh thyme

5ml crushed garlic

Salt, to season

10ml Curry me Home Magic Masala or crushed chilli flakes

Black pepper, to season

100g cheddar, grated

 

 

For the sauce:

 

75g butter

50g cake flour

750ml full cream milk

1 bay leaf

100ml fresh cream

2 egg yolks, optional

50g cheddar, grated

Salt to season

 

Here’s how:

Cook the macaroni with salt and a little oil in a large AMC pot with boiling water. Check the packaging for the cooking time.

Grease the baking dish with butter.

Heat the sunflower oil in a 28cm AMC chef’s pan and add the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms on high and add the fresh thyme.

Once the mushrooms are golden brown, add the crushed garlic and chilli flakes or Magic Masala.

Toss the mushrooms and season with salt – leave aside.

 

Heat the butter in an AMC saucepan on medium. Once the butter melts, stir in the cake flour and use a wooden spoon to mix until smooth.

Add the milk gradually and whisk well between each addition, making sure the sauce is smooth. Add the bay leaf and simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Stir the cheese into the sauce and whisk until smooth. Add the fresh cream and leave the sauce to cool slightly.

Beat the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Pour the sauce into the beaten eggs and whisk until combined.

Stir the cooked mushrooms into the macaroni, add half the sauce and mix gently to combine. Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared oven dish and pour the remaining sauce over the macaroni. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 25 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

 

 

Post Christmas Blues….

Yudhika prepares a Christmas Strudel...

Yudhika prepares a Christmas Strudel…

I worked at the Broadacres Superspar over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day too….it has to be the most frantic days to be in store and it’s all hands on deck for the rush.  Turkey in every form imaginable….roulades, stuffed, deboned, unstuffed, turduckens and carved….you name it….and it was in store….not to mention gammon…gammon everywhere!

I have been posting post-Christmas recipes mainly using turkey….today I have a recipe that uses the last remaining slices of Christmas cake.  Don’t be too quick to write off this recipe…it is decadent and delicious!

 

Turfing out Christmas cake makes me sad….and it hurts the pocket too…all those good nuts and spices…not to mention the butter and brandy too!

 

This post-Christmas dessert will have you shining like a star!  I added more nuts, spices and Lindt chocolate to the filling and wrapped this in phyllo!  Use a bread knife to slice through the pastry…works like a charm and don’t be intimidated by this!  What I love about this recipe is also those delicious aromas that travel through the kitchen while it is in the oven!!!

 

I made one of these and took a few slices through to Mrs Tarr at Broadacres…and we also had some turkey pie as well with it….I know I can count on her for feedback on new recipes….and well, I can honestly say that after a few festive recipe tastings, I knew I was going to get into trouble for tempting Mrs T….a troubled chef…or a troublesome one?

For more post-Christmas recipes, click here for a delicious turkey pasta…https://yudhikayumyum.com/2014/12/24/christmas-recycled-turkey-pasta/ or here for a hearty turkey pie, https://yudhikayumyum.com/2014/12/21/turkey-express/.  For the latest food inserts from Mela on SABC 2, click here, https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/ and don’t forget to like the Mela page on Facebook for the latest recipes!

 

 

Christmas Strudel

 

500g phyllo pastry (12 sheets)

125g butter, melted

Ground cinnamon, to sprinkle

 

300 Christmas cake or pudding

75g hazelnuts

75g pecan nuts

125g dark chocolate, chopped – I used Lindt!

100g dried cranberries

5ml ground cinnamon

75g brown sugar

 

Icing sugar, to dust

Custard, to serve

 

 

 

Here’s how:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Crumble the cake into a mixing bowl.

Add the hazelnuts, pecans, dark chocolate and cranberries.

Add 5ml ground cinnamon to the mixture and mix well.

Lay a sheet of phyllo pastry onto a work surface and brush with butter – reserve some butter for the top of the strudel

Place a sheet next to it with an overlap of about 4cm.

Brush the pastry with butter and repeat until all the layers are done.

Brush the top layer with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar over the pastry.

Spread the crumbled cake mixture leaving a 3cm gap around the edges.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the filling and reserve 30ml for topping the strudel.

Fold the pastry over the filling around the edges.

Roll the pastry with the filling as you would for a Swiss Roll.

Grease a large baking sheet with non stick spray.

Place the phyllo roll onto the baking sheet and brush with butter.

Sprinkle the reserved brown sugar over the roll and bake for 35 – 40 minutes.

The strudel should be golden brown and crispy.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Dust with icing sugar and slice into rounds with a serrated knife.

Serve with homemade custard.

Stuffed…

Bling Bling Roast Chicken by Yudhika Sujanani

Bling Bling Roast Chicken by Yudhika Sujanani

 

I sometimes feel a little bleak during the festive season….it’s the end of year fatigue and tiredness, a touch of emotional sadness and well, I end up feeling a little stuffed!

 

A festive time for some and a dark time for others….around this time of year there is great excitement but there is also great sorrow.  The excitement is understandable but what about the sadness?  I was chatting to a therapist friend who told me that this is the busiest time of year!  I was chatting to a lawyer who also said that his clients ‘go mental’ during the festive season!  Tis the season to be jolly….or is it???

 

Around birthdays, christmas and any holidays…I often look back and think about all the things I missed out on as a child.  So, yes…there has been great success but the sadness strikes even while the life sparkles!  Life just wasn’t a cake walk but it’s the same for most people….we remember the people we love….the people we have lost…the worst are the people live and are missing from our lives!

 

I came across the South African Depression and Anxiety Group…their helpline is open throughout the year including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day too…for more information, take a look at the website, http://www.sadag.org and please go on and share it…they do amazing work!!!

 

I know I will be spending my Christmas with my kids and I will be feasting with them too!!!  My daughter, Tanvi, is not much of a turkey fan and loves a stuffed roast chicken…so here is one of her favourite recipes for a ‘pull out all the stops’ bling bling roast chicken!

 

On SABC 2’s Mela this Sunday, stay tuned….Christmas gets a spicy Indian twist with a delicious rice stuffed roast turkey, semolina roast potatoes and a cranberry Christmas Cake!

 

Bling Bling Roast Chicken

 

Ingredients

 

1 whole chicken, 1,2 – 1,3 kg

Pinch of salt, to season

50ml sunflower oil

250g bacon rashers (streaky or back)

 

A buttery rub....

A buttery rub….

For the rub:

75g soft butter

8 cloves garlic, crushed

10ml Curry me Home red chilli

10ml Curry me Home ground coriander

5ml Curry Me Home ground cumin

5ml Curry me Home garam masala

20ml Curry Me Home Magic Masala, optional

15ml fresh thyme leaves

30ml lemon juice

 

The Stuffed Part....

The Stuffed Part….

 

For the stuffing:

30ml breadcrumbs

125g sausage meat or chicken mince

75g finely chopped onion

1 egg yolk

30ml chopped fresh coriander

 

Here’s how:

Go easy on the salt for this recipe…the bacon that goes on top of the chicken adds salt to this recipe and so does the sausage meat in the stuffing.

 

Rinse the chicken under running water and pat dry with absorbent paper towel.

Season with salt.

Prepare the buttery rub my combining all the ingredients and creaming them until smooth.

 

Combine the stuffing ingredients  – the sausage meat should be quite salty so don’t over season the mixture.  If you are using chicken mince, season with salt and black pepper.

 

Stuff the chicken cavity with the mixture and secure the drumsticks in place with butcher’s twine.

 

Place the chicken on a greased roasting pan with the breasts facing up.  Gently lift the chicken skin and smear the butter over the breasts.  Smear some of the butter over the chicken wings and drumsticks.

 

Drizzle sunflower oil over the chicken. Layer the rashers over the chicken breasts.

 

Roast the chicken at 200 degrees celsius for ten minutes, then lower the temperature to 180 degrees.  Roast the chicken for 60 – 65 minutes or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.

 

 

Christmas countdown…cake!

Spicy Fruit Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Spicy Fruit Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

I have never made a Christmas cake ahead of time and followed the ritual of pouring brandy over it every week….the cake just gets gobbled up by the gremlins in my family…and when they are tired of cake…they pull of the almonds on the cake!  Some things run in the family!  I used to do just that when I was a kid and it’s a little like karma coming back to bite!

 

Most families have a traditional fruit cake recipe that is served at Christmas.  I love the aromas of Christmas cake…the brandy with spices fill a home with festive cheer!

 

Tried and tested sometimes or should I say almost always works best…I do sometimes feel that I should try a new recipe which generally ends up in a disaster.  I can bake…I am mean I can REALLY bake…..a few years ago I tried a recipe from a really flash cookbook….and it was one of those really expensive one too….the cake looked like a rather large over-baked Ouma rusk!  I was devastated and got teased about it for months!

 

I find following a recipe pretty difficult and my mom was the queen of fruit cakes…this is her recipe with a few tweaks here and there…I love spicing up a fruit cake and have added cardamom to my recipe as well!

 

I sometimes also use a good glug of Jack Daniels to this recipe instead of the brandy!  You can serve this cake with brandy butter or custard.  I just have a large slice with a good cup of coffee! Oh and I make this cake a few times during the year…so calling it a Christmas cake doesn’t come easily!

 

A big congratulations to Lalisha Singh on winning the KitchenAid stand mixer competition!  She joins our Tania Joy Fredericks, Renuka Lallbahadur and Natasha Ramlugan as well as Kay Straightfill and Krivani Pillay in our winners hall of hame!!! Stay tuned for more competitions on the blog with great prizes from AMC cookware, KitchenAid and Spar!

 

Light Christmas Fruit Cake

 

Ingredients

375g soft butter

300ml brown sugar

6 eggs

500g Safari Cake Mix

250ml mixed nuts (I love pecans)

750ml cake flour

15ml baking powder

10ml cinnamon

10ml mixed spice

5ml cardamom

2ml nutmeg

2ml salt

125ml milk

75ml brandy or whisky

100g whole almonds, blanched

 

 

Here’s how

Pre-heat oven to 170°C.

Grease and line a 10 inch round cake tin with baking paper. Sift flour, salt and baking powder and add the spices. Place dried fruit and nuts in a mixing bowl. Toss together 30ml cake flour and the dried fruit and nuts. The dried fruit should be lightly dusted with flour to prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

Mix together the milk and brandy. Sift the dry ingredients.

Cream butter and gradually add brown sugar until light and fluffy. The sugar crystals should also dissolve slightly – I used the KitchenAid mixer for this!

Add eggs one at a time with a teaspoon of cake flour to prevent curdling.

Add half the flour to the butter and egg mixture followed by half the liquid. Repeat this process and lastly fold in the dried fruit and nuts.

Arrange the blanched almonds on top of the cake and press them into the batter gently.

Bake for 70 – 75 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean. Turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Groovy Gravy!

Turkey gravy by Yudhika Sujanani

Turkey gravy by Yudhika Sujanani

Store bought gravy just won’t work with a delicious home-made turkey!  Let’s face it….the generic commercial just add water gravies are quite hideous!

 

Gravy is easy to make and after roasting the turkey, the main ingredient is the pan juices…it’s like a turkey stock with a few added ingredients.  Here is the recipe for the roast turkey…https://yudhikayumyum.com/2014/12/12/turkey-time-recipes-for-the-festive-season/.  It is also delicious drizzled over the garlic potato stacks…click here for the recipe…https://yudhikayumyum.com/2014/12/12/potato-promises/

 

I leave the turkey to rest after roasting….this is absolutely necessary to get the meat to re-absorb the juices that keep the turkey moist and tender! Rest the turkey for as long as it has been in the oven….I serve it at room temperature with hot gravy!

 

Here is my recipe for the turkey gravy…..

 

Turkey gravy

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Pan juices, from roasting the turkey

15ml sunflower oil

75ml chopped onion

75ml chopped carrot

75ml chopped leeks

10ml butter

10ml flour

100ml fresh cream

 

 

 

Here’s how:

 

 

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC pot.

Add the chopped onion, carrots and leeks.

Saute the ingredients until the onions are translucent.

Pour the turkey juices into the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add a little water or stock if the mixture is too thick.

Strain the turkey juices and discard the pulp.

Heat the butter in a little pot and add the flour.

Cook the mixture for 30 seconds, then pour in the turkey juice.

Whisk the mixture on a medium heat.

Simmer until the gravy begins to thicken.

Add the fresh cream and simmer for a minute.

Check the seasoning and add a little salt if necessary.

Serve with the roasted turkey.

 

Starry Starry Eyes…

Mela Episode 3: Keralan Fish and Spicy Wilted Spinach by Yudhika Sujanani...

Mela Episode 3: Keralan Fish and Spicy Wilted Spinach by Yudhika Sujanani…

It’s always a bit daunting to recreate someone else’s recipes…and for the 3rd episode of Mela, I was taken aback when my lovely producer asked me to re-create the recipes of Michelin Starred Chef, Atul Kocchar.

After reading through his recipe, I realized that we share a similar food philosophy – I keep it simple and so does he…Atul also seems to be a ‘old is gold’ chef….he uses simple techniques and makes use of fresh herbs like curry leaves and coriander….garlic and one of my favourites, coconut milk! I am sure that we both would disagree though on the pro’s of using frozen ‘box fish’ – it’s sometimes difficult to source fantastically fresh fish in Jozi so I use the convenient option….

I don’t enjoy fussy food and must declare, that after cooking up Chef Atul’s Keralan Fish and the Spicy Wilted Spinach, that I am starry eyed….I think I have a food crush on this chef!

I did change the recipes slightly…cutting down on the whole green chillies and also by adding tomatoes to the wilted spinach to suit my personal tastes! If you missed the episode, click on this link…https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/mela-ep-3-keralan-fish-and-wilted-spinach/

Just a quick tip…I met with Kaye and Tamsyn from AMC cookware. We discussed pots and pans….and I had to explain what a fish pot was….its a wide AMC pot that is not deep. The fish needs to be poached in the sauce in a single layer to prevent it from becoming an absolute mush!

IMG_1722

Here is the recipe…

Keralan Fish
7ml salt
7ml turmeric
4 fish fillets, 600g
30ml coconut oil/sunflower oil
1 onion finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 green chillies, sliced lengthwise
5ml red chilli powder
Handful of curry leaves
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
Small bunch fresh coriander, chopped

Here’s how
Gently rub the fish fillets with 5ml turmeric and 5ml salt.
Heat the oil in a 30cm AMC pot, then sauté the onion with the 2,5ml salt until pale golden brown.
Add the chillies, half the curry leaves and garlic – sauté until fragrant.
Add the red chilli powder and remaining turmeric.
Pour in the coconut milk and simmer gently until the sauce begins to bubble.
Place the fish fillets into the sauce and simmer on a low heat setting until the dish is cooked through.
Heat a little sunflower oil in a pan.
Once the oil is hot, fry the remaining curry leaves until they splutter.
Garnish the fish with fresh coriander and fried curry leaves.

Spicy Wilted Spinach

15ml sunflower oil
2,5ml mustard seeds
2,5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
2 dried red chillies
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tomatoes, blanched and chopped
800g chopped spinach

Heat the sunflower oil.
Add the mustard seeds and once they begin to splutter add the cumin seeds.
Add the onion, salt and dried red chillies, then sauté until the onion is light golden brown.
Add the garlic and fry until fragrant.
Stir the chopped tomatoes into the onion and simmer until they soften.
Add the chopped spinach and sauté until the spinach wilts.