Sugar ‘n Spice

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.

This is how I roll…Rocking the Roti!

Roti by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti by Yudhika Sujanani

Every culture, every society, every country has superstitions. Whether we believe them or not, they play some part in our everyday lives. Some of them are based on religion, some based on folk legends but if you are Indian, there are more than a few superstitions about roti and most of them are about finding a husband or keeping your mother in law happy.

Here are some of the roti superstitions I grew up with…

1.The roti dough always needs to be made by hand and not a mixer – shows your mother in law that you are capable and if you do use an electric mixer, you will always have hard roti, not to mention the embarrassment and shame your mother will have to live with.

2. I used to cut out my roti using an AMC pot lid to save my mother the social embarrassment of having rather odd-shaped roti served at the table. I was told that this would also make the roti hard and biscuity…how??? Is there a scientific reason? Mrs Anne Bramdeo, who is just so dear to me convinced me that I needed to break my pot lid habit and gave me some lessons. The pot lid is now used for the rightful purpose.

3. It is bad luck to take the ‘roti pan’ off the heat while you are cooking them…you should cook off the roti without commercial breaks…in today’s world that means you don’t have time for selfies!

4. The first roti should never be eaten…it is for the birds! I say it is for the Mother in Law! The first roti is much like the first pancake, it never turns out right.

5. ‘Save the last roti’…I always got busted for this. Apparently, the last roti was saved to ‘save the family’ from starving but also in case God visited. Why waste a perfectly good roti? In the shloks or religious verses, it states ‘Treat your guests as God’ and if there was an unexpected guest, they should have at least one roti. I would happily cook up a batch at anytime, a fresh roti is a delicious treat.

6. If the roti puffs up, your mother in law is going to love you…I can safely say that this one is just a con to get women trying harder at roti…mine puff beautifully and I can swear there isn’t a loving mother in law in sight! I have had two, the first was never the loving type but the second….tjo tjo tjo! We all have those stories, don’t we?

7. If you don’t make good roti, you won’t find a husband…I know women who have no desire to make two minute noodles, but have found amazing husbands, women who laugh about their flying saucer style roti, wonky rotis, dry ones and maps of Africa.

I am going to be bold and brave, declaring that none of these superstitions ring true in my case, that is….I make a pretty mean roti, haven’t found lasting love, a loving mother in law or an amazing husband but I am having the time of my life! Roti superstitions were craftily conjured to keep women in the kitchen and trying harder! If you have any roti superstitions, please share them in the comments section…I am sure I missed a few!  While you are visiting this blog site, click follow to get the recipes sent to you via email.

The first attempt can always be a bit of a disaster…remember it only gets better each time you try. Every batch becomes less messy and your ‘roti lap time’ improves!

Ready to Roll...

Ready to Roll…

Here is my simple recipe, but before you get started here are 3 tips to remember!

Make sure the boiled water is not recently boiled or left to cool slightly, it needs to be bubbling when poured into the flour.

I use sunflower oil instead of butter, as this keeps the roti softer for longer. Butter gives the roti a more shortcrust like texture.

Work quickly with bringing the dough together, this makes it much easier.

Roti squiggles by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti squiggles by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti

Makes 12

Ingredients

750ml cake flour

5ml fine salt

375ml boiled water…I mean hot hot hot

90ml sunflower oil

Melted butter, to cook roti

Here’s how:

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

Pour the boiled water over the dry ingredients.

Mix the water into the flour.

Add the sunflower oil and knead the dough until smooth.

Roll the dough into a ‘log’ and slice into 12 pieces.

Roll each piece into a length and curl up half .

Curl up the other half in the opposite direction.

Ready to Roll...part 2

Ready to Roll…part 2

Fold one curled section over the other and flatten the dough slightly.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth.

Roll each piece into a round ensuring that the work surface is dusted with flour.

Repeat until all the dough has been rolled out.

Place the roti on a hot pan, when small bubbles appear, flip the roti over.

Drizzle with melted butter, then flip the roti again, drizzle again and then flip the roti.

Brown the roti, and remove from the pan.

Yudhika’s Tips:

Pile the rotis and leave to cool before storing them away.

Store rotis in a cake tin lined with wax paper.

Reheat in a microwave for 10 – 20 seconds.

Flavor the dough with 2,5ml cumin seeds.

Five tips to perfect pilau…Spicy Brinjal Pilau!

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau with chickpeas and lentils by Yudhika Sujanani

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau with chickpeas and lentils by Yudhika Sujanani

The first pilau I made was from a recipe that I took out of the Indian Delights. I thought I would surprise my mom but it turned into a rather bad surprise…it wasn’t a recipe, it was my cooking skills! I was in high school at the time and without much patience! I cooked the pilau on a high heat and burnt it, the rice turned to mush and it was a complete mess! I am thankful to my creator for blessing me with determination….but still not sure whether it was determination or my ego that kept me cooking after the weeks of being teased about my kitchen disaster!

A good pilau is the perfect dish that turns meals into feasts. This is recipe that is perfect for Ramadan or it could make an appearance at your table served with roast chicken or lamb, curries and stews! For the vegetarians out there, it is a meal on it’s own, served with a salad and a creamy dollop of raita!

Here are a five of my tips to making a fabulous pilau…

Firstly, use a good quality rice. The broken grains in the cheaper brands cause the rice to cook unevenly and turn to mush.

Secondly, always cook the rice in advance and leave it to cool before adding it to the pilau. Rice that has chilled in the refrigerator works best and your pilau will be flop proof with fluffy steamed grains.

Third tip….slow and steady wins the race….pilau should be steamed gently to prevent it from sticking and burning.

Fourth tip….use a good quality pot with a thick base to prevent the pilau from steaming unevenly. I use AMC cookware without a hassle!

Fifth tip…back to the rice rice rice….I personally stick to basmati rice…avoid Jasmine and white rice as they are quite sticky….you can use long grain rice if you prefer but basmati for me is best!

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

2 large brinjals
Fine salt, to sweat brinjals
Sunflower oil, to grill or fry brinjals

45ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
10ml crushed garlic
10ml paprika or red chilli powder
400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
10ml roasted ground coriander
5ml ground cumin
1 x 400g tin butter beans
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
1 400g tin lentils
50ml fresh cream, optional
1000ml cooked Basmati Rice
125ml boiling water
10ml chilli flakes, to garnish
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Slice the brinjals into wedges and place them in a colander.
Sprinkle fine salt over the brinjals and leave to sweat for 20 minutes.
Use paper towel to dab the excess moisture off the brinjal wedges.
Heat the sunflower oil and fry/grill the brinjals.
Gently pat the excess oil of the brinjals and leave aside.

Heat the sunflower oil in a thick bottomed pot.
Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf until fragrant.
Add the cumin seeds and when they begin to splutter add the chopped onion.
Sprinkle the coarse salt over the onion and fry until they turn light golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic and stir for a few seconds.
Add the paprika and then stir in the chopped tomatoes.
Simmer for a minute before adding the ground coriander and cumin.
When the tomatoes soften completely, add the drained butter beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Pour in the fresh cream and layer the cooked basmati rice over.
Pour the boiling water over the rice and then reduce the temperature.
Simmer the pilau on the lowest heat setting until the rice has steamed through.
Place the brinjal wedges over the rice.
Garnish with chilli flakes and fresh coriander.

Yudhika’s Tips:
Fry the brinjals while the pilau is steaming though so that the wedges are hot when serving.
Par-cooked potatoes can be added to this recipe.

Meat Free Monday…Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Meat Free Monday with Yudhika Sujanani - Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Meat Free Monday with Yudhika Sujanani – Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Another Meatless Monday…and today is also World No Meat Day! This is a quick and easy recipe that is absolutely delicious. You can serve it as a meal on it’s own or as a side dish. Mushrooms taste better when cooked in advance and absorb the spices from the sauce. Prepare the mushrooms and add the spinach just before serving, taking care not to over cook it.

Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Ingredients

50ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
10ml crushed garlic
10ml red chill powder
400g chopped tomatoes, fresh or tinned
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
400g mushrooms, sliced
400g baby spinach, chopped
Fresh curry leaves or coriander, to garnish

Here’s how

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Paella Pan.
Add the mustard seeds and when the pop, add the cumin seeds.
Add the chopped onion and salt.
Saute until the onion is golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic and fry for a few seconds.
Stir the red chilli powder and mix for 5 seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes and stir in the remaining spices.
Add the ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Simmer the sauce and use the back of a spoon to break down the lumps.
Once the sauce resembles tomato paste, add the chopped mushrooms.
Simmer until the mushrooms soften, add 125ml boiling water if the sauce is too thick.
Once the mushrooms are cooked through, add the chopped spinach and simmer uncover for a minute or two.
Garnish with fresh curry leaves and coriander.

Life’s a peach….

Yudhika Sujanani, getting ready for a new season of Sugar 'n Spice on The Home Channel

Yudhika Sujanani, getting ready for a new season of Sugar ‘n Spice on DSTV’s The Home Channel

Life can be many things but for me it’s a peach….It isn’t always the case but sometimes we can choose for it to be! Last week, I finished shooting the last episode of ‘Sugar ‘n Spice’ which will be airing on DSTv’s Home Channel on the 29th June. The show took over three months to shoot and we have had many fabulous but long days on set…early morning kick offs and late nights! I am pinching myself…still thinking of the days when I promised myself I would get my very own show! Stay tuned for more details! This cake reminds me so much of my days in Durban and when life is a peach, I have to celebrate.

When I was a kid, our trusted Defy oven would blow a fuse and we would be left without my mom’s famous cakes for months. Tinned peaches were always on standby when we were cash flush that is…they were served with chilled dessert cream and it was simply delicious. I love the distinct flavour of dessert cream and my kids think that it is a real treat when I haul out a large tin of peaches!

I made up this recipe which takes me back in time and I hope you enjoy it! A light sponge cake topped with luscious whipped cream and syrup soaked peaches! It might even be the perfect dessert making an appearance for Father’s Day on Sunday. I found a way of working around the sub standard fresh cream that just flops or won’t whip up successfully. Pick up a tub of Woolies or Weleda Double Thick Cream…you cant whip it on it’s own because it is too thick but add fresh cream or Nestle dessert cream to create a decadent topping!

Peaches and Cream Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Peaches and Cream Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Peaches and Cream Cake

Ingredients
4 eggs
200ml sugar
5ml vanilla essence
250ml cake flour
10ml baking powder
Pinch of salt
65ml cold water
125ml sunflower oil

For the cream topping:

250ml double thick cream
150ml Nestle dessert cream
60ml icing sugar
Drop of vanilla essence

400g tinned peach slices
Fresh mint sprigs, to garnish

Here’s how:
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Grease and line 1 x 10 inch round cake tin.
Beat the eggs in an electric mixer and gradually add sugar.
Continue beating until thick and creamy – the mixture should leave a trail on the surface for 3 seconds.
Fold the flour, baking powder and salt into the egg mixture.
Add the water and oil, fold mixture again.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

For the topping:
Place the double thick cream, dessert cream, sugar and vanilla essence into a mixing bowl.
Whip until the cream thickens.
Scoop the cream onto the top of the cake and use a spatula to make little peaks.
Drain the peaches and discard the syrup.
Chop the peach slices into little pieces and sprinkle over the cake.
Garnish with mint leaves.

Yudhika’s Tips:
Make sure the mixing bowl is oil and grease free before whisking the eggs – oil prevents the eggs from incorporating air.

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.

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.

Festive feuding…..

Yudhika visits the Fourways Farmers Market on SABC 2's Mela...

Yudhika visits the Fourways Farmers Market on SABC 2’s Mela…

The festive season…some people love it…some people dread it!  The producer of Mela, is always full of brilliant ideas….and one of our themes was what to make when the inlaws….or should I say ‘outlaws’ come to visit!

Mother in law blues….it’s awful but over the holidays we all seem to overdose on it….yes, yes…they are perfect and they are the best cooks too….so, we first had a look around to see what we could come up with….first stop was our local ‘Fourway’s Farmers Market’.  The produce is amazingly fresh and it is a must for any ardent foodie.  I happened to come across a chocolatier stand.and they had fabulous white chocolate that was too tempting to resist.

 

We decided to prepare a meltingly delicious burfee with a decadent twist….white belgian chocolate…that ought to get the tongues to stop wagging!

 

Burfee isn’t a festive must….but, a little slice served at any time of year can be just what the doctor ordered to soothe those fraying nerves…I have to agree with the Mela producer on this one!  If you missed this episode of the ‘Food Mela’, click here to view….https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/yudhikas-chocolate-burfee-on-mela/

 

 

A word on milk powder…I suggest using Klim milk powder for this recipe.  For more on burfee check out these links on this blog….https://yudhikayumyum.com/2014/07/24/the-eid-burfee-challenge/ for the Coconut Burfee and here for the rose and pistachio burfee…https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/10/29/rose-and-pistachio-burfee/  and perhaps this one for the super decadent fresh cream burfee recipe…https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/07/29/sugar-n-spice-recipes-fresh-cream-almond-burfee-by-yudhika/ and check out the video link to watch how to make up this burfee from my show Sugar n Spice…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWFDoAJuQXI

White Chocolate Burfee by Yudhika on SABC2's Mela....

White Chocolate Burfee by Yudhika on SABC2’s Mela….

 

Chocolate Burfee

Whole almonds

Red food colouring, to tint almonds

Gold dust, to tint almonds

500g Klim milk powder

175ml tinned dessert cream

375ml sugar

250ml cold water

2,5ml ground cardamom

25ml butter

50g chopped white chocolate, chopped

50g chocolate, to garnish

Tint the almonds with red food colouring and roast in a hot oven until dry.

Leave aside to cool and then sprinkle with gold dust.

Gently rub the gold dust over the almonds.

Grease a 20 x 25cm pyrex dish or baking tray with butter.

Line the tray with plastic wrap ensuring the sides are also lined.

Grease the plastic wrap with butter.
In a mixing bowl, rub the dessert cream into the milk powder until it resembles bread crumbs.

Leave this aside for an hour to dry out.

Place the milk powder mixture into a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Combine the sugar and water in a small AMC pot and boil until a thick sticky syrup forms.

Add the cardamom and butter to the syrup.

Pour the syrup into the milk powder, add the chopped chocolate and stir well to combine and leave to cool just slightly.

Add the chopped chocolate and working quickly press the mixture down into the prepared dish or baking tray.

Once the mixture cools, garnish with the tinted almonds and chopped chocolate.  Refrigerate the burfee until firm and slice into blocks or diamonds.