Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas Recipes: Christmas Cake

At home, My mother always baked the 123 cake. We, the kids always had to pray and hope that one of the cousins would come for a visit and bring a fruitcake along...and when someone did bring a fruitcake, ah! it felt like winning a lottery. It was a well known rule that I get to eat the icing( especially the iced flowers).. Luckily my sisters never really fancied the icing..

I started baking the christmas cake when I was 17 yrs old. I soaked the fruits in rum and followed the 123 cake recipe. Well, I didn't know then that there was such a thing as fruitcake recipe.
My 123 fruitcake was much better than drinking the batter my oldest sister served as a cake!( she tried to bake a cake in a toaster did really look like a cake. with a nice brown crust on top. But we couldn't cut it)

Finally one day I found my mother's recipe book among the junk she was throwing out and was surprised to see that she did have a Christmas cake recipe and she never once baked a cake using that recipe.
Amma gave her recipe book to my oldest sister as she is the eldest and have the right to the family heirloom..My sister lost that recipe book, however I still have the recipe for the christmas cake from her recipe book.. I copied most of the recipes, because I knew, I would never get the book. I follow that recipe to this day..


1.5 kg mixed fruits(raisins, almonds,cashews)
1 cup rum
rind of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
250gm butter( room temperature)
1 tbspn treacle/caramel
5 eggs(room temperature)
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon, cardamom, cloves each
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Soak the fruits in rum for atleast 24 hours( longer the better)

Before you bake the cake, take a 9 inch round pan. Line the inside and the outside with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar well

Add one egg at a time along with a tbl spn of flour from the 2 cups you have meassured for the cake

Mix the rest of the flour, fruit mix, spices, caramel together in another bowl

Add the creamed butter, sugar egg mix in to the fruit mix and stir using a wooden spoon

If the mix looks too dry add 1/4 cup rum to the batter

Preheat oven at 150 degrees

Pour the batter in to the lined cake tin and bake for about 2 hours, till you insert a wooden skewer in to the cake and no batter sticks on the skewer.

Note: I don't use any raising agents with this recipe and cooking time varies according to the oven you use.

Christmas recipes

Every year on the first day of Nov, I soak the fruits for the christmas cake. You may ask Why Nov 1st?
2 reasons.
The first one: Kerala celebrates Kerala day on that day and being a malayalee I celebrate Kerala day
The other reason is, it is the perunnal(festival) of Parumala Thirumeni, patron saint of Jacobite Christians.
I usually soak 1.5 kg of mixed fruit in 2 cups of rum.

I bake the cake on the 1st of december and from then on, every week I pour a tbl spn of rum on top of the cake till Christmas..( did I tell you, my kids are normally well behaved and extremely sleepy after eating the christmas cake??)

This year, I am taking my oldest daughter through a culinary journey of the Christmas of my childhood..
I remember having vattayappam, pal appam, stew, orappam, kuzhalappam, achappam and ofcourse Christmas cake every christmas as a child.
Join me as I make all the wonderful goodies and celebrate another year of peace and happiness

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Chicken Kali Mirch

I still have a jar of pepper that I plucked and dried when I was 18 years old..
We had 2 pepper wines in the house we stayed and it was full of pepper. Amma didn't have time to pluck it or dry.. I was home after the 1st year MBBS exams and because I had nothing to do, I plucked all the peppers from both the wines, dried them and completely forgot about it.
When I got married and was leaving for Malaysia, Amma gave me a big jar of pepper.. She told me
"This is the ones you plucked and dried"
It felt very special especially because I harvested it all by myself and I carried that jar of pepper, where ever I went. It had come with me to the jungles of east Malaysia, to the beautiful Penang island, to English country side, to the land of windmills, to the busy Mumbai and finally to Canada.
It is still half full!
This recipe too was given to me by a Sufi friend

250gm boneless chicke
2 onions (med size)chopped fine
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste each
1 tomato chopped fine
50 gms cashew
1/4 cup milk
4 tbsp Mawa( optional)
1 tbsp pepper powder( yes 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cream to garnish

Soak the cashew in the milk for 10 mints and then grind
Heat oil, add the ginger garlic paste, fry till lightly browned
Add the onion and keep stirring till the onion is light brown
Add chopped tomato, fry till the oil separates around the side
Add the chicken pieces and fry till the chiken is light brown
Now add the ground cashew and mawa if using. add 1 1/2 cup water, cover and cook on low heat till the chicken is done and the gravy is thick
Just before serving sprinkle the pepper and gently stir to mix it.
Garnish with cream.
My kids take this chicken curry with Roti for School lunch

Monday, November 27, 2006

Baghdadi Kheema

This is my kids favourite Kheema.. it is easy and yummy
This recipe came from a prominent Sufi family in Mumbai. I was invited to their house for a party and was served this dish. They were kind enough to share the recipe.

1/2 kg mince( the original recipe calls for mutton and I can't stand the smell of mutton. We use Pork or Chicken)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tspn garam masala
2 tspn Kashmiri Chilli powder/paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste each
1 onion chopped
1 large tomato chopped
5 almonds
5 cashew
1tbl spn dessicated coconut
2 tbl spn oil

1. Grind the almond, cashew and the dessicated coconut with 2 tbls spn water
2.Heat oil in a wok
3.Add the bay leaf, ginger and garlic paste, fry for a minute
4. now add onion and fry till the onion is light brown
5. now add the mince and finely chopped tomato and fry till the water is evaporated.
6.add the chilli, turmeric and garam masala, salt. and the ground almond cashew mix.Keep stirring over med fire
7.when the oil begins to seperate at the edges, break the eggs in to the meat, keep stirring to scramble it well.
8. serve garnish with coriander leaves

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Chocolate pudding

This is my favourite chocolate pudding recipe. 12 years ago, I was at the Dr's office waiting with fingers and toes crossed as I had missed my periods for 2 whole weeks. I was too nervous and I found this magazine on the side corner. Nervously I flipped though the pages and I found this recipe. I wanted to copy it, but before I could do it I heard my name being called. I walked in to the Dr's room with the magazine in my hand(ofcourse I didn't even know I was holding something in my hand). I saw the 2 lines on the preg test kit and all I remember is walking down the road from the clinic almost floating all the way home. Only when I reached my home, did I see that I still had the magazine in my hand. I called the clinic to tell them that I have their magazine and the telephone operator laughed... she told me I can keep the magazine. I lost the baby.. and still have the magazine..Every time I think about her.. I make the pudding.. Today is one such day

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

75 gm self raising flour
25 gm cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

Beat together
125 gm butter at room temp
125 gm sugar

Add 2 eggs, one at a time with a tbl spn of the sifted cocoa flour mix. Beat well.

Finally fold in the flour, add 1 tsp vanilla essence and 2 tbsp milk.

Pour the above mix on a greased casserole.

Now is the fun part.. Which tells you how courageous you are

Mix 50 gm brown sugar, 25 gm cocoa and 25 gm white sugar. Sprinkle on top of the pudding mix in the casserole

Mix 2 tsp nescafe in 225 ml water(cold to room temp). Pour it over the pudding mix... Yes pour it

Chuck in the oven and bake for 40 mints.. During cooking time, the liquid will sink to the bottom of the pan and forms a yummy chocolate sauce.. Enjoy