Apple Roses

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These not too sweet apple roses have all the flavours and textures of a traditional apple pie but repackaged in a elegant and very easy to make way. I have used a mini muffin pan to make mini versions as I like the smaller bite sized ones almost like mini apple pies.

Here’s what you need:
(Makes about 10 mini cupcake sized individual pies.)

 1 roll of puff pastry (thaw in advance if using frozen)
1 apple
Lemon juice, 1 tablespoon
Ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
Jam, 2 tablespoons (I have used raspberry but you can use whatever you have at home)
Icing sugar for dusting, 1 tablespoon

  • Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees C and lightly grease a mini muffin pan.
  • Cut the apple in half and core it using a melon baller and thinly slice the halves.
  • In a large bowl dunk the apples slices and lemon juice in enough water to cover and microwave for about 1-2 minutes till the slices are a little softer. Otherwise you won’t be able to roll them.
  • When cool, drain well and pat dry. It is very important to get rid of extra moisture otherwise it will make your puff soggy.
  • Roll out the pastry sheet into 10 thin strips. About 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. Make sure they are rolled out thin (1/8 inch) coz otherwise the pastry wont cook thru.
  • Brush on a thin layer jam. I like using raspberry coz it has a nice tangy and sweet flavour however apricot or strawberry work just as well.
  • Place the apple slices along the top half of the pastry strip in a way that the tops of the slices are just a bit over the edge of the pastry sheet and they overlap a little.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon.
  • Fold the bottom of the strip of the pastry strip over the apples so that the pastry makes a little folder over the apple slices.
  • Starting at one end roll them to form roses and pop them into your mini muffin pan.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven on a bottom rack with only the bottom heat on for about 35-40 minutes. Although keep an eye on them as they are small and you don’t want to burn them. The puff should be golden brown and flakey.
  • Cool them on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar just before you serve them.

Harissa Cheese Straws

These spicy cheesy crispy little bites are a perfect party appetizer or make mini ones and enjoy during a movie marathon. I’ve also made a sour cream, garlic and chives dip to go with them but they do go well with salsa or even on their own.

Here’s what you need:
1 sheet puff pastry (thaw in advance if using frozen)
1/2 cup shredded cheese
3 tablespoons Harissa paste

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C.
Roll out your pastry sheet really thin.
Spread out your Harissa paste evenly. You can use less or more depending on how spicy you want them.
Scatter your cheese, cut your big sheet in half and fold both of them over.
Cut into thin strips.
Take each strip and twist twice before placing them on a baking tray lined with a sheet.
Bake for about 18-20 mins or until golden and crispy.
Serve warm or immediately transfer to an airtight box or they will go soggy.

Baked Yogurt

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A really creamy and easy to make dessert using ONLY 3 ingredients!
This Bengali dessert is traditionally served plain and delicious on its own.
I love playing around with flavours and so have also made 2 more variations.
You can try any combinations and make it your own.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup yogurt 
1 cup fresh cream
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
Fresh fruits (strawberry, cherries etc)
Kwera (Pandan) water/extract
Lime (zest and juice)
Orange cordial
Toasted almonds

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Remove any excess water from the yogurt and beat enough to remove the lumps. Gently mix in the cream and then swirl in the condensed milk.

Divide the mix between 6 glasses. (I wanted to bake these in individual glasses for ease of serving but you can transfer all of the mixture into one oven proof bowl also.)

I kept 2 plain. To 2 others I added Kwera water (or you can use pandan extract) with lime zest and juice and to 2 others I added orange cordial and once chilled, I topped with toasted almond slivers.

Immerse into a water bath making sure that at least half your glass or bowl is in water.

Bake on the lower shelf of your oven for about 35-40 mins. They should just about start cracking on the surface and wobble a bit when you take them out. Be careful, you don’t them turning too yellow.

Cool outside for half an hour and then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours over night.
Serve chilled.



Carrot and Apple Salad

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This is a very healthy and filling salad. The tart green apple and the sweet carrot go beautifully with the kick of Sriracha in the soy honey dressing.

Here’s what you need:
1 big Carrot
1 Green apple
2 fresh red chilies
Fresh coriander, handful
50 gms roasted peanuts

Sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon
Soy sauce, 1 tablespoon
Sriracha sauce, 1 tablespoon
Vinegar, half a tablespoon
Honey, half a tablespoon

For the dressing, toast the sesame seeds and combine the rest of the ingredients in a shaker of bottle and shake well.
Using a peeler, shave the carrot into ribbons. Cut the apple in half and core it using a melon baller and thinly slice the halves.  Deseed the fresh red chilies and slice. Coarsely chop up the coriander and roasted peanuts.
Mix well and serve immediately.

Pão de Queijo or Brazilian Cheese Bread

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Pão de Queijo or Brazilian Cheese Bread

Or actually they should be called why-did-I-not-make-more-I-cant-stop-eating-these.

These are bite sized cheese balls that are crispy on the outside and cheesy and chewy on the inside. The first time I made these were out of a packet, one of those ready to make just mix the egg, milk, cheese, salt and bake (then what was in the packet really). My brother spent a lot of time in Brazil and came back addicted to these (and my Brazilian bhabhi). Although he got some packets for me to make for him, they dint turn out very nice. To begin with, things from ready to bake packets rarely do and as I had never tasted them (or even heard of them) I had no idea what consistency to keep the dough or what they were even supposed to look like. So I let them be and wrote off his enthusiasm for them like his excitement for a new show that had just started called Game of Thrones. I was sooo wrong about both!!
A few years and lots of internet searches led me to a recipe that I tried and tweaked till I was happy and just as addicted to as a lot of Brazilians are.
I made 2 kinds here. The classic and, coz I am desi and need some spice in everything, another batch stuffed with Red Jalapeño.

Makes about 40 in a mini muffin pan
2.5 to 3 cups, Tapioca flour
2 cups, Grated Parmesan cheese
2 Eggs, beaten
1 cup, Milk
100 gms, Butter (I use salted, if using unsalted adjust accordingly)
half teaspoon, Salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Red/ Green Jalapeño slices (if using) 1 to 2 per bun

* Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
* Bring the milk, salt, and butter to a boil while constantly stirring mixture.
* While milk is boiling, mix the beaten eggs with Parmesan cheese and black pepper in bowl and set aside.
* Transfer the milk mix to a large bowl and slowly add tapioca flour in 3 batches stirring constantly until thoroughly mixed.    This will be a pale gummy paste consistency. Start with 2.5 cups, if it feels very runny, add another half a cup.
* Add the cheese and eggs mix to the tapioca and milk mix and stir till smooth.
* Traditionally these are just shaped into balls and baked but to get uniformity in size (and I love the extra crispy sides) I use a mini muffin pan to bake them. Don’t fill them up all the way coz they will puff up and you want small bite sized ones. If you don’t have a mini muffin pan, just use 2 spoons to drop balls on a non stick baking sheet.
* To make the stuffed ones, just hide Jalapeño slices or sundried tomato bits in the middle.
* Bake until golden brown, usually takes about 18-20 minutes. Do not over bake as they will turn out dry.

These are best JUST out of the oven. Trust me you wont have any left to store. Oh and these are Gluten Free.

Easy Peasy Dips For Your Chips

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Easy Peasy Dips For Your Chips

On lazy Saturday afternoons like this one I really don’t want to do anything… including type too much.
So here are 2 dips that you can make in less than 5 minutes and look posh while entertaining… Stock up on some fancy chips and Doritos or like a true blue Gujju, with a couple of plain homemade Khakhras (trust me they go with ALL dips).
In the photo you will also see a third box that has my spicy salsa and the recipe to that is in my Low Carb Lunch Roll recipe:

Dip 1:
Sour Cream and Onion Dip:
The name really has all the ingredients…. But here are all of them with the proportions.
Half a cup Labneh (or Greek yogurt or just plain yogurt with water drained off)
Half a cup thick cream
Half a small onion, really really finely chopped (about 2-3 tablespoons)
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
10-15 mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 big pod of garlic, crushed (almost paste like)
Juice of one lemon
Freshly crushed black pepper and salt to taste
Just mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and chill before serving.
Dip 2:
Sun-dried Tomatoes Hummus:
One can chickpeas (drain all the liquid and rinse thoroughly)
7-8 big pieces of sun-dried tomatoes (with a bit of their oil)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 big pods of garlic
Juice of one small lemon
Salt to taste
I would usually just boil some extra chickpeas when I make cholay but for making hummus the canned ones are a good option when needed quickly.
Blend all the ingredients together thoroughly using about 1-2 tablespoons of the oil that comes with the sun-dried tomatoes. You might need to add 2-3 tablespoons of water just to make a smooth paste. Don’t over blend, you don’t want a very smooth paste. Taste for salt and adjust.