Mixed Fruit Loaf/ Cashewnut, Date & Carrot Cake

Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

185g butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup finely chopped glace mixed peel, 1-1/2 cup (250 g) glace cherries, 1/2 cup glace apricots,  2 cups plain flour, 3 teaspoons (flat) baking powder, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon sweet sherry.

Grease a 15cm x 25 cm loaf pan, line base and sides with wax paper, then grease the paper.

Cream butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer only until combined.  Add eggs quickly, one at a time, beat until combined.   Stir in fruit, then half the sifted flours with half the combined milk and sherry, then stir in remaining flour and milk mixture.  Spread into prepared pan.  Preheat oven.  Bake in a moderately slow oven (150-160 deg c oven) for about 2 hours.   (The baking time depends on your oven- so after 1 hour 40 minutes  you may check if your cake is done).  Check if done by inserting a skewer in the center; if it comes out clean..your cake is done.  Remove from oven and cover cake with foil and let it cool in pan.

Cashewnut, Date and Carrot Cake

Grated carrots 2 cups, chopped dates 1 cup,  chopped cashewnuts 1 cup, powdered sugar 2 cups, egg (3 separated),  plain flour 2 cups, baking powder 1 teaspoon, soda-bicarbonate 1 teaspoon, spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom) 2 tablespoons, corn oil 1.5 cups, 1 tablespoon vanilla essence

Sift flour with baking powder and sod-bicarb and keep aside.  Separate the eggs; beat egg whites till very fluffy and stiff and keep aside.  Mix and beat well the powdered sugar and oil.  Add yolks and beat well.   Then add chopped dates, cashewnuts and grated carrots.  Then add flour and vanilla essence.  Fold in the egg whites which are stiffly beaten taking care not to deflate the mixture.  Bake in a moderately slow oven (160 deg c ) for 1.5 hours.

Rose Cookies

1 cup maida flour, 1 cup rice flour, 2 eggs, 2.5 cups coconut milk,, salt & sugar to taste.

Mix rice flour & coconut milk until no lumps exists.  Gradually add white flour and mix thoroughly with a hand whisk.  Beat eggs and add to batter.  Ensure batter is of thickish and falling consistancy.   Add salt and sugar to taste.  Put batter into a deep plate.  When oil is hot dip the Rose Cookie Mould in hot oil for 1 minute. Dip the hot mould into the deep plate with flour taking care that batter comes up only to 3/4 or 1/2 height of the mould..not upto the edges.  Lift quickly and float the mould into the hot oil, shaking the mould gradually till the cookie falls into the oil.  Fry till it gets a pale colour. Remove on paper towels and when cool store in airtight box.

Milk Toffee

2 tins condensed milk (397 grms), 1 tin (same can) sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.  Put milk and sugar in a thick bottomed non-stick pan, keep it on heat and keep stirring till it thickens and starts forming into a thick mass.  Ensure that fire is low and that you keep stirring.  You will notice that the colour changes from cream to dark tan (tea-with milk colour).  Wait till it leaves the edges of the pan, then drop a little in a cup of water.  If the ball hardens in the water it is done, if not continue stirring.  When done add vanilla essence and butter.  Work quickly and pour onto a flat greased surface, flatten the surface,  apply little butter to the rolling pin and roll to desired thickness.  Cut when warm and before it sets.  Apply butter to the knife so that edges can be smooth and neat.   Gently scoop up with knife.  Cool and store in airtight box.

Coconut Doss

1 coconut – grated (roughly 2.5 cups);  1/4 kg sugar;  1/4 kg semolina;  1 tbsp ghee;  1 tsp vanilla essence;  2 drops of pink colouring
Method:   Grate the full coconut, just the white, do not scrape till the end of the shell.  Heat sugar with 1/2 teacup water.  When a little thickened add the grated coconut and stir on slow fire.  Then add semolina and continue to stir with a wooden spoon (or non-stick).  Keep down, add ghee and stir then add essence and colouring.  Put on fire and continue to stir till it leaves the pan and ready to set.  Pour on a greased thali spread with a ladle, roll with rolling pin and then cut.
PS:  It is always good to either put ghee or unsalted butter on the knife when cutting sweets.  It helps to cut smoothly without the mixture sticking to it.
For most sweets for checking if it is nearly done.  you should drop a little mixture in normal water.  If it disintegrates then it is not yet ready.  If it rolls into a ball and hardens then it is done.  This recipe from Elizabeth D’mello from US.

Date Bites

Nothing could be simpler than this.   Buy some good quality dates.  Pit the dates (slit with a sharp knife and remove the seed).   Sprinkle with just a dash of  cinnamon powder.  Roast almonds in the oven or microwave.   Put an almond in each date.  Arrange on mini cupcake wrappers.  Dust with icing sugar.

Rice Chakli

2 cups rice flour, 2 teaspoons urid flour (pick, wash, dry and dry roast a handful of urid dal; grind to fine powder – you need only 2 teaspoons of this and can store the remaining for later use), 2 teaspoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder and salt to taste.  Mix all in a bowl.  Add water little by little till a stiff dough is formed.  Put in chakli mould and make spirals.  Deep fry in hot oil.   Drain on absorbent paper.  When cool store in an airtight box.

The above recipe is the jhatpat one which I did; but below is the original recipe which tastes extremely good but takes a long time to do.  Choice is yours.

1 Kg. raw rice, 1/4 kg boiled rice,  thick coconut milk of 1 coconut, urid dal-200 grams,  200 grams extra rice (raw rice), salt to taste, 2 tablespoons til, 2 teaspoons jeera (roasted), oil for frying.  

Wash and soak rice for 2-3 hours and then grind with coconut milk.  Wash the urid dal (200 grms) and rice (200 grams)- dry on a flat platter.  Dry roast on tava and powder in dry grinder till fine.  Knead the ground rice with urid dal and rice powder.  Add the other ingredients.  Put in chakli moulds and make chakli spirals.  Leave them for sometime to dry to enable easy lifting and dropping into hot oil.  Deep fry till golden.

Ladoos Galore {Rava, Rice and Besan}

There are so many different types of ladoos and we have made three for our ‘Bring On The Chef In You’  readers.   Please dont do a ‘Dip, Dip, Dip – which One Do We Choose’.   They are all simple to make…please try them this Christmas.   The Besan Ladoos are done in the microwave so you wont have aching arms from all that stirring that is needed in the original version.   Please make them and let us know how you liked them.

 Rice Ladoos

500 grams boiled rice.  Pick, wash, dry the rice.  Then roast on a pan/tava till  slightly brown.  Powder fine in a dry grinder and keep aside.  Grind together 250  grams of grated jaggery and  fresh coconut 1.5 cups;  coarsely.  Transfer to a large bowl, add cardamom powder and the roasted powdered rice.

Mix and make balls.   Keep aside some rice powder and roll the balls in the dried powder.  Dust away excess.   This makes about 20-24 ladoos.

Besan Ladoos

1 cup besan/gram flour, 7-8 tablespoons ghee,  3/4 cup powdered sugar (i used granulated sugar and powdered it in the dry grinder), 6-7 pods cardomoms,  a handful of almonds slivered.  

Sieve the gram flour twice, ensuring that no lumps remain.  Mix the gram flour and ghee in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high for 5-6 minutes; stopping at every 1 minute, stirring and putting the oven on again.  At the end of six minutes the mixture will be a reddish brown colour and emit a nice aroma.  Let it cool completely.   Transfer to a bowl, add powdered sugar,  cardamom powder and slivered almonds.  Form into balls.   Keep uncovered for 10-15 minutes so that each ball hardens.  If they are not round enough – you can do it now.   Garnish with nuts if desired.

Rava Ladoos

Rava (Semolina Ladoos)

3 Cups Rava (semolina), 3 tablespoons ground dry nuts (almonds/pista), 3 tablespoons ghee, 3-4 teaspoons milk, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons desiccated coconut, few saffron strands and crushed cardamoms (8).  

Drop saffron stands in milk and set aside.  Heat Rava/Semolina with ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and stir fry till the colour changes.  Mix in nuts, coconut and cardamoms.  When aroma arises- add the sugar and stir 3-10 minutes. Now pour saffron flavoured milk and remove from heat.  After mixture cools, grease palms with ghee and roll.  Keep on a flat platter  and store in an air tight box.

Nevrios / Sweet Puffs

This recipe comes from my Sister-in-Law,  Liz,  who is an expert in Kuswar making.   Her Nevrios are very white and have a crust which is  the ‘melt-in-the-mouth’  type ;).   I talked to her yesterday and she will be starting her Kuswar soon, so if I do get some pictures from her, I’ll post them here for you to know what am talking about.

The Nevrios which I made are nothing compared to the ones she makes – mine turned out a wee bit brown;  maybe the oil was too hot.   (Btw this is an old pic of the Nevrios that I made and which I had with me and am sharing it with you).

Filling:    1/4 kg soji;   1/4 kg dessicated coconut;  1/4 kg powdered sugar;  1 tbsp raisins (white ones) cut fine;  vanilla essence 1 tbsp or elaichi powder;  100 gms ghee

Heat ghee and fry soji on slow fire for about 5 minutes, stirring and moving it up and down in the pan.  Before adding soji, fry the cut raisins and keep aside.  Then mix with soji, the desiccated coconut and powdered sugar and mix well stirring on very slow fire.  then keep down and add the essence or elaichi powder.
The cover: 1/2 kg maida;  1/2 kg ghee
Heat about 100 gms ghee.  Let it cool.  Keep aside about 2 cups of maida for dusting and rolling.  Then mix the cooked ghee into the remaining flour till it forms like granules.  Use about 1/4 tsp salt and water in small quantities and knead well.  Make into small balls and roll out like puris.  Roll 25 at a time.  Then fill them with 2 to 3 tbspn full of the mixture (depending on size of the puri).  Seal the edge with water and press with the side of the palm with a circular firmness where the mixture is.  Cut round or just fold the edges in a design.  Cover with a slightly damp cloth so they do not break.  When ready, heat the remaining ghee (or oil) and fry on very slow fire.  [I use oil for frying].  Turn the other side, do not allow to get brown.  Retain the white look.  Cool before keeping in the container.
PS:  Frying should be done on very slow fire for a long time, in order to get the crispy effect like punjabi samosas and not turn too dark brown.  If the oil is too hot, then it will become brown quickly and be like soft puris.
There is another recipe in my book, which uses  (1 Kg of flour which is to be kneaded with plain warm water and  a pinch of salt – something like chappati dough) for the Nevrio Cover.  You could try that if you want to,  but I would recommend trying the one by Liz,   because it tastes really awesome.   

Walnut Fudge

May not be one of the  best looking fudges in town ;),   but taste-wise – simply mmmmmmmm !!!!!!.   Here is the recipe.

400 grams sugar, 250 grams grated walnuts, 1 tin condensed milk (397 grams), ½ ltr  fresh milk, vanilla essence -1 tablespoon,  3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons butter.    Put milk and sugar in a non-stick saucepan and heat till it thickens.  Then add walnuts grated, cocoa powder and essence.  Keep stirring till the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan.  Add butter, stir and remove from fire. Pour on a greased flat surface.  Roll out to thickness  you want and cut into squares.