Wednesday, 18 September 2013

In-a-hurry School Lunch :)

Forgot to get bread for today's lunchbox .. So made these pizza muffins in a rush. Alhamdolillah turned out great. Abdullah was happy and his excitement was the best reward 

Acha, so I was at a bit of a loss.. but am grateful that I had a few basics at hand.. which made the job easy..

This is what you need: 

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 egg
3/4 cup cooked and diced chicken, or minced meat
( I had chicken burgers - so fried them quickly, and chopped them small)
3/4 cup shredded cheese - I had Kraft
Seasonings: salt, black and white pepper, dash of dried basil
3 tblsp melted butter
4 tblsp pizza sauce ( I usually have a jar of pizza or tomato sauce in the fridge.. but you can also just use chopped tomatoes)

Sieve the flour with baking powder
Add salt and pepper
Add all other ings and mix well.
The whole lot will look a bit watery - dont worry, it needs to be like this, otherwise they'll dry out. They get firm, worry not 
Fill in a 12 hole muffin pan..
Bake in preheated oven at 180 for 10 mins.
As soon as they're done from inside, turn on upper grill and give them some colour..
Cool on wire rack..

You can add the following to make it more versatile:
Chopped olives
Chopped paprika
Green chillies
Fresh coriander
Fresh basil

Wonderful Cheesecake n Blueberry Tarts

Anyone want a Blueberry Streusel Cheesecake Tart?

The very special thing about this, is the cream cheese.. My children (read that as in, all of us!) absolutely love cheesecake. It was never a problem in Germany or Abu Dhabi.. but has become one here.. since I have not yet found Philadelphia .. and the other variety I have seen is too little, for too much money.. which I dont agree with. So, I've

 only made cheesecake with home made cream cheese. Which was alright, taste wise.. but not really yumm.. you know.. not quite 'cream cheese'..

Until HD turned up with a carton of Olpers Milk  Actually I wanted to make FroYo.. so made yoghurt with the Olpers milk and once set, poured out in a muslin (malmal ka kapra) lined sieve and put it in the fridge. for 2 days... and somehow, I never got round to make the FroYo - primarily cos my gang here make a noise about it..

So, here I had this one litre cream .. and as I tasted it, it was the bestest cream cheese ever.. So what better to do with it, than make cream cheese?

I am so happy about it - wonderfully creamy cream cheese, that too almost half a kilo, for 90 rupees only  Thats a far cry from the tiny some grams box u get for exorbitant prices..

Anyway, so this is the cake crust:

280 gm flour
150 gm ground sugar
226 gm butter - cold, from the fridge..

Short pulse the butter with flour
Add sugar, pulse again
If the mixture seems too dry, add just a FEW DROPS of ice cold water.
Mix till a dough is formed
Chill till needed

Or you could do it like I prefer to do and crumble the butter with the flour and sugar and just keep on kneading, until a dough is formed, no need for machines or water 

So now the cream cheese filling:

Whip 400 grm cream cheese till smooth
Add 2 eggs, mix in well
Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup, depending on how sweet you like it, ground sugar
Plus 1 tsp vanilla essence

Whip all together nicely, till u have a smooth cream. Chill.

Crumble topping
This crumble I have left-over from the Apple Crumble that I made..

115 grms butter
115 grms sugar
175 grms flour

Crumble all together, set aside

In muffin forms, press in small rounds of dough to form a tart..
Spoon in a heaped tablespoon of the cream cheese
And then plop on top a heaped tsp of BLUEBERRY JAM 
Spread some crumble on it.. and in the preheated oven at 180...
As soon as the tarts get some colour, turn on the upper grill to give the crumble some colour.. and there you have it.
Dont try and remove them instantly - they'll be very fragile. Let them cool a bit before u remove them from the form..

You can of course use fresh berries and make a sauce.. but I didnt have blueberries.. so the jam was perfect..

Fabulous Chunky Apple Jam

Jams are a tricky thing.. they can turn out wonderfully luxurious, like this one Alhamdolillah.. or they can be a disaster, as my poor family remembers only too well 

The trickiest part of it, as far as I am concerned, is the question, 'is it done?' .. well unless you have a jam thermometer or some such thing.. you'll have to rely on your common sense.. 

First the recipe, then I'll tell u about the common sense 

Remember to use the SAME bowl for water, sugar and apples. It can be as per your wish, large or small..

So this made 3 Horlicks bottles full .. and a teeny bit left over.

As follows:

First prepare the bottles:
Set a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add washed clean bottles and their lids to it. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bottles with a tong (chimta) and set on a CLEAN DRY cloth. Cover.

Now the jam:

7 to 8 small apples
(core and chop, no need to peel, in the machine. It should look shredded and make 6 bowls/cups)
4 to cups of sugar - 4 and a half is the ideal sweetness for me.. but thats as per your taste. You can go half half with white and brown sugar.. or all brown sugar.. entirely up to you
1 to 2 tsp cinnamon powder, as per your taste
1 tblsp butter
Zest and juice of 2 small limes or a small lemon
1 cup water

- Mix the water with half the lemon juice and butter
- Add the shredded apples to it and bring to a rolling boil
-As soon as the mix starts to boil. about 5 minutes, add the rest lemon, cinnamon and all sugar
- Bring to a rolling boil once again.. and let it keep cooking.. on medium heat
- Keep stirring.. you dont want it to burn. Wear oven mittens if you like, it can jump around a bit.. I didnt though, cant be bothered 
- In 7 to 10 minutes the jam should be thick enough. Do the test (described below) - and remove from heat.
- Fill the bottles and screw on the lids but not completely closed.. leave them a tad open..

Now, water bath:

Set a medium sized pot on the stove. Place the jars carefully - they will be hot! - in the pot. The pot must be small enough for the jars not to bang against each other but not so big that they fall around..

Carefully pour in enough water to reach to 3/4 of the bottle. Turn heat on. The water should boil and bubble.. once that happens, reduce heat and semi cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn off heat and carefully pick out bottles. You can leave them there until they cool if youre not happy picking up hot bottles like this..

The lid should have closed with vacuum. If not, nevermind, just screw it tight and once the bottles are cool, put them in the fridge..

Enjoy with whatever you want. Yes there is a lot of sugar in here. But when you read the ingredients list on the commercial jams, I still think this one is better. Its clean, I know EXACTLY what went into it.. no preservatives, no chemicals, no additives, no nothing. Besides, jam is used sparingly anyway.. no need to gobble by the cupful 

The Test:
Place a plate in the fridge for 10 mins. Once you think the jam is done, put a small bit on the plate and put it back in the fridge for a few minutes. Remove - run a finger in the jam. If it leads a trail and doesnt fall back in or is too runny, its done.

Do give it this jam a try. InshaAllah I am sure you will like it.. and inspite of the sugar content, I still maintain that it IS healthier than the store-bought version..

Quick and Healthy Soda Bread

Our Quick Breakfast Bread...

I made this Sunday night for the children's breakfast and lunch.. Made Abdullah a sandwich of it with egg spread for his lunchbox.. and the girls had it for breakfast.. Still some left and its still good.. Very quick to make and healthy too.. Here's how:

225g wholewheat flour = ata
225 plain flour = maida
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp soda bi carbonate = meetha soda
375 t0 450 ml buttermilk
(make your own buttermilk: 225 ml full fat milk plus 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice. Mix and leave to stand for 10 to 15 mins. Stir before using..Keep remaining in fridge and use soon - as in pooris )

Preheat oven to 230c/gas mark 8

Mix flours, then add salt and mix, then add soda and mix

Add buttermilk as needed, all the while mixing so get a soft crumbly dough

Turn it out on a floured surface and knead well with floured hands to get a smooth dough.

Place on washed cold oven tray and make a diagonal slit across, cutting through its thickest part. Prick a few holes inside.

Place tray in oven and bake for 15 mins. Turn heat down to 200c/ gas mark 6 and bake for another 15 mins

Turn the bread upside down and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. Its done when u knock on the base and it sounds hollow..

Wrap in cloth and stick the parcel in a plastic bag .. Leave to cool down.

Slice and enjoy with whatever you feel like 

Fragrant Apple Tea..

... wonderful fragrance through out the house... beware of the chips thieves :) The Making of Apple Tea 

I got a box of apple tea gifted, tea bags.. really fragrant and good to drink.. yet they give me heartburn. I wonder why? Even though the ingredients show it to be a pure herbal product.. But somehow it doesnt suit me..

So I thought, if they can make it, so can I  And so I did - Alhamdolillah. Its almost as tasty.. and loads healthier since I know exactly whats in it and can control all of it..

Here's how:

Wash and core lotsa apples.. I say lots since its a time consuming and lengthy procedure so better make a larger batch.

Dont peel them. Slice the apples as thin as possible.. the thinner the better.

Fill a bowl with ice-cold water and the juice of a large lemon.

Tip the apple slices in it for an hour.

Heat oven at 200. Place the slices on a grill - you know the oven ki jali- and stick it in the oven. You can cover the grill with baking paper or silver foil.. or stick a tray under the apples..

After 5 minutes turn the heat down to 70. And then go away. Go sleep or something. Come back after an hour.. and turn the slices over. Go sleep some more.. or read a few pages of your book.. and then turn the oven off.. IF by that time the slices are nicely golden brown and crisp.. warna continue..

Shuffle them a bit if you feel they're not browning evenly.. the goal is to have them crisp.

Let the slices cool down and crush them slightly (you may want to keep some to devour as chips.. )

Add to the crisps of 5 apples a 2 inch piece of cinnamon, broken in bits and 2 cloves. Shake around and store in an airtight box.

2 tsps of this mix to one cup boiling water and a half tsp of honey if you want it sweet... have it hot.. or chill it and drop in a few ice-cubes 

Alhamdolillah.. one of the best teas you will ever have - inshaAllah