Cardamon Rasmalai with Saffron; Vanilla and Nutmeg

I cheated for this, and used a packet. But frankly most of the Asian cooks I know do the same. You can buy the Shan ones from Asda for under £1. This was the perfect sweet note to follow our curry night, and calmed my tingling taste buds down after the fiery madras.

For 6-8 portions you need
1 packet Shan Ras Malai mix
5 tsp vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 litre of milk
500ml water
200g caster sugar
pinch saffron fronds
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated

Place the milk, water, sugar and saffron in a large pan and slowly bring to the boil. Stir every now and then to ensure the sugar melts evenly.

Make the ras malai following the packet instructions (tip powder into a bowl, add the oil and enough beaten egg to make a stiff paste).

Once the milk mixture has come to the boil, keep on a full flame and drop in small teaspoons of the ras malai mix (you can be pretentious and make them into quenelles if you want, or roll into balls). Cook for 5 mins until the ras malai has puffed up to 3-4 times its original size. Remove and leave to cool in a bowl. Reduce the milk mixture by half and then flavour with the nutmeg and vanilla. Pour the milk over the ras malai and leave to chill thoroughly before serving.

Black and White Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Snadwiches

This pic got rather a lot of likes on instagr.am the other day, proper food porn! And utterly delicious to eat too, if a tad messy! Making the cookies with vitalite not only makes them easier as you don’t need to remember to leave the butter out or faff about softening it if you forget; but it also gives them a better texture. Contrasting the dark bitter chocolate with the white sweet chocolate works really well. I prefer the two flavours to adding in milk chocolate too for triple chocolate cookies. This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies from Nigella Express.

For about 20 cookies, depending on size, you need

125g dark chocolate
150g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1tsp bicarb
½ tsp salt
125g vitalite
75g soft light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
350g white chocolate chunks or chocolate cut into chunks

Ice cream of your choice to serve.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie and leave to cool slightly.

Beat the sugars and vitalite in a free standing mixer until light and fluffy. Then add everything else, mixing thoroughly.

Place teaspoon sized blobs onto a lined baking tray. You should be able to get 9-12 cookies on a normal sized tray and they don’t spread that much whilst cooking. 

Cook in a moderate (170 degree) oven for 10 mins until cooked but not browned. Leave to cool on the tray for a few mins. If you try and move them too soon they will break but they will harden upon cooling. 

Sandwich your favourite ice cream in the middle and scoff. Nomtastic!

Chickpea Dhal (v)

Fuz and I had beef madras last night, but Lex is still veggie so I made him a quick and tasty chickpea dhal to have for his tea whilst we tucked into the rich beefy goodness. The dhal was a lovely side dish to our meal and Lex thoroughly enjoyed it too.

For 2-3 portions you need
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp rogan josh curry paste
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup red lentils
250ml water

Fry the paste in the oil for 2-3 mins until the oil separates and the aromas are released. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Simmer slowly for 20 mins or so until the lentils are cooked. Serve with rice and whatever else you fancy (in Lex’s case this is cucumber slices topped with mango chutney!).

Beef Madras

It’s soooooooo cold out, but this curry will keep you warm from the inside. Spicy and aromatic, it doesn’t take long to throw together but does need at least an hour of gently bubbling. If you have time, make in advance and then reheat to allow the flavours to really develop and mingle into the tender beef. This recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food site.

For 2-3 portions you need

Curry
1 kg braising steak cut into bite sized cubes
2tbsp tomato puree
300ml Beef Stock
2tbsp veg or sunflower oil
1 large onion, diced
Curry Paste
1/2tsp ground black pepper
1/2tsp chilli flakes
2 fresh birds eye chillies, slit up the length of the chilli, stalk left on
2tbsp ground coriander
2tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp turmeric
2tbsp of grated ginger
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
Begin by softening the onions in a large heavy based pan over a medium heat in the oil till cooked and golden. Stir often so they don’t burn. Once they are cooked, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate whilst you seal the beef.

Place the beef in the hot pan (you may need to do this in more than one batch to avoid over crowding the pan). Seal it and remove from the pan and place with the onions.
Place all the curry paste ingredients in the pan and cook for a few mins. Add everything else to the pan, including the tomato puree and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a slow simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for an hour, stirring every so often. Remove the lid for the last 10 mins to allow the sauce to thicken. Serve with rice and a nice cold beer or tall glass of sweet lassi. We also had some chickpea dhal alongside it as my son doesn’t eat meat.