Occasional treat

Rose infused sweet Indian Fritters – Jalebi
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Makes about 24 125g plain flour 2 tbsp gram flour ¼ tsp baking powder  1/8 tsp ground turmeric 125ml natural yogurt 800ml cold water 450g caster sugar 1.5 tsp rosewater or 6 drops rose extract  400g ghee 3 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped   In a medium bowl, whisk together the plain flour, gram flour, baking powder and saffron. Add the yogurt and 150ml water and use a wooden spoon to beat together until smooth. Leave in the fridge overnight.  The next day, add the jalebi mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat it on medium for 10 minutes to develop the gluten in the dough. Whilst you beat the dough, start on your sugar syrup. Add 650ml  water, sugar and rose extract to a deep, wide saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a steady simmer until sugar has completely dissolved and has thickened to a syrup consistency – about 10 -15 mins. Remove from the heat and set aside. Heat the ghee in a wide pan with low sides, until around 170c in temperature. Pour the batter into a squeezy bottle and then squeeze spirals of batter into the hot oil to create coils. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side so that they turn golden and are slightly crisp. Scoop them out of the ghee, allowing any excess oil to drip off, then drop them into the sugar syrup for about 30 seconds so they are fully submerged. Lift out and lay on a wire rack. Once all done, sprinkle with pistachios and serve while still warm. 

White Chocolate Indian Fudge – Barfi
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Chocolate couverture is chocolate used for cooking which contains a high content of cocoa  butter around 30-40 percent. This fudge also a great way to introduce children to different spice flavours.   Makes about 8 pieces 150g white chocolate couverture 1 tsp unsalted butter the seeds of 4-5 green cardamom pods, crushed (optional) 150g full fat milk powder   Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Add a little boiling water to a saucepan and heat until simmering. Suspend the bowl of chocolate over the simmering water (this is known as a bain marie) and allow the chocolate to melt. Chocolate needs to be heated carefully to prevent it from seizing through overcooking. Once melted, set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan over a medium heat. Add the cardamom and mix well. Tip in the milk powder and continue simmering and stirring, for 3-4 minutes until the mixture begins to come together. Then add the melted chocolate and continue mixing or until the mixture becomes stiff and begins to leave the side of the pan and possibly leaves a sheen of the butter in the pan. Tip the mixture onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave it to stand for a couple of minutes, then use a wet palette knife or spatula, shape into a 10cm/4 in square about 1.5cm/ 1/4 inch thick. Cover and place in the refrigerator for half an hour. Using a sharp knife, cut the cooled fudge into eight 3 cm squares.  Serve immediately with coffee, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Indian Pistachio Ice Cream – Pista Kulfi
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Indian Pistachio Ice Cream - Pista Kulfi Serves 12 5 cups of full cream milk 2 level tbsp cornflour 1 tin condensed milk 1/2 tsp ground cardamon seeds kewra essence 1 tbsp pistachio nuts   Mix the milk and condensed milk stirring continuously. Make a paste of cornflour with 2tbsp of water and add to the milk mixture. continue stirring till it thickens. Remove from the heat and add the essence, cardamom and the nuts. Fill in the moulds and leave to set in a freezer for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Chocolate Orange Brownies
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Makes 12-16 squares   200g butter, softened 300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped 8-10 Orange Zest Spice Drops® 3 eggs 180-200g caster sugar 100g plain flour 50g cocoa powder the juice of 1 medium orange   Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 24x20cm brownie tin with baking parchment. Put the butter, dark chocolate and Orange Zest Spice Drops® in a non-stick saucepan and very gently melt over a low heat, stirring every now and then, until smooth – take care not to overheat it. Leave to cool down. Whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk until the mixture is pale, frothy and leaves a trail when the beaters are lifted. Gently stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and the orange juice and continue to whisk. Sift over the flour and cocoa, stir in. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool in the tin, then cut into squares.  

Christmas Bread and Butter Pudding
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Makes about 12 pieces   250g bread, a mixture of white and wholemeal is good 200g mixed dried fruit or mixture of sultanas and currants or 200g mincemeat 50g dark chocolate chips 40g mixed peel 300ml semi skimmed milk 1 egg, beaten 50g demerara or dark brown sugar 4 Lemon Spice Drops 6 Mulling Spices Spice Drops 50g butter, melted   Tear the bread into a large mixing bowl and add the dried fruit or mincemeat, chocolate chips, mixed peel and mixed spice. Add the milk.  Mix with a wooden spoon scrunch through your fingers to combine everything and to break up the bread.  Add the egg, sugar and Lemon Spice Drops® and Mulling Spices Spice Drops®. Stir well, then set aside for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak all the flavours. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Butter and line the base of a 20cm non-stick square cake tin.  Stir the melted butter into the bread pudding mixture.  Then tip into the tin. Bake for 1 hour or until firm and golden brown. Check half way through cooking. If the pudding starts to brown too much, you can cover it with foil and continue to bake. Turn out of the tin and strip off the paper.  Cut into squares and serve warm with a drizzling of single cream.    

Chocolate Fondant
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Serves 6 25g butter, for greasing 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder, for dusting 100g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped 100g butter, cut into small pieces 100g caster sugar 2 whole eggs 2 egg yolks 100g plain flour   Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 3. Butter six ramekins (about 7.5cm in diameter), then dust liberally with cocoa, shaking out any excess. Slowly melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl set over a pan of hot water, then take off the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Whisk the whole eggs, egg yolk and sugar together until pale and thick, then incorporate the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour. Divide the chocolate mixture between the ramekins and bake for 8-10 minutes. Turn the chocolate fondants out on to warmed plates. Dust the tops with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Poor Knights of Windsor
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Serves 4 2 eggs, lightly beaten 50ml milk 2 tsp vanilla extract a pinch of ground cinnamon 2 tbsp golden caster sugar 50g tub full fat soft cheese 1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted 2 tbsp cherry jam, blackberry compote or any other preserve 4 slices, day old white bread 25g butter Put the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and golden caster sugar into a large deep dish and whisk together. Beat the soft cheese with the icing sugar until it is spreadable. Spread the soft cheese over 2 slices of bread, then add the jam or preserve. Sandwich with the remaining bread. Submerge the sandwich into the egg mixture and allow to sit for 30 seconds before carefully turning it over and soaking the other side. Melt the butter in a large frying pan until foaming, then cook the sandwiches for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and slightly puffed. Slice in half and serve with more jam or preserve and a scoop of ice cream if you like.

Date Shake
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Serves 2 1 cup dates, such as deglet noor or medjool 1 cup milk 2 cups quality vanilla ice cream Pit and chop dates. Put the dates and milk into jar of a blender and purée until smooth. Add the ice cream and purée again. Divide the shake between 2 tall glasses.

Chicken in Hoisin Sauce
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Serves 2 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin pieces 2 tbsp sunflower oil 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 85g broccoli florets, washed (about 5-6 florets) 4 mushrooms, sliced 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced at a diagonal 1 tsp rice wine vinegar Pinch of salt and sugar (optional), to taste Marinade: 1 tsp rice wine vinegar 1 tsp cornflour Sauce: 2 heaped tbsp hoisin sauce 2 tsp dark soy sauce 1 tsp sesame oil 1/4 tsp generous pinch white pepper 1 tsp cornflour 1 tsp rice wine vinegar 8 tbsp water   Marinate the chicken with the marinade for about 10 minutes. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Whisk the mixture well and set aside. Heat up a wok and add the oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic for about a minute. Add the chicken and continue to stir-fry for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is white on the outside. Add the carrot and fry for a couple of minutes more. Mix in the broccoli and continue stir-frying for a minute. Tip in the mushrooms and fry for a further 2 minutes. Pour in and the sauce (stir it before using) and stir to mix well with the other ingredients in the wok. When the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked, add a pinch of salt and sugar to taste, if using, dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.

Rum Bread and Butter Pudding
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This makes a change to the traditional bread and butter pudding and adds that festive touch by using Italian panettone. Half a teaspoon of  vanilla extract can be added to the custard for further indulgence. Serves 4 60g raisins 1 tbsp orange zest 3 tbsp dark rum 200ml milk 100ml double cream 2 eggs 30g caster sugar 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 30g butter, softened 300g fruit bread or panettone, sliced Soak the raisins and orange zest in the rum. Put the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring up to boiling point. Then remove from the heat. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and strain the cream and milk mixture into the eggs, stirring continuously. Strain the liquid from the raisins orange zest and rum mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Set aside the raisins and orange zest.  Mix together the sugar and ground cinnamon. Liberally butter a pie dish and butter the slices of panettone. Fill the dish with a layer of buttered panettone, then scatter with a third of the cinnamon sugar and half of the rum-soaked sultanas and orange zest. Repeat this with the next layer, then top with the final layer of panettone butter-side up. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Slowly pour the custard all over the panettone and leave to soak for 30 minutes.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/360°F/gas mark 4.  Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes or until it is just set and golden-brown. Serve warm or cold with double cream or ice cream.

Kolhapuri Lamb Masala
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This dish comes from Maharashtra in western India and is a recipe that works well in the winter because of its robust spice blend consisting of warming (garam) spices. This can be served with plain basmati rice or some plain naans. Image by Monir Ali. Kolhapuri Masala Ingredients: Serves 4 500g stewing lamb  2 tsp crushed garlic  1/4 tsp tamarind concentrate 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp turmeric 3 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil 2 tbsp Kolhapuri masala (see below) 125ml coconut milk For the Kolhapuri Spice Blend: 4-6 dried red chillies 1 tbsp dry coconut or desiccated coconut 1 tsp coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds a pinch of poppy seeds (optional) 1/4 tsp brown mustard seeds 1 tsp black peppercorns 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds 1 bay leaf (optional) 7-8 cloves 1/4 tsp fennel seeds 1/4 tsp chilli powder a pinch of nutmeg (optional) First, place the lamb (or your choice of meat) in a bowl, add half of the crushed garlic, tamarind concentrate, salt and turmeric, mix well and set aside to let the flavours infuse.  Then for the Kolhapuri Masala spice blend, Heat a frying pan on a medium heat, add all the spices except for the nutmeg, Dry fry the spices for a couple of minutes, this will warm up the spices and allow them to release their full flavour. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, before placing them in a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar and blend to a medium to fine powder. Mix in the nutmeg, if using. With your spices ready, heat the pan with a little olive oil, sauté the remaining garlic until slightly brown, tip in the Kolhapuri masala and mix well. Add the marinated lamb, let the meat brown all over, stir in the coconut milk, then simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes. 

Lemon Bars
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These are like a double layered shortbread which are sweet and tangy. The base is baked first and then the lemony layer is placed on top and baked further for a once in a while treat.   Makes approximately 16 pieces   For the Base: 225g butter, softened 65g icing sugar (confectioners') 225g plain flour For the Filling: 4 eggs, beaten 330g caster sugar 4 tbsp plain flour 4 tbsp lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon zest (approx 1 lemon), finely grated Preheat the oven to 180C.   Blend the butter with the icing sugar and the 225g plain flour. Place the mixture into a baking tin (approx 13x9x2 inch). Bake in the centre of the oven for 18-20 minutes until almost firm. Remove from the oven. For the filling, blend the eggs with the caster sugar, the 4 tablespoons of plain flour, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Pour over the baked layer. Return the tin to the oven and bake for 20 minutes more. Loosen around the edges, and cut into 16 pieces. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.

Oaty Apple Crumble
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This is a great way of using up leftover apples in your fruit bowl. I've added oats for that extra crunchiness and a little roughage. I've also used less sugar for the topping as is traditionally used. Serves 6 For the crumble: 150g plain flour 70g rolled oats 80g brown sugar 130g vegan margarine or butter   For the filling: 350g apples, some peeled, cored and cut into 1cm pieces 30g brown sugar 1 tbsp plain flour A generous pinch of ground cinnamon Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.   Place the flour, oats and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Taking a few cubes of margarine or butter at a time rub into the flour mixture. Keep rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Place the fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir well being careful not to break up the fruit.  Butter a 24cm/9in ovenproof dish. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.  Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling.  Serve with custard.

Kerala Chicken Stew
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Keralan cuisine has adopted colonial British stew recipes, adding spices to make them their own. In southern India, stew is made with coconut milk and Malabar Coast spices. Serves 4 4 green chillies, roughly chopped, plus 2 more, slit lengthways, to garnish 1/4 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp ground coriander 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon  1 tsp peeled and finely grated root ginger  4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 1/4 tsp salt 4 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil 5-6 curry leaves (optional) 2-4 cloves 2 onions, thinly sliced  1 kg chicken drumsticks and thighs, skinned and pricked 200ml coconut milk In a blender or with a pestle and mortar, blitz the chillies, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and salt with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a coarse paste. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the curry leaves, if using, cloves and onions and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the paste and fry for a minute. Tip in the chicken pieces and fry for 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until the chicken is white on the outside. Rinse out the blender or mortar that contained the paste with 200ml cold water. Mix this with the coconut milk. Pour over the chicken and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Garnish with the slit green chillies and serve hot with lemon rice.

No Bake Eggless Lime and Ginger Cheesecake
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This is a cheesecake which requires no eggs and no baking. I've added extra fresh root ginger to make it more zingy but you can omit it if you'd like the flavour to be softer. Serves 4 200g pack stem ginger cookies or ginger nut biscuits, crushed 50g  butter, melted 2 x 250g tubs of mascarpone cheese 40g icing sugar, sifted finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes 1 tsp peeled and finely grated root ginger   Grease and line with parchment paper, an 18cm (7in) spring sided or loose-bottomed cake tin. In a bowl, mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter and press into the base of the cake tin. Put the mascarpone, icing sugar, lime zest, lime juice and ginger in the bowl and beat together with a fork until well combined. Then spread evenly over the biscuit base. Cover with clingfilm and then put in the freezer for 30 minutes to allow the cheesecake to set. Remove from the freezer and serve.

Chicken Jambalaya
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Serves 4 2 tbsp olive oil 2 chicken breasts, chopped 1 onion, chopped 2-4 garlic cloves, crushed or 2 tsp garlic puree 1.5 tbsp Cajun seasoning 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp smoked paprika  250g long grain rice, such as basmati 450g can plum tomatoes 500ml chicken stock 1 red pepper, thinly sliced   Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid and sauté the chicken breasts for 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove and set aside. Tip in the onion and cook for 4-6 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning, ground cumin and smoked paprika and cook for 5 minutes more. Stir the chicken back in with the rice, add the tomatoes and the chicken stock. Mix in the pepper. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rice is tender.

Dumpukht Lamb Biryani
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There are hundreds of varieties of biryani and the dum pukht biryani is the method of cooking the dish in a sealed vessel or spherical pot made from clay or steel known as a handi. A clay saucer is often used as the lid and placed on the top of the pot or vessel. The lid is sealed with a paste or a homemade putty dough created from kneading together chapati flour (atta) and water. That is the only purpose of the dough and nothing else. Although the dough seal is edible, traditionally, it wouldn’t be eaten. If there is no lid then that is also made by rolling out some dough and placing the lid on top of the mouth of the pot or the cooking vessel. The sealed vessel is then placed on hot charcoals or a hob until the rice is completely cooked. The heat creates the steam, condenses and rolls down the curved walls. Dum means warm breath denoting the steam and the pukht means choking the steam and preventing it from escaping.   Serves 4   FOR THE SPICE BLEND - GARAM MASALA 1 piece cassia bark or cinnamon, 5cm/2.5in length 6 bay leaves 6-8  green cardamom pods 4 cloves 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp coriander seeds 1/2 tsp black peppercorns   22-24 cashew nuts, roasted 600g boneless and skinless chicken breasts or stewing lamb, cut into bite-size chunks 2-3 green finger chillies, finely chopped 3 tbsp natural unsweetened yogurt 6 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tsp peeled and finely grated root ginger 1 tbsp lemon juice 7 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil ½ tsp salt 3 medium onions, finely sliced 400g or 2 cups white Basmati rice, or any other long-grain rice 500g wholemeal chapati flour, plus extra for dusting  4 tbsp full-fat or semi-skimmed milk a generous pinch of saffron strands (about 1 strands) 2 black cardamoms (optional) 1 tbsp butter or ghee, melted a few mint leaves, washed and chopped   TO MAKE THE SPICE BLEND (Garam Masala) Heat a dry skillet or frying pan over a medium low heat until you can feel the heat rising. Add the cinnamon stick or cassia bark, bay leaves, and green cardamoms and roast for 30 seconds, shaking the pan. Add the cloves, cumin and coriander seeds and black peppercorns and continue roasting, shaking the pan, for about 1 minute longer, or until you can smell the aroma of the spices. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately tip in the spices onto a plate and let cool completely. Transfer the spices to a spice mill and blend until finely ground. Store the mixture in an airtight container, away from sunlight, up to 4-6 months. Put the frying pan back on the heat and add the cashew nuts. Toast for about 5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside. Marinate the meat Place the meat in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the spice blend (garam masala), green chillies, yogurt, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, 1 tbsp of the oil and the salt. Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour. Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a heavy based pan, and fry the onions for 5-7 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. PARTIALLY COOK THE RICE Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold running water and place in a pan with 1 litre or 4 cups of just boiled water. Cover and boil for 8-10 minutes or until the rice is half to three quarters cooked. The grains should be soft on the outside but still hard in the centre. Place the chapati flour in a bowl and add approximately 200ml of tepid water. Stir until the mixture forms a soft dough. If the dough is dry and does not come together, add 1-2 tablespoons of water. Knead the dough by clenching your hand into a fist, then wet your knuckles and press them repeatedly into the dough, pressing against the side of the bowl, until a soft smooth dough forms. This should take about 10 minutes. Warm the milk and place the saffron strands in the milk and set aside. The flavours will begin to diffuse. If you’re cooking the biryani in a casserole dish that is not hob proof or cannot be placed onto direct heat, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan and add the black cardamoms, if using. Fry for 30 seconds until you can smell the aromas. COOK THE MEAT Tip in the marinated meat and fry for 15 minutes until well browned. Stir in half of the fried onions. Mix well. Take half of the dough and roll it out on a floured surface until it forms a long sausage about 2.5 to 3cm thick and long enough to go around the circumference or rim of the vessel in which you are cooking the biryani. Grease the base of the large heavy-based casserole or pot which has a lid with the butter or ghee. ASSEMBLE THE BIRYANI Spoon half the meat mixture into the vessel followed by half of the parboiled rice. With a spoon, pack the rice firmly into the casserole or vessel. Spread over half of the quantity of of the cashew nuts. Sprinkle over half of the saffron milk and half of the remaining fried onions. Repeat the process ending with a layer of the rice, the remaining cashew nuts, saffron milk, leftover fried onions and mint leaves. The top should be the layer of rice. SEALING THE POT Then take the sausage shaped dough and place on top of the edge of the rim of the vessel. Take one end of the sausage shape and feed around the rim of the vessel, pressing firmly as you go around to create a circular, spongy and squashed seal. Make sure the rim is completely covered with the dough. Flour the surface again and roll out the remaining dough until it’s large enough to cover the entire mouth or opening of the vessel. It should be about 3 to 5mm thick. Carefully place on top of the mouth of the vessel and loosely cut around the pot leaving a 2-3cm lip of dough all around. Just like you would when making a pie covering. Press the dough cover firmly around the circumference of the vessel squeezing and pinching the dough into the dough seal. If the vessel is hob proof, place it directly onto a hob on a low heat for 20-25 minutes. If the vessel is oven proof, place it in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes. For both methods, the dough will begin to change colour and the ‘pie lid’ will begin to rise because of the trapped steam within. Turn off the hob or remove from the oven. Carefully, cut out half way around the circumference of the pie lid. Watch out for the steam that will be emitted as you break the seal of dough. Then with a pair of tongs, prize open the lid.  Spoon the biryani onto a plate and place the raita on the side of the plate or in a small vessel. Serve hot. The biryani can be stored in the fridge covered overnight and reheated once.

Apricot Nut Dessert
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Apricot Nut Dessert - Malai Khumani Malai Khumani is a popular recipe that was created in the princely southern state of Hyderabad. The sweet tooth of Hyderabadis is legendary. No meal is ever complete without a sweet and this dessert is a favourite at weddings, when the fresh apricot stone’s kernel is removed and used as a garnish. It can be served with cream, custard or ice cream.   Serves 4   50g caster sugar 250g dried apricots, finely chopped 2 drops rose extract or 1 tsp rose water or 1 tsp vanilla extract 200ml double cream, stiffly whipped 50g chopped pistachios   In a heavy-based pan, gently dissolve the sugar in 400ml cold water, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. Add 400g of the apricots and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Drain. Stir the rose extract, water or vanilla extract into the whipped cream. Fold the apricots into cream and spoon into 8 ramekins or serving glasses, Serve chilled, garnished with the chopped pistachios and the remaining dried apricots.

Food Safety and your barbecue
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That time is upon us and if you happen to be barbecuing then do have a checklist of things to do before you actually cook on the barbecue. Cooking food outdoors can increase the risk of food poisoning. It’s harder to keep foods very hot or very cold and to keep everything clean. However, with a little extra care barbecues can be safe as well. A little planning in advance helps to make cooking much more enjoyable. BEFORE Defrost frozen meats and poultry (in the fridge or microwave) fully before cooking, unless the cooking instructions state otherwise. Defrosting could mean the day before. Make sure all cooking and eating utensils are spotlessly clean before use. Sit the barbecue on a firm level surface away from buildings, shrubs and trees with room to move around it. Clean your grill with a sturdy wire brush before using it. Allow at least 45 minutes from lighting up the barbecue and make sure you use enough charcoal to when you start cooking. Wait until the flames have subsided and the coals are glowing red with a coating of powdery grey ash before you start to barbecue. Once the barbecue its alight never leave it unattended. Oven cook large batches to make sure they are properly cooked before finishing on the barbecue for that chargrilled taste. Sprinkle rosemary or thyme onto your coals to give your food a lovely herby flavour or a few cinnamon sticks for an Indian taste. Don’t leave perishable foods out in the warm air. Once outdoors, perishable foods should be kept cold in a cool bag with ice packs until they are ready to cook or eat or better still leave in the refrigerator if at all possible. Trim fat off meats to make them lean. Wash hands before touching foods and after handling raw foods, especially raw meat and poultry. Place a sheet of foil on top of the grill when you’re cooking delicate items. Use tongs instead of a fork to turn meat as this keeps in all the flavoursome juices. Wash hands before touching food. Clean all cooking and eating utensils and work surfaces after use. Have all the utensils and equipment you need before you start to cook. DURING Keep foods to be cooked, away from foods which are ready to eat. Keep raw and cooked meats apart. Don’t handle cooked food with utensils that have touched raw meats. Remember to wash your hands after handling raw meat. Wash salads and raw vegetables well to remove all traces of soil and any insects. Don’t prepare these foods too far in advance. Keep meats, salads and other perishable foods cold until it is time to cook or eat them. Keep serving bowls covered to protect food from dust and insects. Brush food lightly with oil to prevent sticking but don’t brush the grill itself, it will burn your brush. It’s best to cook food on a preheated grill, as this sears (browns on the outside) it and prevents sticking. If you have an adjustable grill, sear your meat over high heat first then move to a lower heat to finish. Make sure vegetarian foods are kept separate from non-vegetarian raw foods before cooking and also on the grill. Shake off marinade excess to avoid flame flare ups before putting on the barbecue. During cooking, if food starts to burn on the outside, raise the grill height or reduce the heat of the charcoal (dampen coals slightly or partially close air vents). Turn your food regularly on the barbecue to ensure even cooking. Test to see that meat has cooked properly by pressing with your finger - it feels more resistant as it cooks. When you pierce the thickest part with a small sharp knife, the juices should run clear. Undercooked burgers, chopped or minced meat, sausages and poultry can be a serious health hazard, so take extra care to cook them so that they are piping hot throughout. Never eat these meats rare. If possible, pre-cook all poultry in the oven, then take them straight to the barbecue to finish off. Everyone should wash their hands before eating. Eat food as soon as it is ready. AFTER Any left-overs should be stored in clean, covered containers in the fridge and eaten within 48 hours. Throw away any perishable food that has been left out at ambient air temperature for more than a couple of hours. Put all food scraps and used paper plates into a covered rubbish bin. Thoroughly clean all cooking and eating utensils and work surfaces after use. Make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it and that there are no glowing embers. Empty cold ash onto bare garden soil. Never put it in the dustbin.

Potato and Gram Flour Fritters – Aloo Pakora
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This is another way to eat a street food snack known as pakoras which are extremely moreish so I warn you to eat in moderation and make them on special occasions such as a tea time get-together. Serves 2 sunflower oil for deep-frying (approximately 500ml) pinch of coriander seeds, slightly crushed pinch of turmeric 1/4 tsp cumin seeds 1/4 tsp chilli powder 1/4 tsp salt 25g gram flour (besan) 150g fluffy or smooth potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced   Put the deep-frying oil into a saucepan and set it on the hob to heat or in a deep fat fryer at 180C. In a bowl, mix together the spices and salt with the gram flour. Add 50ml of water and stir it into a thick paste. Drop a few potatoes into the batter and roll them around to coat them in it.  Check that the oil is hot enough: with a spatula, let a drop of of batter carefully fall into the oil: if it splatters or sizzles, it is ready. Drop the coated potato slices into the oil and fry for a few seconds, then tun them to cook the other side. Lift them out on to some kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Repeat until all the potato slices are cooked. Serve as snacks with ketchup or any of your favourite chutneys.