Friday, 5 December 2014

My Creative Couscous Salad

There are various combinations and permutations for making a salad – I can literally pair couscous with almost anything to make a salad out of it. This is a super easy, light, fresh and vibrant salad. The best thing about it is that this salad is very low on carbs. Sometimes when I need it to behave like a comfort food, I just toss some grilled chicken to it.

You can add any other vegetables or salad leaves that you like. Use a little preservative juice from the jar of gherkin and jalapenos – they add an extra kick to the taste.  Also, I suggest using fresh peas because the stock that is used to cook the peas, deliver a very mellow sweetness to the juicy peas – I feel it gives a subtle liveliness to the peas.

You can always substitute couscous with cooked quinoa. Please do keep a check on the level of spiciness to the dish – I like my food extra hot, so I added chopped chilies, you can always forego the step.

1 cup chopped Tomatoes
1 cup fresh green peas
½ cup chopped onions
3-4 tbsp Jalapenos
3 tbsp chopped gherkins
10-12 chopped preserved olives
½ cup couscous
1 cup vegetable stock/ chicken stock
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chopped green chilies
Salt and sugar
Juice of 1 lime

Heat the vegetable/ chicken stock to a rolling boil. To the couscous, add garlic powder, salt and sugar, a little juice from the bottle of preserved jalapenos and gherkins. Drizzle the stock until it barely covers the small grains of pasta. Cover it with foil or cling film, without letting the steam escape. Leave it for about 10 minutes, it will be completely cooked.

In a separate pot, cook the peas in the stock. Once cooked, strain and keep aside.

In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients – including the cooked and fluffed couscous (use a fork to fluff the couscous). Generously, add a squeeze of lime for the zingy flavor.  This salad should be amazingly fresh and has the sweet and sour taste to it. It’s very addictive, once you start eating you won’t be able to stop; you’ll keep going back for another spoonful.

A deliciously healthy choice for dinner/lunch.. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Birthday Marble Cake

Before I even start calling this cake as “my marble cake”, I would like to state that the inspiration came from Rachel Allen and Lorraine Pascale. My version of the marble cake is incredibly easy to make. I did not use any fancy equipment in creating this amazingly attractive cake. The super smooth silky icing compliments to beautifully moist sponge inside.

This is the first time I tried making a marble cake and I guess it worked out perfectly – looked and tasted delicious.

For the Sponge:
200grams butter
150grams castor sugar
230grams plain flour
20grams cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 tbsp Vanilla essence
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder and set aside. Sift the cocoa mixture separately.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You will see that the color of butter mixture becomes very pale that when you add the eggs.  Add one egg at a time or beat the eggs and add a little at a time. Amalgamate the mixture completely before adding the flour. In case if you see your mixture splitting, add 2 tbsp of flour, it will stop it from splitting.

Use half a cup of the milk, reserving the other half. Also, reserve about 20 grams of flour. Add the rest of the flour and half cup of milk alternately.

The mixture shouldn’t look too thick. It should be dropping consistency. Divide the mixture equally. In one half of the mixture, add the sifted cocoa powder and half of the reserved milk. Mix thoroughly.
Add the reserved flour and milk to the vanilla (white mixture) and mix thoroughly.
By now you should have two separate sponge mixtures.

In a round lose bottom arrange the two mixtures using one scoop at a time. Alternate between the white and brown mixes. Once it done, tap a few times on the counter to settle it completely. Using a palate knife, cut through the mix giving it the marbling effect.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  

For the Icing:

200grams unsalted butter
200grams icing sugar
100grams melted dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
Few packets of Cadbury Shots or Maltesers (decoration)

Sift the icing sugar. Beat the butter and icing sugar for a good 5 minutes. It will fluff up completely. 

Add the vanilla and melted butter and stir to combine.

Separate the cake in equal halves and ice it generously. Cover the cake completely with this chocolate frosting. To decorate, arrange the maltesers or the chocolate shots on top of the cake. If you want you can completely cover the whole cake with these. But I just did it on the top.

Enjoy your birthday marble cake!!!! 
(I am terrible at Photography, thereby I completely ruined the actual shot where the marbling effect should have been evident)

Nonetheless, it is a stunningly beautiful cake !