Chutney On My Mind

Since a friend brought us a basketful of lemons from his orchard recently, I have been on a chutney trail, starting with the lemons, of course.

Many prized bottles of this amber-toned delight have since unleashed its magical potpourri of flavours on the taste buds of chutney lovers, spurring us on to a chutney churning craze.

For the uninitiated, the word Chutney is derived from the Sanskrit word caṭnī, a term for a class of spicy preparations used as an accompaniment for a main dish.

The spices that go into making chutney originate from South Asian cuisine, which give rise to the most fabulous tastes when combined with some mixture of vegetable or fruit.

Chutneys may be either wet or dry, and they can have a coarse to a fine texture. As they come in a range of tastes, depending on where the recipes originated and perhaps evolved, here are some recipes to try. They all look good – and must surely taste magical!

Mango chutney, Apple chutney, Dips and spreads/chutney, Cranberry chutney, and not to be left out – Beetroot and Ginger chutney by Nigella Lawson!

Wishing you many happy hours of ‘chutney on your mind’.

Mary

Celebrating Easter

Having observed 40 days of Lent, we are now in the midst of three of the most significant days in the Catholic (Christian) calendar, referred to as the Triduum Sacrum which starts with Holy Thursday going on to Good Friday, until the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. Through the Triduum, we literally walk and journey with Christ from the celebration of the Last Supper, to the Agony in the Garden, through the Passion and Crucifixion, unto the celebration and joy of the Resurrection.

From a culinary perspective, the hot topic of Easter must surely be the universally known Hot Cross Buns, which, at the mere mention of the name, brings a catchy tune to mind of how this age-old nursery rhyme used to be sung!

We have a slip of a recipe from a cut out in the scrap book from many moons ago, but now with everything online, we thought we would share with like-minded enthusiasts, the search for the perfect home-made hot cross buns!

For something different, try one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes…. here is one of her regulars that caught our eye – the Easter Egg Nest Cake.

 If anyone has a better recipe for the hot cross buns, do feel free to share with all of us. We take this opportunity to wish one and all, a very Happy and Holy Easter.

Amen.

Made with Love…..

The joy one derives from baking is definitely addictive.

It all starts with a play on your mind – first, a vision of what you wish to create in your oven….which triggers your heightened senses – so that you almost ‘smell and taste’ it …(yes, even in your imagination). An assault on your senses. To put it simply.

It activates a call to action which engulfs the whole being……until the desired end-result is in your hands, while the freshly-baked aroma makes its way through the house, gently alerting everyone’s senses to its ‘arrival’. Being the all time favourite of a Kueh Lapis, it calls for a little applause too! 

And the final touch, before it is ready for presentation?  That is very subjective, and best expressed as ‘to each his own’.

For this particular occasion, we chose shades of lavender and purple, prettily contrasted with lemon yellow. Being a particularly auspicious occasion, some (being Chinese and all) might have preferred more reds, but we were happy with our choice (it was the period of Lent when the cake was made). To make up for the lack of celebrative red and gold, we cheered up the look with flowers that complemented  the brightly coloured set of ‘Happy Birthday’ candles. The final hurdle is, watching the looks of sheer indulgence light up the faces of those tasting a slice of your home-made heaven…mmm.. 

With that – the realization of what was first but an image in the mind’s eye – a delightful sense of achievement and satisfaction colours the air, much like the aura of a clear rainbow — until the next baking idea starts the mind on another creative adventure.

For all those who showed interest in this cake, we are happy to say that ‘it was made with love’. Amen.

Mary

Favourites from Mary’s Kitchen

As we all know, in Malaysia (or most of Asia), life is focused on good food – as some might say, it is a ‘national pastime’.  In Penang especially, people rave about the variety and quality of the local hawker fare. 

Happily, there is always something positively abuzz in our home and most of it revolves around food! Naturally, the heart of the home and the hub of activity is in Mary’s Kitchen, where her culinary expertise has won hearts (and tum-tums) far and wide.

Orders come in frequently for Mary’s Kitchen specialities which make up quite a list.  However, to share with all who made enquiries through our blog, here is a summary of ‘the top favourites’.

We thank the good Lord for all our blessings.

Mad about homemade ice cream (sans the ice cream machine…)

The basic ingredients to which you add the many flavours of your choice....

Influenced by cousin Pauline who is always on the lookout for ‘simple recipes’ (she happens to be a culinary whizz though is very humble about it all), we have been experimenting with Homemade Ice Cream – without the use of an ice cream machine) – and putting on a few extra pounds along the way.

Some say it is easier to buy luscious, creamy ice-cream off the supermarket shelves — but there is a certain sense of achievement in making it at home, especially without the use of a machine (as we don’t have one).

After experimenting with several recipes, the simplest ones boil down to the following bases, to which you just add the flavours of your choice:
1) Whipping or heavy cream + sugar   (2 cups cream: half – 1 cup sugar OR to your taste)  2) Whipping or heavy cream + condensed milk (2 cups cream: half – 1 cup condensed milk OR to  your taste)

The favourite so far, by popular poll (yes our friends and neighbours have helped share the calories):

Coffee + Kahlua Ice Cream (adapted from the following) http://therapeuticcrafting.blogspot.com/2011/07/easy-homemade-ice-cream-without-machine.html

2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup strongly-brewed coffee (or to your taste)                                                                                                                                                      3 tablespoons kahlua (or to your taste)

Whip the cream in bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, coffee and kahlua. Gently fold the milk mixture into the whipped cream.

Pour into a container and cover. Freeze at least 6 hours or until firm (please refrain from tasting it every half hour otherwise there will be nothing left by the time its ready for your guests). Serve with a biscotti or chocolate wafer (or anything else you might prefer).

Other recipes using cream and sugar, from these links might be of interest….

We tried the Lemon Ice Cream – yummy too …..http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2010/12/2-simple-secrets-to-making-luscious-ice-cream-without-a-machine-5-ingredients/

This recipe from Nigella – looks good….http:/www.nigella.com/recipes/view/no-churn-margarita-ice-cream-32

Happy experimenting…..!

Mary