Monthly Archives: March 2012

Pesto for the Purbhoos

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It has been raining these past few days. My mother’s little herb garden is flourishing…with over 10 different items to pick and choose from every day! There is nothing better than growing your own food, preparing it and tasting it’s  freshness!

Our basil is growing wildly, begging to be picked and transformed into a fragrant pesto!

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For a large jar:

a generous bunch of basil – say, 25ish leaves

1 cup of pine nuts

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese ( non animal rennet Parmesan is easily available)

3/4 cup (or more) of olive oil

salt

crushed green chilli

pepper

a pinch of mustard powder*

It’s so simple:

Throw everything into the blender and pulse until you get a choppy consistency.

If you wish to have a thinner pesto, add more olive oil, and blend until it is smoother.

Since I don’t include garlic (or onion) in any of my food, to add a bit of pungency to the pesto, a pinch of mustard does the trick!

I made this batch for my dear friends the purbhoo sisters!

Please make yourself as MUCH as you can, and enjoy in many ways!

Toss a little bit of pesto with some hot pasta…my favourite! Add a bit of fresh cream for a creamy pesto sauce, or enjoy plain, like I do!

Dress a salad with it

Or make the cheesiest mozzarella pesto sandwich

Toss with some fresh diced tomatoes, and pile it up on toast.

The possibilities are endless!

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The next best thing since sliced bread…

Is baking your own!

I’m no expert when it comes to baking breads..but this basic bread recipe can be pulled off by ANYONE!

I couldn’t miss the chance to bake a warm fresh loaf on a rainy day like today. And also, I’d rather do THIS than any other REAL work that I have to do:)

The basics:

600g of white bread flour ( or you can just use plain white flour if you don’t want to hunt for stone ground bread flour)

30g instant yeast

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp salt

350ml luke warm water

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I just wanted to show off my new scale! 🙂

Bake away!:

In a large bowl, sift half of the flour and make a well in the center.  Add the yeast, sugar, salt and water and stir in the centre of the well,  gently with a fork.

Slowly sweep the flour in from the sides. You should be getting a porridge-like consistency.

Add the remaining flour bit by bit, while continuing to mix.

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At this stage, it looks something like a cloudy ball of dough

Now the part where you get to de-stress.

Use your hands, dont be shy! Knead the dough with dedication, until its as smooth as you can get it.

Try to avoid cracks, as they might prevent you from getting a beautiful slice.

Take the dough out and put it aside for a minute. Oil the bowl lightly with some extra virgin olive oil, place the dough in the oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and keep in a warm place for about an hour.

After an hour has passed, knock down the dough. Take all the stress of the week out on that dough!

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Let it rest and rise for another 30min.

Knock down again, and kneed lightly into shape. Place in a loaf pan and bake at 180 for 50 mins.

Let it cool before slicing.

Serve fresh with loads of butter and a warm mug of Chai! I couldn’t resist a nice chunk of it when it was straight out of the oven!

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Ahhh..nothing like fresh carbs!

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Bye Bye Mango

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So it’s that time of year again when we say goodbye to the golden Summer sun and South Africa’s best: ripe fleshy mangoes. At the same time, it’s time to give Winter a warm welcome. I present you, a twice edited , Warm Mango Tart !

You will need:

an approximate 16cm round of puff pastry ( this depends on the pan in which you )

3 ripe mangoes

1 lime

4 tbsp Mascarpone cheese + extra to serve

3 tbsp butter

2/3 cups white sugar

1/2 cup water

Simply:

Roll out the puff pastry, prick here and there with a fork, and bake for 10mins.

While that’s baking, peel the mangoes and thinly slice neatly (remember you are going to fan this out eventually). You will notice that not all of the mango comes off with the neat slicing.

Chop off the remaining chunks and simmer in a sauce pan over a low flame, with 2 tbsp of water. Add a dash of vanilla essence and a sprinkling – say, a teaspoon , of sugar. Let this simmer for about 7minutes until it resembles a mushy puree. Remove from the stove to allow it to cool a little. While this is happening, melt the butter.

Take out the pastry from the oven. You will see that it will need futher baking. Spread the Mascarpone generously over the surface, followed by a 4tbsp of the puree.

Fan out the mango slices neatly, and drizzle the melted butter over the mango slices. Sprinkle a tbsp of sugar over the tart and pop it in the oven for another 20-23 minutes.

While the tart is in the oven:

Boil the water and remaining sugar over a medium flame. Add the juice of half a lime and stir gently. Leave it on simmer until you notice a syrupy consistency. Keep aside to cool.

Once you have removed the tart from the oven, let it stand for 15 minutes. If you are making this dessert in winter, it is best to serve warm. Pour the syrup over the tart, and sprinkle the zest of one lime over it.

Serve with a generous dollop of Mascarpone and maybe a scoop of Nutella;) My tart didn’t survive my dad’s lack of patience to eat it – hence no plated picture!

Enjoy!

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