Tag Archives: baking

Sushiba’s Nankatai

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I made this heirloom recipe a few days before Diwali
I’ve been going back to all sorts of memories from my childhood these past few weeks over the festive week.
I remembered my late grandmother – a quiet, kind, generous and demure woman that none could fault.

I love these images of her when she was young.
Nerali's Ba - sewing

Nerali's Ba

I loved visiting her in Durban during the school holidays. She lived in a small flat. Her kitchen was smaller than the size of my bathroom is…maybe just 5m2 in area. Despite this, food was always abundant. We always woke up to piping hot tea ( I think thats where I picked up my habit) and fresh thiki poori or thepla, with her famous home made pickled mangoes.

Late night cravings were satisfied with the best biscuits that never seemed to run out.

My granny… we called her Sushiba. She made the best nankatai – a fragrant spiced eggless Indian biscuit.
I spent days digging up my mums old recipe books looking for the recipe. Finally, I found it in an A5 feint-ruled notebook. The pages were yellow with age, and the recipe scribbled down in brief point form that I just managed to decipher.

It had been a long time since we last made nankatai. I was on a mission to make them for Diwali, for my family to slip into nostalgia. I made them slightly larger than my grandmother used to make them. Usually she made them bite sized.

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Although, I couldn’t resist adding a touch of pink to give them some colour, my heart just told me that next time I will leave them to their original colour. I’m not sure how to explain why…

Makes +- 20 biscuits
Prep Time: 10 minutes Baking Time: 20minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups ghee
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
4 cup plain cake flour
4 tbsp semolina
1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground elaichi (cardamom)
a handful or so of sliced or whole almonds
*food colour of your choice ( although, they’re beautiful when they’re left plain)

Method:

Cream the ghee and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Sift and combine the dry ingredients, except for the cardamom.
Slowly fold in the sifted dry ingredients until gently combined with the ghee mixture.
Stir in the cardamom.

Shape into little circles (about 3cm). Place them on a greased baking tray, and then gently push down with a fork.
Finish with a sliver of almond in the centre. I wanted to use whole almonds but didn’t have any in stock.

Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. You will be able to notice a golden change in colour.

Allow to cool, and sprinkle with glitter! Again.. I did this in the spirit of Diwali!

My mum was really impressed with my nankatai – something I did not expect at all.

A little tip she gave me: you know you’ve got it right when the nankatai shows tiny cracks on the edges, and melts in your mouth on the first bite.

Rojho enjoyed his Diwali treat;)

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Sunday Scones with Cinnamon Cream

If there is any reason to wake up on a Sunday at all…it’s breakfast!
Breakfast is my FAVOURITE meal of the day.

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During the week I’m usually pressed for time ( I need to wake up earlier!..something else I should work on!)
I mostly manage oats, a little bit of fruit and tea in a mug on my way to work.
If there were ever a drink-tea-and-drive contest, I’d win. I’ve mastered the art of non-spillage and perfect timing on my way to work, finishing an almost bottomless purple mug of my favourite masala tea.
On weekends, I can’t resist the urge to indulge in breakfast, more than any other meal.

My dog has recently learnt how to wake us up at 6am with constant desperate barking. He needs his morning fix of paw paw before he takes his mid-morning nap.
This morning, he couldn’t resist the smell of fresh scones in the oven, and waited patiently while maintaining this expression:

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How can one say no to this face??

These scones are really quick to make! I’d suggest making a double recipe to last you through the week:)

Ingredients: Prep Time: 15 minutes Baking Time 15 minutes Makes 15-18 scones

2 cups plain cake flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes ( I used unsalted but I’m sure salted will be fine)
3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled + 2 tbsp for brushing over

Method:

In bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles soil.
Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together in a ball. If you need extra liquid, add a tablespoon of milk.

On a lightly floured surface, gather the dough into a bowl and knead gently for two minutes. The dough does NOT need to be smooth at all,rather just combined.
Lightly roll the dough into a circle about 14mm thick. Cut dough into 7cm rounds with a lightly floured cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet about 2cm apart, and brush with buttermilk.

Bake until golden brown, for about 15 minutes.

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I couldn’t keep myself away from the scones as soon as I took them out of the oven.
I was almost heartbroken when I realised that we were out of strawberry jam and fresh strawberries!
I think that qualifies as scone-sin!

Before my family arrived for breakfast, I quickly whipped up some cinnamon fresh cream to go with the scones.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh cream
2 tbsp castor sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Whip the cream at high speed until it is soft and cloudy. Gently stir in the castor sugar and cinnamon.

Spread generously over a hot scone and be elevated to sunday breakfast heaven!

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High Fibre Digestive Biscuits

I really love digestive biscuits. Did you know that Prince William’s wedding cake was a digestive biscuit cake… another reason I’ve always wanted to make these biscuits;) Image

I’m also delighted to have been advised by a dietician that they’re the kind of biscuits that you should not feel so “guilty about”..unless your hand reaches for the biscuit tin for the third or fourth time in one go!;)

I love having digestive biscuits for breakfast , with some fruit and yoghurt — I will be posting my new favourite weekday breakfast sometime soon. Watch this space! I’ve been dying to make some at home.
I’m not particularly good at baking biscuits but I find this recipe which I adapted from The Little Loaf to be FOOL PROOF!

Ingredients: ( makes 36 biscuits ) 100g oats
100 g plain flour
4 tbsp wheat germ
4 tbsp whole wheat bran
100g Muscavado sugar ( or any brown sugar will do )
200g cold butter (chopped into small cubes)
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
6 tbsp cold milk ( I used low-fat , but you can use whatever you prefer)
Method:
Pop the oats into the blender and blitz until you achieve a finer texture.
Mix the oats, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl.
Rub the butter through until the mixture resembles a crumbly soil texture.
Add the milk and mix by hand to form a smooth dough. Store in an air-tight container or wrap in cling-film for 15 minutes in the fridge. After the dough has chilled, roll out to about 3-4mm.
I had to use a sprinkle of flour now and then to stop the dough from sticking to the surface and my rolling pin.
Cut into +- 5cm diameter circles and prick with a tooth pick, or any other decorative imprint if you wish.
Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
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Make sure you leave enough dough to make a special biscuit for your dog!
It wasn’t too difficult to wake Rojho up with the aroma of warm cookies. He devoured his digestive biscuit and wondered where he could find some more. Image
Enjoy!

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