Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Beetroot Paneer

If you follow my blog you will know I am quite partial to beetroot. Recently I was strolling past Iyer's Indian restaurant and I saw that one of the specials they had that day was beetroot paneer. I am not sure if they meant paneer served with beetroot or like a beetroot bread stuffed with paneer but either way an idea was hatched in my head to make beetroot flavoured panner.

To make this you just need:


  • Some beetroots (shocker)
  • Lemons
  • Milk
  • A little yogurt
I started by making my beetroot mousse which I posted about before here. This is what I used to flavour the paneer. Then to separate the curds and whey in the milk I used the same method that I posted about here.Then I mixed the curds and the beetroot mousse together in a muslin cloth.



Hang the cloth for around an hour to let any excess liquid drain out. It will be an amazing vivid pink colour.



Then you just need to press the paneer. This time to make it have a nice shape I used a metal ring. This had a good affect for prettyness but it wasn't as firm as the last time I made it so I think I should have put something that pushed down directly on the panner in the ring. But yeah it looked pretty....






It even matched my nail polish....


So I was really happy with how it looked but it could have tasted a bit more beety so perhaps I'll add more beetroot mousse next time or maybe even some chopped beets. I also wasn't sure what to do with it. I fried it up and mixed it with some cocount milk but it could have been better. I think serving it with some sourdough or some form of dosa would be better. So this one's a work in progress lads....

Christina, x

Vegan Rhubarb Ice-Cream

 So recently I've sort of fallen in love with rhubarb. I never used to really eat rhubarb before but when I worked in Cafe Paradiso rhubarb used to be served with custard and whenever there was a dodgy or ugly piece I would snack away on it and I was like 'oh rhubarb is delicious'. I saw an article on buzzfeed about vegan ice-cream so decided to try a rhubarb one. The original recipe is here.

I used the following ingredients:


  • Fairly big bunch of rhubarb
  • 600 mls coconut milk
  • I vanilla pod
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • Around half a cup of sugar
Start by making rhubarb syrup. Roughly chop the rhubarb.



Then simmer the rhubarb in some water for about 15 minutes or so. 


Keep cooking it until the rhubarb disintegrates. 


Then place the rhubarb on a muslin cloth and leave it to drain over a bowl.




Here is where I have a confession to make the original recipe said to leave the rhubarb to drip over-night but I guess I was feeling impatient or something so I just sorta squeezed the juice out. I didn't think it was that big a deal but then recently I was watching Saturday Kitchen and Raymond Blanc was using a similar technique to extract juice from tomatoes and he explicitly said that no matter how tempted you are you must not squeeze the cloth. I felt like he was staring right at me as he said it.....and I really don't want to disappoint Raymond Blanc so next time I will leave it over-night.

Make sure you keep the pulp that is left in the muslin cloth.


Transfer the rhubarb juice to a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar to the juice, the ratio should be around one sugar to two rhubarbs so it just depends on how much rhubarb you get. I got about one cup of rhubarb so I put half a cup of sugar.



Bring to the boil and then leave to cool. This actually is just a really nice syrup that you could use over regular ice-cream or for other desserts and it's a nice pink colour.

To make the ice cream mixture simmer the coconut milk over medium heat. Mix in the syrup and rhubarb pulp and whisk to combine.


You can use vanilla essence but Mar had actually brought all of ours to west cork so I used a vanilla pod.



Mix in the vanilla and then transfer the mixture to a glass metal bowl and place in the fridge for 4-6 hours. Then transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and let it churn away.



Then transfer the mixture to the freezer and that's it! If I'm honest I wasn't totally impressed with this ice-cream. It took forever to soften when I took it out of the freezer and I know I am totally stating the obvious here but well it just wasn't creamy.....I was hoping it would be similar to when I made my vegan chocolate cake and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. But to be honest  I would have preferred some gelato. I may try vegan ice-cream again, who knows maybe it would have been better if I didn't squeeze the cloth.....

Christina, x

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Gone Fishing

So if you live in Ireland you will know that we recently experienced a 'mini heatwave', naturally the best thing to do was to flock to the beach and that is exactly what I did.....



My friend came with me and she was mad to go fishing, like mad for it. I used to fish a fair bit in my youth when we had a boat but I hadn't done it in a while. My uncle kindly offered to take us out on someone's boat and we jumped at the chance. Unfortunately it wasn't as good as the days of my youth when we would be hauling in the fish, I actually only caught one fish but I guess that's better than nothing. My friend got two-go her! My uncle was taking the piss out of us so I was like well why don't you give it a go and of course he caught a fish that was about five times the size of mine almost instantly.....Anyway, we had the craic and that's the main thing and as my uncle said 'If you always caught stuff it would be called 'catching' not 'fishing'. We caught some mackerel and pollock, pollock is actually one of my favourite fish to eat so I was pretty delighted...here's our haul...




My mom then showed us how to fillet the fish including her 'wiggle' technique...






I fried up the mackerel instantly, simply seasoned with some salt and pepper. I lashed it on some buttered corn bread and it was absolutely delicious...



My mom deep fried the pollock in beer batter and it was so good, I used to eat pollock this way all the time when I was younger so it definitely brought back some good memories....




There is definitely something primal and satisfying about catching your own food and going home and eating it and I don't know why I haven't gone fishing in so long, if you live in Ireland you should get up and just go do it, even if you catch one fish it will be worth it!

Christina, x

Rosewater & Pistachio Sponge

So if you read my blog regularly you will know I am a massive fan of both rosewater and pistachio and that recently enough I had a nice rosewater and pistachio cake at Iyer's restaurant. So I decided to try make a pistachio and rosewater sponge that I saw the recipe for here. I was making it as a surprise for one of my best friend's birthday and even though I had been busy volunteering all week for the Cork Midsummer Festival and didn't get home until after midnight I was still determined to make it because nothing bates a bit of midnight baking......


To make the sponge I used the following ingredients:


  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 3ish tbsp rosewater-depends on how strong the one you are using is
  • 4 eggs 
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Start by creaming the butter and sugar together, that just means mixing them until you get a nice creamy and sorta pale mixture.






Then mix in the rosewater. I used some rosewater that I got at Mr.Bells at the English Market and it's really good and was really cheap like around €1.50.


I had other rosewater before that wasn't that strong and more expensive so down with that sort of thing. I think I put in around four tablespoons but I really do like rosewater, be careful not to put in too much though as it is a very strong flavour. 

 Then beat the eggs and gradually beat them in to the butter and sugar.



Then sieve the flour in to the mixture.


Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt until the mixture is nice and smooth but be careful not to over-mix.


 Then grease two small-ish circular baking tins with butter.


Then line the tins with parchment and pour your mixture in.


Then lash them in the oven. If I'm honest I was pretty shitless about making a sponge but it was actually ok you just have to trust your instincts. The original recipe said it should take about 22-25 minutes in the oven but mine took at least 35 minutes. I was really worried that they would be dry but they weren't at all so you just have to trust yourself and when it's nice and golden and you can stick a cake tester in and it comes out clean you should be grand.....



I left them to cool over-night and the next day I made the icing. As timing worked out I only had about 10 minutes to make the icing and assemble the cake so I abandoned the original recipe as it involved melting caramel-feck that. I just shelled and chopped up some pistachios, mixed them with butter, icing sugar and a little rosewater until I got a consistency that I was happy with.


Then just spoon the mixture on the top of one of the sponges and make yourself a lovely cake sandwich.


Dust it all off with some icing sugar and some roses, I stole some roses from the crazy cat lady next door cos I'm classy like that, I hope she doesn't read this blog........




It actually turned out really well and I would definitely make it again. It is actually a pretty big cake and can feed at least 10 people I'd say, well depending on who you hang out with I guess...Happy midnight baking everyone!

Christina, x