Saturday, 27 December 2008

Vegetable Risotto

Well, I thought I'd try my hand at a risotto the other day. A real one with the right sort of rice and such. It was new to me. It's like an ultimate comfort food. I had to spend a while trying to figure out the rice to liquid ratio. As I was only cooking for one, and there's a lack of measuring equipment here. So I came to a good conclusion. Rice to water ratio is 1:4. So 1 cup of rice, 4 of stock. Anyway. Here goes.

Vegetable Risotto (Serves 2 appetisers, or 1 very hungry person)


1 cup arborio rice, 4 cups vegetable stock, Half an onion sliced, 3 cloves garlic sliced, Handful each of: broccoli, courgette, beans, carrot, pepper (All diced to about the same size), 3 tbsp. oil, Knob of butter, Handful of cheese


1. Heat the oil with the butter, and the onions and garlic, and fry until soft. 2. Add the vegetables [it doesn't matter if it's all at once or not], and fry them till soft. 3. Boil the water and add a stock cube [my favourite it OXO]. 4. Add the rice to the vegetables and mix until coated in oil. 5. Add the stock slowly. Let the water all be absorbed before adding more. When the rice is al dente, stop. 6. Take it off the heat and stir in your favourite cheese. A mature cheddar or parmesan work well. Et voila. You have risotto. I was really quite happy with it. A few notes. The stock. Add it half a cup at a time, and always stir it in. Don't worry if there's stock left over. Any vegetables can be used. It'll all taste great. Use a wooden spoon. The rice really does absorb a lot of liquid and expand. One cup is more than enough for one person. Enjoy!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Ginger Spice Icing

For the Chai Masala Cupcakes.

I found two ways of going about this. Either a cream cheese icing, or a buttercream. I tried out the buttercream.

Ginger Spice Buttercream Icing

6oz Butter

1/2 tsp. Ginger Powder

1/2 tsp. Garam Masala

10oz Icing sugar

Bit of hot water

1. Beat the butter till it's gone light yellow [or sunshine yellow, as I like to call it]

2. Mix the spices in with the sugar, and add that slowly to the mix butter.

3. Add the water slowly to the mix. It should go a nice smooth consistency.

For spreading onto the cakes, I put a dollop on, and spread it with the back of a bread knife [or a spatula].

Ginger Spice Cream Cheese Icing

I haven't tried this one [yet], but when I do, I shall post. You could effectively get a normal cream cheese icing recipe, and add the spices.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Spiced Chai Masala Cupcakes

Chai seems to have been quite the hit in the West. Only, chai literally means tea. So the title "Chai Tea Latte" you find some places is redundant, making it "Teatea Latte". The Chai Masala [as it kinda should be called], is pretty much a mix of "warming" spices, like cinnamon, cardamom, clove etc. That brewed with the tea releases a really nice, almost Christmassy smell. So I tried putting it into cupcakes. I got a basic cupcake recipe I've been using for who knows how long [so I can't reference it back to you, sorry], with modifications. Here goes.
Chai Masala Cupcakes. 240g Butter [margerine works fine, but use butter for best results] 400g Sugar 4 Eggs 225g Flour 1 tsp. Garam Masala 3/4 tsp. Ginger powder 1/8 tsp. Salt 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder 3/4 tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda 2 teabags 1 cup milk It sounds like a lot of sugar, but traditionally a lot WAS used to bring the taste of the spices out. As for Garam Masala, it can be found packaged in Indian grocers and the like. If you're going to make your own, heat cinnamon, cardamon [seeds], cloves, black peppercorns, allspice and star anise. Take a teaspoon of each, and heat till you can REALLY smell it. Then put it through a coffee grinder till fine. All ingredients should be at room temperature. Method. 1. Beat the butter till it's soft, then add the sugar.
  2. Beat for about 2-3 minutes until it's incorporated, and the colour has gone from the normal yellow to a pale yellow.
3. Heat the milk gently in a pan, and add the teabags. Infuse for about 5 minutes, on a low heat. Remove the teabags and allow to cool.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, whilst beating. Add a bit of flour each time you add an egg to prevent it curdling. If you're using an electric hand whisk, beat, stop, add the egg, add some flour, and beat.
5. Once it's smooth, add the powders [sifted], and mix till smooth.
6. Add the milk, making sure it's cooled down, and mix till smooth. All that's left is to spoon the mixture into cupcake cases. 2/3 of the way is more than enough. You can do less if you want the cylindrical shape to stay, and then fill the rest with icing.
I found that about 16 minutes at 190C was fine. At the 14minute mark, I put a kebab skewer [or toothpick in]. When it comes out clean, they're done.
I also find that leaving them in the tray till they're touchable helps with getting them out of the cases in the end. Otherwise half the cupcake is still on the paper.
With these, you get this gorgeous spicy aroma wafting through the house.  They go particularly well with Chai Masala [I'll upload a foolproof recipe shortly]
Frosting recipe will be up when I've perfected it. Enjoy =]