Desserts, baby

IMG_1123.JPG1. A dessert that worked.

This is from Indian Made EasyThey’re carrot and orange balls, where those things have been simmered in milk until they go mushy and then the mush is fried in butter and cardamom for a while. Then the mixture is formed into balls, once cold, and then drizzled with chocolate and pistachio (which is what I tried to do artistically on the plates at the back). They were delicious.

2. A dessert that didn’t work.IMG_1128.JPG

Recipe from BakeClass. What I really have to say here is I HATE YOU SPONGE. I really thought that I had mixed it properly – there were no gloopy bits in the mixture – and I thought I had cooked it long enough, because it looked the right colour and it sprang back when touched. It had risen and everything! But then when I put it on the tea towel I noticed that it immediately stuck. And then after I unrolled it, spread it with jam, and went to roll it again off the towel… well. It stuck a lot.

Roti experiment

Using the recipe in Indian Made Easy, we decided to run a roti experiment.

Actually it wasn’t deliberate; it was because we made the dough as written and realised it would make eight pieces, which would be too much for two people for one night.

Anyway: we made the dough, and we cooked four of the roti, and they were lovely; finished them with some melted butter and everything. Then, my beloved had already rolled out an extra one, but we realised that cooking and reheating the next night would probably be sub-optimal. This is when the experiment was hatched.

What would be better: to pre-roll roti, or to leave the dough in balls to be rolled out the next day?

Would roti made the next day even be ok?


The pre-rolled roti: intriguingly, the dough itself had a greyish tinge, which was odd; my beloved wonders if the air had gone out of it. At any rate it did not puff up as well when cooked, and actually went a bit transparent while cooking which it had not the day before. Very odd. Tasted ok; definitely not as good as fresh or the unrolled dough – a bit chewier.

The still-in-balls dough: looked more like the dough from the day before. Didn’t puff up quite as much and wasn’t quite as tasty as the very fresh roti, but still acceptable. Obviously it’s not exactly ideal, and making roti isn’t exactly hard… but for camping, for example, this would be quite easy to replicate. And it is good to know that it’s ok to save the dough if you plan on having it two nights in a row.

Finally, on the second night we brushed the roti with garlic butter – one clove of garlic, chopped, put into a dollop of butter than I nuked in the microwave. I let the garlic sit in the butter for a few minutes before brushing it on the roti and that was definitely a win. My beloved thought it should have been garlickier, but that’s nothing new.

Indian Made Easy: the recipes

9781743368565On the book itself.

The introduction proclaims this as a book “about discovering a casual attitude towards Indian cookery”, and that some of the recipes have been “distilled and pared back for busy modern cooks.” I would say that this is a book for a fairly experienced cook – that is, someone who won’t be put off by making their own simmer sauce or following a few steps – but who has never cooked much Indian food. Which pretty much means me.

The recipes

Paneer: yes, ok, I made paneer. I had a litre of milk nearing its use-by and I didn’t want to waste it, so I thought I’d experiment, ok? I don’t imagine I’ll be doing this every time I want paneer but it’s nice to know I COULD. It was easy, and the instructions (except for that confusing ‘do I turn off the heat when it’s 80C or after I’ve added the acid??’ question) were easy to follow.

Charred Broccoli with Chilli and Fennel: the fennel is fennel seeds, and the garnish is what really makes this – toasted coconut, pomegranate seed and coriander! Broccoli and coconut is amazing! Also the mustard and fennel seeds were nice with it too.  Continue reading “Indian Made Easy: the recipes”

Indian Made Easy: the book itself

9781743368565.jpgTrue story: a few weeks ago we ordered Indian takeaway and it was dire. My beloved, frustrated, announced “we must learn to cook good Indian!”

Two days later, Indian Made Easy appeared on our doorstep, courtesy of Murdoch Books (published July 2016, RRP $39.99).

It’s not like we’ve never cooked Indian food before. I love the cookbook Bowl Food and it has a few excellent curries in it, complete with long list of spices to make your own pastes etc. But it was exciting to to get an actual Indian cookbook when I’d been thinking about it for a while.

The book

A paperback, but still A4 in size. I do wonder whether the cover will crack off the spine at some point – not that it shows any sign of doing so yet, but I’ve seen it happen before. It hasn’t shown any sign of the spine cracking yet, though, which is excellent. I like the cover art – although conflicted with rice being the universal signifier of Indian food, or something – and the fact that the inside cover has the proportion and position of rice/black background reversed.  Continue reading “Indian Made Easy: the book itself”