Thursday, September 27, 2018

Spicy Beef Lettuce Cups

Spicy beef lettuce cups make a great main course but they’d also be fun as appetizers. Put the lettuce leaves and spicy beef in the middle of the party table and let family and friends help themselves.

Food Lust People Love: Spicy beef lettuce cups make a great main course but they’d also be fun as appetizers. Put the lettuce leaves and spicy beef in the middle of the party table and let family and friends help themselves.


A few weeks ago, my husband and I went out to lunch at a beautiful restaurant in the middle of a manmade oasis just off one of the main highways that crisscross Dubai. Al Barari is a verdant refuge from the dusty sandpit that surrounds it, with streams, lily ponds and waterfalls.


Its restaurant, called The Farm, has a wide variety of choices in the menu, a mix of western and Asian dishes, with a little Middle Eastern thrown in as well. I ordered the spicy Thai beef salad, which frankly, wasn’t very salad-like at all. It was pretty much all spicy meat with a few random slices of zucchini, but it gave me the idea for this dish. I would have liked some crunchy lettuce leaves to eat with it.


Spicy Beef Lettuce Cups

This was a quick, last minute dinner. Because I was hungry and didn’t have time for marinating strips of beef, I used ground beef. Worked beautifully! If your pan isn’t big enough for my method, feel free to tip the crispy cooked beef into a bowl before cooking the ginger, garlic, chili peppers, and then the onions. Add it back when those are done.

Ingredients
1 lb 2 1/2 oz or 525g ground beef – not low fat
Olive oil, as needed
1 fat thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 small red chili peppers, finely chopped
2 small onions, peeled and cut in wedges
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese vinegar (substitute lime juice if you can’t find the black vinegar)

To serve:
2 heads baby cos lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried*
1 small bunch cilantro, hard stems removed, chopped roughly
1 medium cucumber, seeds removed, cubed
extra minced chili, optional

*Save the smaller leaves and the heart of the lettuce for a salad.

Method
In a non-stick skillet, brown the beef over a medium high heat until crispy. Add a little olive oil, if necessary, to get it to fry. Beef in Dubai, even the beef that doesn’t say low fat, doesn’t seem to render fat out as it does in other places, so I do add some oil. (Also, my non-stick skillet isn’t as non-stick as it used to be!)

Once the beef is crispy, push it to the sides of the pan and turn the heat down to medium low. Add the ginger, garlic and chili peppers to the middle of the pan.



Again, if your beef hasn’t rendered much or any fat, drizzle in a little more olive oil. Sauté the ginger, garlic and peppers until they soften. Mix them in with the beef and then push it back out to the sides.

Add in the onion into the middle and turn the heat up slightly.


Cook the onions for just a minute or two, stirring well. You want them slightly cooked but still a bit crunchy. Mix them in with the beef. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar. Stir well to combine.


Leave the beef to cool for about 15-20 minutes. You want it slightly warm but not hot enough to immediately wilt the lettuce.

To serve, spoon the spicy beef into the lettuce leaves. Top with cucumber bits and some chopped cilantro. Add more minced chili, if desired.

Food Lust People Love: Spicy beef lettuce cups make a great main course but they’d also be fun as appetizers. Put the lettuce leaves and spicy beef in the middle of the party table and let family and friends help themselves.


I filled mine too full at first and they were a challenge to eat without spilling. A couple of generous tablespoons per lettuce leaf will do nicely. The very next day, as I was eating the leftovers, I also added avocado on top. Awesome!

Food Lust People Love: Spicy beef lettuce cups make a great main course but they’d also be fun as appetizers. Put the lettuce leaves and spicy beef in the middle of the party table and let family and friends help themselves.

Enjoy!

Pin it! 

Food Lust People Love: Spicy beef lettuce cups make a great main course but they’d also be fun as appetizers. Put the lettuce leaves and spicy beef in the middle of the party table and let family and friends help themselves.
.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Easy Fig Pecan Bars #CreativeCookieExchange

Sticky, chewy, fig pecan bars are the perfect treat with a cup of tea or an ice-cold glass of milk. Baked up in a large pan, this recipe makes enough to share, but they also freeze beautifully so you don’t have to.

Food Lust People Love: Sticky, chewy, fig pecan bars are the perfect treat with a cup of tea or an ice-cold glass of milk. Baked up in a large pan, this recipe makes enough to share, but they also freeze beautifully so you don’t have to. Use your favorite preserves or jam if you don’t have fig.


Sometimes when I am looking for inspiration, I like to do a recipe search in a foreign language. If it’s one I don’t speak, I’ll use Google Translate first, to find the key words (and the word for recipe!) and off I go down the rabbit hole of an entirely different internet world. It’s quite fascinating. Think about it. That's the world those native speakers inhabit daily.

Even when it’s a language I do speak - English for instance - using the search term “British” or “Australian” along with my key words can reveal recipes I would never otherwise have found because often the same sorts of treats are called completely different things.

For instance, years ago, when we first moved to Australia, I discovered that our US cookie bars, that is, cookies that are baked in one pan and cut into squares or rectangles, are known as slices there. Like our bars, slices come in all flavors and sizes.

This month my Creative Cookie Exchange group is sharing cookies that are great for a bake sale, so my mind immediately went to bars (or slices!) They are so much easier even than drop cookies or roll cookies when you need to bake more than one dozen.

I was feeling flush with fresh fig preserves, having just made a new double batch from my grandmother’s recipe, so I did a quick search for “jam slice” and turned up, I kid you not, 31,700,000 results, most of which seemed to have coconut. So then I tried “jam bars” and got even more results: 68,300,000, most of which seemed to be made with oats. Not that the US bars didn’t have coconut on occasion or that the Australian slices didn’t use oats from time to time, but there is definitely a bias the other way. I find it all most intriguing. Yeah, I know, I know, I’m sad. On the other hand, I made you some excellent fig pecan bars today.

Easy Fig Pecan Bars

After all that searching, what I like to call researching, I ended up adapting a Taste of Home recipe they call Winning Apricot Bars. They are the perfect after school or bake sale treat! Use your favorite preserves or jam if you don’t have fig.


Ingredients
3/4 cup or 170g butter, softened
1 cup or 200g sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups or 250g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 150g finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup or 65g roughly chopped pecans
1 jar (10 to 12 ounces) fig preserves (or sub your favorite preserves) (about 1 3/4 cups) 528g

Method
Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and line a 13x8-in or 33x20cm pan with baking parchment.

My homemade fig preserves have whole figs in them so I used a pair of sharp kitchen scissors to cut them into bits, right in the jar. If you are using jam or fruit preserves in which the fruit is already broken down, you will not need this step.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.



In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating briefly in between additions and scraping down the bowl.



Fold in the finely chopped pecans.

Press two-thirds (about 530g, if you have a scale) of dough onto the bottom of your prepared baking pan.


Spoon the preserves onto the dough and spread them out evenly.

Mix the roughly chopped pecans into the remaining dough and crumble over the preserves.

Food Lust People Love: Sticky, chewy, fig pecan bars are the perfect treat with a cup of tea or an ice-cold glass of milk. Baked up in a large pan, this recipe makes enough to share, but they also freeze beautifully so you don’t have to. Use your favorite preserves or jam if you don’t have fig.


Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown, turning the pan around halfway through to make sure it cooks evenly.

Food Lust People Love: Sticky, chewy, fig pecan bars are the perfect treat with a cup of tea or an ice-cold glass of milk. Baked up in a large pan, this recipe makes enough to share, but they also freeze beautifully so you don’t have to. Use your favorite preserves or jam if you don’t have fig.
Cool the fig pecan bars completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 24 bars to serve.

Food Lust People Love: Sticky, chewy, fig pecan bars are the perfect treat with a cup of tea or an ice-cold glass of milk. Baked up in a large pan, this recipe makes enough to share, but they also freeze beautifully so you don’t have to. Use your favorite preserves or jam if you don’t have fig.


Enjoy!



Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Pin it!

Food Lust People Love: Sticky, chewy, fig pecan bars are the perfect treat with a cup of tea or an ice-cold glass of milk. Baked up in a large pan, this recipe makes enough to share, but they also freeze beautifully so you don’t have to. Use your favorite preserves or jam if you don’t have fig.
 .

Monday, September 24, 2018

Butter Cake Muffins #MuffinMonday

These delightful butter cake muffins are my easy take on German butterkuchen. They are made with butter, cream and apples and topped with the traditional sugar and almonds. But you can have these on the snack table in under half an hour.

Food Lust People Love: These delightful butter cake muffins are my easy take on German butterkuchen. They are made with butter, cream and apples and topped with the traditional sugar and almonds. But you can have these on the snack table in under half an hour. Tart chopped apple balances the sweetness of these tasty muffins but what really makes them special is the sugar, almond and butter topping. The sugar turns crunchy and the butter soaks in and they are glorious together.


Traditional butter cake or butterkuchen is, of course, made with yeast although I’ve also come across a few recipes using the more modern rising agent, baking powder. I guess everyone is looking for a short cut these days. But that is what made me think, why not turn them into muffins?

If you want a more traditional butterkuchen and have the time, check out my blackberry butter cake or Brombeere-Butterkuchen. But today is the last Monday of the month and we all know that means Muffin Monday!

Butter Cake Muffins

Tart chopped apple balances the sweetness of these tasty muffins but what really makes them special is the sugar, almond and butter topping. The sugar turns crunchy and the butter soaks in and they are glorious together.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups or 220g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 113g butter, melted and cooled, divided
1/2 cup or 120ml whipping cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored

For the topping:
4 tablespoons flaked almonds

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan by lining it with paper muffin cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt along with 2/3 cup or 120g of the sugar. In another smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter.



Chop the apple into cubes and add them to the flour. Toss to coat.



Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the flour is moistened.



Divide the thick batter between your 12 prepared muffin cups.

Sprinkle the tops with the rest of the sugar and the almonds. Drip the remaining butter over each muffin. Yes, it’s a lot of butter and sugar. Just do it.

Food Lust People Love: These delightful butter cake muffins are my easy take on German butterkuchen. They are made with butter, cream and apples and topped with the traditional sugar and almonds. But you can have these on the snack table in under half an hour. Tart chopped apple balances the sweetness of these tasty muffins but what really makes them special is the sugar, almond and butter topping. The sugar turns crunchy and the butter soaks in and they are glorious together.


Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Food Lust People Love: These delightful butter cake muffins are my easy take on German butterkuchen. They are made with butter, cream and apples and topped with the traditional sugar and almonds. But you can have these on the snack table in under half an hour. Tart chopped apple balances the sweetness of these tasty muffins but what really makes them special is the sugar, almond and butter topping. The sugar turns crunchy and the butter soaks in and they are glorious together.


Remove the muffins from the oven and cool them on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: These delightful butter cake muffins are my easy take on German butterkuchen. They are made with butter, cream and apples and topped with the traditional sugar and almonds. But you can have these on the snack table in under half an hour. Tart chopped apple balances the sweetness of these tasty muffins but what really makes them special is the sugar, almond and butter topping. The sugar turns crunchy and the butter soaks in and they are glorious together.


Check out the rest of the fabulous muffins my Muffin Monday friends are sharing today:


Muffin Monday
#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.


Pin it!


Food Lust People Love: These delightful butter cake muffins are my easy take on German butterkuchen. They are made with butter, cream and apples and topped with the traditional sugar and almonds. But you can have these on the snack table in under half an hour. Tart chopped apple balances the sweetness of these tasty muffins but what really makes them special is the sugar, almond and butter topping. The sugar turns crunchy and the butter soaks in and they are glorious together.
 .

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Roast Za’atar Chicken and Eggplant Salad

Not your typical salad, this lovely roast za’atar chicken and eggplant salad combines fresh herbs with succulent chicken thighs and golden fried eggplant, drizzled with a tangy pomegranate molasses dressing.

Food Lust People Love: Not your typical salad, this lovely roast za’atar chicken and eggplant salad combines fresh herbs with succulent chicken thighs and golden fried eggplant, drizzled with a tangy pomegranate molasses dressing.


The day I made this, I came home from the store with the chicken thighs, with a salad in mind. I had some fresh Turkish figs in the refrigerator, a seriously creamy blue cheese, and lots of salad greens. Then I ended up back at the shopping center because I needed to get new visa photos taken. The photographer said they’d be ready in 15 minutes, so I wandered through the supermarket once more.

The bulk spices caught my eye – and my nose – and there on the spot, my whole plan changed. Oh, I’d still do a salad, but it would be a warm one, with za’atar spiced chicken and herbs. Maybe some eggplant? Yes, definitely eggplant. But what sort of dressing then? Pomegranate molasses! Ooooh, I couldn’t wait to get home to make it.

I collected my visa photos – As I told the lady, I looked like a criminal; I hope they renew my resident visa! – and I hurried home.

Roast Za’atar Chicken and Eggplant Salad

This recipe was very much a flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants affair. But fortunately, I wrote it all down and took photos, so I can share with you. It is sooooo delectable. I sent the recipe to my friend, Carolyne, in England so she could make it this weekend. She and her husband enjoyed it as well. I hope you all love it as much as we did.

Ingredients
For the warm salad:
2.2 lbs or 1kg chicken thighs*
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt
3 tablespoons Lebanese za’atar
4-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium eggplant (400g)
small bunch flat leaf parsley, hard stems removed
small bunch cilantro (fresh coriander)

For the dressing:
1/4 cup or 60ml pomegranate molasses (buy the best quality you can find, preferably, no sugar added - or make your own!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon za’atar

Optional: fresh red chili pepper, minced, for garnish - or sprinkle on a few pomegranate arils - those would be lovely too.

*Note: our chicken thighs are small compared to the ones I can buy back in the US so I count on at least 2 thighs per person.

Method
Warm the molasses in the microwave in a clean jar. Add the other ingredients and shake well. Leave to cool before pouring over salad.


Tip: If you don’t use your pomegranate molasses very often it’s a good idea to keep it in the refrigerator. Sometimes the natural sugars crystalize. If this happens to yours, measure the molasses into a microwave proof bowl or jar and give it a few zaps until it is warm enough to melt the sugar crystals. Allow to cool slightly before adding the garlic, oil and za'atar to make the dressing.

Set the oven to preheat at 400°F or 200°C.

Trim the excess fat off of your chicken thighs and discard. Season the bottom (non-skin side) with a good sprinkle of black pepper, salt and almost half of the za’atar.



Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil in your baking pan – use an iron skillet if you have one.

Arrange the chicken thighs skin side up in the pan. Season with a good sprinkle of black pepper, salt and the balance of the za’atar. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top of the seasoned thighs.



Roast for about 30 minutes in your preheated oven. (If you have larger chicken thighs, they may need an additional 10 minutes in the oven. You want to reach an internal temperature of 180°F or 83°C.) Baste with the chicken juices halfway though.

Meanwhile, trim the stem off of your eggplant and cut them in fat sticks. Sprinkle with fine sea salt and set aside in a colander to drain.



Remove the chicken from the baking pan or skillet, transfer it to a plate and cover with foil.



Dry the eggplant with a teacloth and fry the pieces in the chicken drippings in the same iron skillet on the stove. Add more olive oil if necessary. You may have to do this in two batches so as not to crowd the pan.

Turn the eggplant as needed to brown it on all sides. Remove the pieces to a small plate when done.


To assemble the warm salad, scatter your parsley and cilantro on a large serving dish. Add the chicken thighs and golden eggplant. Optional: Mince a red chili pepper and sprinkle over the top. Drizzle with the dressing to serve.

Food Lust People Love: Not your typical salad, this lovely roast za’atar chicken and eggplant salad combines fresh herbs with succulent chicken thighs and golden fried eggplant, drizzled with a tangy pomegranate molasses dressing.
Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Not your typical salad, this lovely roast za’atar chicken and eggplant salad combines fresh herbs with succulent chicken thighs and golden fried eggplant, drizzled with a tangy pomegranate molasses dressing.

Pin it! 

Food Lust People Love: Not your typical salad, this lovely roast za’atar chicken and eggplant salad combines fresh herbs with succulent chicken thighs and golden fried eggplant, drizzled with a tangy pomegranate molasses dressing.
 .

Friday, September 21, 2018

Burmese Fish Curry #FishFridayFoodies

Burmese Fish Curry begins with an aromatic cayenne spiked curry paste made onions, garlic and ginger. Lemongrass stalks are added while the sauce slowly simmers. Finally, the fish joins the pot, cooking slowly in the fragrant sauce.

Food Lust People Love: Burmese Fish Curry begins with an aromatic cayenne spiked curry paste made onions, garlic and ginger. Lemongrass stalks are added while the sauce slowly simmers. Finally, the fish joins the pot, cooking slowly in the fragrant sauce.

Burmese curry does not use spices, just a paste made of onions, garlic and ginger, cooked until fragrant and then reddened with cayenne and paprika or annato. For chicken curry, you add cinnamon sticks when cooking. For fish curry, you can add fish sauce, tomatoes and lightly crushed lemon grass stalks.

Burmese Fish Curry 

I learned this recipe from my Burmese friend and excellent cook, Ma Toe. I was blessed to get to know her when we lived across the street from each other in Brazil. I never wrote it down way back then but have cooked it from memory for years. This is the first time I've put the recipe down.

Ingredients
For the paste (enough for 3 pots of curry -makes 3 1/2 cups or 825g- freeze the balance):
4 large onions
2-3 normal heads of garlic or 4-5 small ones
About 5-6 inches of fresh ginger
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light cooking oil plus a little for the pot
1-2 teaspoons cayenne
2-3 teaspoons paprika or ground annato

Find instructions for the paste here: https://www.foodlustpeoplelove.com/2018/09/burmese-curry-paste.html

For the fish curry:
2 lbs or 900g fish (or substitute shelled shrimp or prawns)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Black pepper
2 good serving spoons Burmese curry paste (1/3 of recipe above or about 275g)
4-5 medium tomatoes (about 1 3/4 lbs or 800g)
2 stalks lemon grass
Good handful cilantro or fresh coriander

Optional for serving: steamed white rice and lime slices

Tip: You can use boneless fish, cut into chunks, if you prefer but fish with bones will add more flavor.

Method
Make your curry paste according to the instructions in this post. It makes enough for three pots of curry - chicken, seafood or vegetable - so you'll freeze the balance.

Season your fish with the fish sauce, black pepper and turmeric. (This can even be done earlier, while your paste is cooking, if you are making it fresh that day. In that case, refrigerate the fish until you are ready to add it in.)



Put one third of your Burmese curry paste into a large pan and warm it through. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the pot.



Give the bottom of the lemon grass stalks a good bash with a hammer or your pestle. You want to bruise and crush them a little so they can release their flavor but you want them all in one piece so they can be removed later.


Add the lemon grass stalks and about 2 cups or 480ml water to the pot.


Cook, covered, for about 20-30 minutes over a low fire. Stir the curry sauce occasionally. After the 20-30 minutes is up, add in the pieces of fish, working them under the sauce.

Food Lust People Love: Burmese Fish Curry begins with an aromatic cayenne spiked curry paste made onions, garlic and ginger. Lemongrass stalks are added while the sauce slowly simmers. Finally, the fish joins the pot, cooking slowly in the fragrant sauce.


Cook, covered, until the fish is done, stirring occasionally, perhaps another 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop your cilantro.

Once the fish is cooked through, check the seasoning and add more fish sauce or a little salt, if necessary. Remove the lemongrass stalks and discard. Top the Burmese fish curry with the chopped cilantro.

Food Lust People Love: Burmese Fish Curry begins with an aromatic cayenne spiked curry paste made onions, garlic and ginger. Lemongrass stalks are added while the sauce slowly simmers. Finally, the fish joins the pot, cooking slowly in the fragrant sauce.



 Serve with steamed white rice and slices of lime, if desired.

We also add in more pepper in the form of my homemade pepper sauce. Enjoy!

This month my Fish Friday Foodies are cooking up seafood stews at the behest of our talented host Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Check out the great recipes everyone is sharing:




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Food Lust People Love: Burmese Fish Curry begins with an aromatic cayenne spiked curry paste made onions, garlic and ginger. Lemongrass stalks are added while the sauce slowly simmers. Finally, the fish joins the pot, cooking slowly in the fragrant sauce.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Almond Wedding Cake #BundtBakers

A simple one-bowl batter is the base of this beautiful almond wedding cake, decorated with almond buttercream icing and pearl and flower flourishes.

Food Lust People Love: A simple one-bowl batter is the base of this beautiful almond wedding cake, decorated with almond buttercream icing and pearl and flower flourishes.


My mother’s very favorite cake is wedding cake. She is seriously disappointed if she has to leave a reception before the cake is cut. And if it’s almond wedding cake, oh my! No way she's leaving without a piece!

When the theme "white cake" was chosen a few months back for this month’s Bundt Bakers, I planned right away to bake this cake when I was in Houston visiting my mother. She is an avid follower of my blog and often sends me notes to say how hungry she gets from looking at my photos. It would have been too cruel to bake her favorite cake and not give her some.

Almond Wedding Cake

Credit for this batter recipe is goes to Wedding Cakes for You. The ingredients list is all theirs, except for the metric conversions. A two-layer cake bakes up perfectly in a 12-cup Bundt pan. I think we can all agree that despite this not being a traditional shape for wedding cake, it works beautifully. Who doesn't love a Bundt?

Ingredients 
For the cake batter:
2 cups or 250g all-purpose flour plus extra for the Bundt pan
1 1/2 cups or 300g granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 100g shortening plus extra for the Bundt pan (I use the original white Crisco.)
1 cup or 240ml milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 egg whites

For the frosting:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons shortening
4 cups confectioners' sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional for whiter white icing: Sugarflair food coloring paste. Follow these instructions. It's science! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBl9Gz9eTqg

Method 
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with shortening and then coat it with flour.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to your mixing bowl. Give it a mix. Add the shortening to the flour mix along with the milk and almond extract. As soon as it’s all mixed, turn the mixer up to medium high. Beat for a couple of minutes.



Add in the egg whites and beat slowly till they are mixed in. Now beat on medium high for 2 minutes.



Pour the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Mine turned out a bit darker than usual since I chose to bake in a dark pan that I seldom use. (I have made a note to myself for next time. My Nordic Ware pans never fail me this way!)

Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating together the butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes in the Bundt pan.

Turn the Bundt out of the pan onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Once cool, I spread the frosting on so that the contours of the Bundt pan still showed through, then covered it immediately with sparkling white sugar sprinkles so that they would stick.

Food Lust People Love: A simple one-bowl batter is the base of this beautiful almond wedding cake, decorated with almond buttercream icing and pearl and flower flourishes.


These are the flowers, sprinkles and pearls I used for decoration.

Food Lust People Love: A simple one-bowl batter is the base of this beautiful almond wedding cake, decorated with almond buttercream icing and pearl and flower flourishes.

This almond wedding cake was a hit! My sister and her girls helped themselves to wedges and my mom enjoyed the rest. And now that the blog post is public, I am just waiting for the email saying she wishes she still had some! Three, two, one ...

Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: A simple one-bowl batter is the base of this beautiful almond wedding cake, decorated with almond buttercream icing and pearl and flower flourishes.


What's your favorite white cake? Check out the list below for the wonderful cakes my Bundt Bakers are sharing today. Many thanks to our host Nichole from Cookaholic Wife!
BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Pin it!


Food Lust People Love: A simple one-bowl batter is the base of this beautiful almond wedding cake, decorated with almond buttercream icing and pearl and flower flourishes.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Burmese Curry Paste

This Burmese curry paste recipe is the spicy base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.

Food Lust People Love: This Burmese curry paste recipe is the base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.

Burmese curry does not use spices, just a paste made of onions, garlic and ginger, cooked until fragrant and then reddened with cayenne and paprika or annato. For chicken curry, you add cinnamon sticks when cooking. For fish curry, you add tomatoes and lightly crushed lemon grass stalks.

Burmese Curry Paste

I love using this curry paste for a hybrid Indian/Burmese potato curry as well. The sauce is the best!

Ingredients
4 large onions
2-3 normal heads of garlic or 4-5 small ones
About 5-6 inches of fresh ginger
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light cooking oil plus a little for the pot
1-2 teaspoons cayenne
2-3 teaspoons of paprika or ground annato

Method
Peel your garlic or buy fresh already peeled. Do not use garlic paste or chopped garlic in a jar. They have other ingredients to keep the garlic from discoloring which add a weird flavor. I spread newspaper on my coffee table and watch TV while I peel. Goes quick.


Peel your ginger and chop it finely.


Peel your onions and chop them into quarters or eighths.


Put the whole lot into a blender with the canola and 1 cup or 240ml of water. Here Ma Toe would use just oil so don't tell her about my substitution with water. Her paste is richer and her curry gets a dark red slick of oil on top when it is cooked. Divine but not as healthy. Shh. (Feel free to use all oil if calories are not an issue for you. Seriously, much richer!)

It may not all fit at once so put what you can and blend for minute or two then add in the rest. Blend until you have a smooth paste, turning the blender off and pushing the bits down occasionally.



Heat up a little more canola oil in your pot and then pour in the paste.

Cook and cook and cook, stirring occasionally. It turns green as you cook it which is pretty cool, since you put nothing green in there. I don’t know why that always fascinates me. Like magic.




Once I asked Ma Toe how to know it was ready and she said, “When it doesn’t smell like onions anymore.” I’d say about 20-30 minutes will do it.

Now add the cayenne and paprika (or annato.) Cook a little longer and stir thoroughly until the color changes.


Food Lust People Love: This Burmese curry paste recipe is the base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.
Now we are looking more like curry! If you like spicy, you can add even more cayenne.

This is going to be enough paste for three pots of curry so let it cool a little. Save it divided in three bags and pop it in your freezer.

Food Lust People Love: This Burmese curry paste recipe is the base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.



Check out my Burmese Chicken Curry recipe here!



And coming up this Friday, I'll be posting my Burmese Fish Curry recipe too. Stand by!

Pin it! 

Food Lust People Love: This Burmese curry paste recipe is the base for all chicken, fish or vegetable curries, according to my Burmese friend, Ma Toe, an excellent cook. It makes enough for three pots of curry so you make it once and freeze the balance. A brilliantly efficient way of cooking.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cinnamon Raisin Bread #BreadBakers

Home baked cinnamon raisin bread makes the most wonderful breakfast or snack, fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with butter. As an extra bonus, your whole house will smell divine!

Food Lust People Love: Home baked cinnamon raisin bread makes the most wonderful breakfast or snack, fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with butter. As an extra bonus, your whole house will smell divine!


I am not a huge fan of raisin bread but my husband is. When we were first married and still living in the States, I would buy those little loaves – Pepperidge Farm maybe? – because a bigger loaf would get stale before he could finish it. Then we moved overseas and occasionally I’d bake him some cinnamon raisin bread. But it was a rare treat.

When our Bread Bakers host chose grapes for this month’s theme, it seemed like the perfect reason to resurrect my old favorite cinnamon raisin bread recipe. Then meanwhile, my husband and I decided to try to cut back on carbohydrates. The good news is that the recipe has stood the test of time and his co-workers were very, very lucky.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

If your raisins are juicy and plump already, you can skip the first step of soaking them in juice. Mine had been in the cupboard a while and that little trick revived them. This slightly sweet bread recipe is adapted from my old standby, Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, 1980 edition.

Ingredients
3/4 cup or 110g raisins
1 cup or 240ml very warm apple juice*
2 1/2-3 cups or 315-375g flour
1/3 cup or 75g sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (1/4oz or 7g or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or ml milk
1/3 cup or 75g butter, plus extra for the mixing bowl and bread pan
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For topping – optional
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons sugar + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, combined

*I used a mix of apple and orange pineapple, because I didn’t have enough apple juice. Use what you’ve got! Unless you’ve only got tomato juice. That would be weird. Just use warm water.

Method
In a small bowl, pour the very warm juice over the raisins. Leave to plump up for at leave half an hour. This can also be done the day before. Simply store the covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Drain the raisins and discard the juice. (Or save it to use in muffins or other baked goods.)

My raisins soaked up about 1/3 cup or 80ml of the juice.


Measure your sugar, yeast, salt and half a cup or 63g of flour into the bowl of your stand mixer or other bowl if you are going to use hand beaters.

Put the milk and butter in a microwaveable container and heat until it reaches between 120-130°F or 49-54°C. If you don’t have a thermometer handy, this will feel quite hot to the touch (I mean, put a finger in it.) but you should be able to keep your finger in it comfortably. The butter doesn’t need to completely melt.

Pour the warm milk mixture into the mixing bowl and give it a good whisk.

Set aside for about five minutes to make sure the yeast is active. It should start to foam up.

Add the egg. Beat until combined. Add one cup or 125g of flour and beat well.


Add more flour, a half a cup at a time until you have a soft dough and it’s too stiff to beat in the mixer anymore.

Use a wooden spoon or a sturdy spatula to mix in the last of the flour. Unless you have a bread hook for your stand mixer, in which case use that now and for the kneading. If you don’t have a bread hook, scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface. In either case, knead well for about five minutes.

Wash your mixing bowl out and rub with butter. Form a ball out of your dough and pop it back in the bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave to rest and rise in a warm place.

Ideally, you want it to at least double in size. This can take anywhere from an hour or two, depending on your yeast.


Tip: If your room is colder than 80-85 °F or 26-29°C, put the stopper in your sink and fill it part way up with hot tap water. Set the bowl in the sink.

While the dough is rising, grease your bread pan with butter.

When your dough has risen sufficiently, punch it down. Spread it or roll it out into a rectangle (about 12x16in or 30x40cm) on top of a large sheet of cling film on a clean counter top.


Tip your raisins out of the strainer on to a couple of paper towels and pat dry.

Sprinkle the plump raisins and cinnamon over the rectangle of dough.


Start rolling the dough up on the short side until you have a neat tube.



Tuck the sides of the roll under. Place the dough seam side down in your greased bread pan.



Set the loaf in a warm place - this could be the kitchen sink with hot water again, if necessary - and allow to rise until doubled.

When it’s getting close, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Gently brush the loaf with the melted butter and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar, if desired.



Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped. If you use a thermometer, the internal temperature should be 190°F or 88°C. Tent the loaf with aluminum foil if it is browning too quickly.

Turn it out on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.



Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Home baked cinnamon raisin bread makes the most wonderful breakfast or snack, fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with butter. As an extra bonus, your whole house will smell divine!

Many thanks to this month's Bread Bakers host, Sneha from Sneha's Recipe. Check out all the great grape bakes we have for you!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Pin it! 

Food Lust People Love: Home baked cinnamon raisin bread makes the most wonderful breakfast or snack, fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with butter. As an extra bonus, your whole house will smell divine!

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