Occasion: the birthday of a very special sibling (a.k.a. the bossy elder brother :p)

The hostess: Me, me and more of me

On the menu: Think its better that we go dish by dish (in chronological order)..

Recipe 32: Apple pie

Recipe credits: As taught in baking class

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The process for this one actually started a day ahead.. I made the pie pastry dough a night before and cling wrapped it and let it lie in the fridge overnight (seriously the best decision considering the mad day I had ahead of me)… this also helps in making the dough flakier..

 

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Not the best pic but this is what you would want your dough to look like.. less handled but sticking together well..

You can refer to the following recipe by the famous Betty Crocker

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/scrumptious-apple-pie/a41b6992-efb5-4b8a-998c-26d25f05e05a

The process is simple to follow, you just need to ensure the following:

– Handle the pastry dough less for the flaky effect

– Do not overcook the filling, the apples should be soft from the outside but firm inside

– When rolling the dough out, make sure it is of minimal thickness (about 1/8th of an inch) so that the pastry is flaky and crusty after being baked.

 

Personal tweaks:

1) The temperature I use for baking is 200 C (a little lower than the temperature mentioned in the link).

2) I actually first bake only the crust for 15 minutes. Then add the filling (please ensure the filling has cooled down by mixing it well for a few minutes) and then the top layer of dough and bake for 20-25 minutes.

You can also choose to store the pastry dough (well wrapped) in your fridge upto a period of 3 months and bake it as and when required (I still have some saved :D)..

 

Time spent in Kitchen: 2-2.5 hours (excluding one hour or more processing time for the pastry dough)

Price range of the total cost of all ingredients: INR 150-200

 

Recipe 33: Chocolate fudge cake

Recipe credits: As taught in baking class 

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Doesn’t it look just yummy? .. I know it is a bit conceited of me … but seriously this is the first time I ever baked a birthday cake for someone.. so screw everyone.. I rock :p

Technically this is not a new recipe.. (the same one as I used for the cupcakes.. Recipe 30, Day 21).. but since it is a cake and involves a different texture, I think it should qualify as one..

Also, I did actually try to make an attempt at Choco-lava cake by freezing some of my batter beforehand .. but I don’t know whether it was my freezer or the batter.. it just refused to form into solid bits of chocolate.. (Thereby delaying my baking process by 4 hours for no dam reason.. grrr).. so if any of you wish to try it please do.. and let me know if it works for you.. the aim is to add the frozen batter to the usual one and dumping it all in the oven so that the frozen bits form into gooey chocolate by the time the rest of it is baked properly 😀

Anywho, I don’t know whether the slightly frozen bits helped.. but my cake was definitely very spongy and full of flavour.. (hoot! hoot!).. and I am extremely proud to say that about 80% of it was polished off in the same night 😀

Another important thing about chocolate based cakes/cupcakes that I have learnt in the process (after 5 attempts.. 3 successful ones.. ahem!) is that they need to spend some time in the fridge after cooling down from the baking process in order to form a better texture.. so it is better to make it atleast 1-2 hours before your intended time of serving..

Time spent in Kitchen: 1-1 hour 30 minutes including baking time (not counting the freezing time)

Price range of the total cost of all ingredients: INR 350-400 

 

Recipe 34: Hummus dip 

Recipe credits: Neeta Mehta’s cookbook : 101 international recipes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/101-international-recipes/id424166669?mt=11)

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The most commonly served starter at most cafes these days.. this can be easily made at home and also save you a lot of effort involved in making the various other snacks usually served at parties..

And trust me, making it with fresh ingredients at home is a much healthier option than the stuff you eat outside (no offense!)

The recipe in the book is great and I did follow it to the exact details, however, in the future, I would like to increase the quantity of chickpeas by 10-20%…

Personal tweaks:

– I added some olives at serving time.. to make the dish pretty :D.. plus they go really well with the starter ..

Time spent in Kitchen: 20 minutes (excluding overnight soaking of the chickpeas)

Price range of the total cost of all ingredients: INR 50-100

 

Recipe 35: The classic dip

Recipe credits: A dear friend 

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For many many years I have loved this dip .. its the highlight of all parties and it goes with everything and hey its healthy too (if you do not add cheese that is)…

What you need:

400 gms of curd, 2-3 tbsp crushed garlic, 1/2 onion finely chopped, 1/2 capsicum finely chopped, 1/2 a green chilly chopped, 4-5 tbsp of lime juice, salt to taste, 2-3 tbsp of cheese spread, 1 tbsp oregano.

A disclaimer here.. these ingredients are mere approximations.. this dip is more like “everything to taste”.. you gotta keep tasting it and adding ingredients as per your taste buds..

Also, I made it for a bunch of 10-15 people so the quantity is much larger than usual.

How you make it edible:

1. Wrap the curd in a thin cloth, tie it up at the other end and hang it for 3-4 hours (make sure to ensure that there is a bowl underneath to collect the dripping water)

2. Just add all ingredients and mix

3. You can also add some water if the dip is not creamy enough.

Personal tweaks:

The oregano and cheese were my own additions, it tastes pretty good minus these as well.

Surprisingly, despite the simplicity of this dish, people are always begging you for its recipe.. its just so damn yummyy..

Time spent in Kitchen: 15 minutes (excluding time required to prepare hung curd)

Price range of the total cost of all ingredients: INR 100-150

 

So this is where it ends.. I know you are probably thinking “4 dishes.. you call this a feast?”.. well .. I did make a lot more stuff but it was all tried and tested since I could not treat everyone like a guinea pig (it was a party after all.. )

On the menu was also.. Crispy burnt garlic vegetables with chilli garlic sauce (Recipe 6 & 7, Day 4), Mashed potatoes (Recipe 15, Day 9), Fattoush (Recipe 10, Day 6), (for the first time I was referring to my own blog for the recipes :))

Silly me!.. I actually forgot to serve the mashed potatoes (this is what happens when you are constantly in the kitchen from 11 in the morning to the wee hours of the next morning.. how do chefs survive this chaotic lifestyle? Seriouslyyy?)

Anywho, all said and done, all the appreciation was well worth the hardwork (So I guess thats what gets them by :)).. and now I am on a few days of sabbatical from the kitchen :P…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 23 (April 27, 2013): THE FEAST!!
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