Friday, 3 May 2013

Maida Biscuits

This is probably the easiest biscuit recipe you are going to come across: butter, sugar and flour, and that's it I swear! But don't be fooled. Just because this recipe is simple, it doesn't mean that it is not delicious; quite the contrary. I made these biscuits on a whim, I had a craving for something sweet so whipped these up to fill the hole. These biscuits are quite popular in India, they can be found everywhere, and can often be found mixed with spices and nuts such as cardamon, pistachio and cashew. I guess they are the Indian equivalent to the good old British shortbread biscuits. This recipe is great for experimenting as it's soo easy to add anything you like from a bit of lemon zest to a touch of cocoa powder. I decided to simply add a bit of vanilla essence and top with nuts. If you want a richer flavour the secret is in the 'ghee', this is Indian clarified butter and can be bought in Asian supermarkets or in some grocery stores. 

Makes 8 good sized biscuits
Preparation time 40 mins



1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup melted butter/ clarified butter ('ghee')
1 cup self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
nuts to decorate e.g. cashews halved, flaked almonds, chopped pistachios
icing sugar for dusting


1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Add the icing sugar and flour to a bowl and mix. Then add the melted butter and mix well.
3. The dough should come together. It shouldn't be too crumbly or too  sticky. If you work the dough with your hand you'll know if the mixture is right; if it isn't simply add more butter or more flour.
4. Divide the mixture into 8. Then roll each piece into a ball using your hands and flatten. Be warned that the dough may crack, just try to stick it together if this happens or go for the rustic look if you know what I mean. Top each biscuit with half a cashew nut.
5. Bake in the oven for 12-15mins.
6. Don't eat them just yet, I know it's tempting! Wait for them to completely cool first and then dust them with a little icing sugar.
7. Now you can dig in! Go, go , go!

Adapted from Vahrevah

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hidemi Sugino's Sicile

This is the first time that I have ever attempted to make a recipe by professional pastry chef, that too them being Hidemi Sugino. If you don't know who he is just google his name and drool at the pictures of his desserts and you will soon realise that his cakes aren't just 'cakes' they are art. Wouldn't it be amazing to eat gourmet dessert everyday? Well like most people I don't have that luxury of having a gourmet pastry shop near me especially no Hidemi Sugino so the only way to eat these state of the art desserts is to make it myself, or at least have a go.

Evan's kitchen is a lovely blog which inspired me to say the least, as I realised that anyone can create these master pieces of desserts at home, whilst I was browsing through the vast array of mouth watering recipes and pictures. It seems so simple when you have the know how, but of course there are a few special tools and ingredients you need to acquire. One piece of kit which I highly recommend you get for this recipe is metal dessert rings; I only had 2 and I ended up struggling a little as I had to assemble the dessert in batches whilst the pistachio custard was thickening before I could fill the rings again, disaster, so the more the better. This recipe also used some new ingredients to me/, for example kirsch, so I ended up substituting, in this case I used raspberry juice instead. I also made everything from scratch including the  pistachio paste and almond paste. I guess they're difficult to come across in the shops would be expensive to buy, on the other hand it's pretty time consuming to make it yourself and you'll definitely need patience.

This is no 'quick' dessert as it has quite a few components to it, so I recommend that you make it over 2 days. For me it was worth the effort, but I'm not sure that I'm going to make it again anytime soon just due to the amount of time involved. Why don't you try giving Sugino's masterpiece a go

Evan's Kitchen

Monday, 31 December 2012

Steamed Banana and Sultana Cake

I havn't posted in a longgg while- sorry! I guess life took over- final year medicine is definitely the toughest yet with exams, job applications and long hours in placements. However I want to wish you all a Happy New Year filled with happiness and health. 2013 is a big year for me with life changing moments, new challenges, and exciting travels. 2012 has been the best year yet, and 2013 certainly has a lot to live up to.

I was asked by my cousin for a simple cake recipe that she could make for the New Year with limited ingredients, no oven and no microwave. And this was the one that cam to mind. Simple, easy, and yummy.

I have cake phases, and lately it's been a chiffon cake phase as I love the lightness of those cakes. However I just made my first ever steamed cake and I am pretty sure I'm entering a new phase: the steamed cake phase. It was soo surprising that the cake took literally 5 minutes to prepare, was light, used minimal oil and hardly any sugar, and the best thing is that it had a lovely moistness to it; more moist than any chiffon I have made. I never knew that you could steam cakes until one day at a dim sum resteraunt I sampled some 'mah lai ko' (Chinese steamed cake) and was in awe of the lightness; I could have easily gobbled up the whole cake it was that light! I know that not everyone is going to have a bamboo or electric steamer, however you can just use a rice cooker like I did or you can just put some water in a wok like pan and place the container with the cake mixture on top (let it stand on a metal ring or a plate or something so that it is above the water). If there was ever anything like a 'healthy' cake, I would say this recipe is the one!

Beware: This cake will literally just 'disappear' in a flash.

Preparation time: 30mins


2/3 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 small bananas (or 1 large banana) mashed
1 egg
2 tsp water
1 tsp oil
1/4 cup icing sugar
handful sultanas

1. In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with the fork.

2. Place the mixture in a small greased cake tin.
 3. Place the cake tin on a stand in the steamer for around 15-25mins till the cake is done (a knife through the cente should come out clean).
 4. Remove from the steamer and allow to cool for a few minutes (it's definitely hard to resist digging in) before taking the cake out of the tin, loosen the edges with a knife before you do so.
 5. Eat warm or cold.

Chow Times

A post from Fullest Part of Life

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Off to Pokhara we go

We ended up spending 2 days in Kathmandu, and I have to admit that it was more than enough for me. It's such a busy place with lots of noise, pollution, and the crazy traffic on the roads is like a death trap; I had a close call with a motorbike or so I thought. There seem to be no traffic rules except for the fact that you drive on the left hand side of the road, and I found the use pedestrian crossings quite funny as they just seem to be a waste of paint; the trick is to just walk out in to the road and pray that all the vehicles will just manoeuvre around you.

We decided to take the tourist bus to Pokhara which had air conditioning and was of a good standard. There were also other options such as either flying (too expensive), or taking the local micro bus which we had no idea what to expect, except for the fact that it would be cramped and bumpy which didn't seem too appealing for a 6-7hr journey. The route to Pokhara was simply stunning, or some may say scary if you don't like heights. The roads were quite narrow and windy, and run along the cliff edges from which you can see vast valleys and mountains filled with lush vegetation, streams, and terraced hills for farming; it makes you feel like an ant. I recommend that you don't look out the window or sleep through the whole journey if you get anxious at heights. Along the way you have breaks and you even stop for lunch at a roadside restaurant with great views and pretty good dahl baht (the main Nepalese dish).

Pokhara is the second biggest city in Nepal, and is rather tourist orientated as it's mainly a place where the adventurous come to rest before trekking the Annapurna mountain ranges of the Himalayas. It is laden with tourist shops selling an array of things- handmade clothes, ornate jewellery, hiking gear, travel and sport agencies all trying to make you go trekking/white water rafting/paragliding... with them them. In addition there are soo many restaurants catering to all types of cuisine other than dahl baht. There is one main road lined with these shops and it runs parallel to Phewa lake, hence it's name 'Lakeside'.

The guest house that we are staying at, Karma guest house, is a 5-10min walk from the lake, and is perfectly located as it is near to all the action yet far enough away that you don't get caught up in all the bustle. Also the best bit about Karma is that it feels like I'm living at home; the family who run it are so friendly, warm and welcoming, and that includes their very adorable dog named Muno. Our room is simple but nice and I can't fault it for the price we are paying.

On the first day in Pokhara we went to visit Phewa lake (what the photo is of) but it took us over 2 hours to get to as we were enticed into every shop along the way. You can't visit Pokhara and not go see the lake- it's soo stunning, especially during sunset when the sky has warm orange and yellow hues and you can see rays of sunshine through the clouds. I could spend hours by the lake just watching ripples on the water, seeing the boats go by and capturing the views of the hills it's enclosed by. I'm so glad that I decided to do my elective placement in Pokhara as opposed to chaotic Kathmandu which I would get fed up of in a few days. Pokhara is pretty green an on good days you can see the peaks of the Himalayas as you stroll along Lakeside and even right behind the hospital I work at; nature
at its best.

p.s. I've been posting these travel updates on my iphone when I get time and wifi so bear with the delays in updates. There is soo much I want to share but just havn't got time to write it, so watch this space.

A post from Fullest of Life

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Adventure Begins

It's been just a week since I have started my holiday or I should really be saying 'elective'. I somehow ended up in Nepal. At the beginning when I was told that I could go anywhere in the world to do a medical placement in what ever department I wanted, I was stuck for choice as I wanted to literally travel the whole world. I tried sorting out placements in places around the world but they didn't work out, so when my Nepalese friend suggested going to Nepal I thought to my self 'why not?!'. I've never been there and I've always loved the idea of visiting the Himalayas. We managed to get another friend on board after mentioning the idea to her; we'd be the 3 musketeers. So after a few days of planning the trip together spaced over several weeks, we ended up here.

We arrived in Kathmandu not knowing what to expect, and of course we were greeted with a power-cut; the start of many yet to come. The first thing we did was to get a local sim card at the airport. Did you know that they require a passport photo, a photocopy of your passport, your parents' and even your grand father's name, topped of with fingerprints?! I felt like I was signing my life away with all that information, and I found it rather funny how it was soo much easier and quicker to get the Nepalese visa than a plain old sim card. I would highly recommend a hotel pickup at the airport to avoid all the taxi drivers bombarding you, and it's also really nice when someone is there expecting and waiting for you. The first thought that ran through my head as I sat on the car ride to the hotel was how much like India Nepal looked, just with Nepalese looking people instead.

We stayed in a budget guest house and you could tell; I learnt my lesson of not sticking my hand into a tap before letting the water run, as the water can come out brown. Other than that I not really one to complain of petty things and the place wasn't that bad for the price we payed.

We ventured the streets of Thamel (the tourist and backpacker district) on the first night. I absolutely loved the buzz in the air, the narrow streets crammed with little shops, the vibrant colours of all the knick knacks and clothes being sold, and how everything was alive with lights amidst the darkness of the evening. It definitely felt like the beginning of an adventure. We found a little hotel restaurant to have our dinner, and just as we were sitting outside to eat, it started raining accompanied with lightning and another power-cut. However this didn't ruin the meal, as I loved the fact that we had a candle lit dinner in a little thatched hut; it felt so far from home but in a good exotic way. Our first meal was the highly recommended chicken momos, which were basically like wontons with a tomato dipping sauce; you can't leave Nepal without eating a momo.

That night we also experienced our first ever cold candle-lit shower, again due to the power-cut; no surprises there. It's amazing to think just how normal it is to have power cuts, as life would pretty much come to a stand-still back at home if a power cut occurred and people would go into a panicked frenzy. One of the things I like about this part of the world is that people just accept obstacles that may occur, and life just goes on as normal around them.

A post by 'Fullest of Life'

Monday, 14 May 2012

Jasmine Cream Tea Mousse Cake With Chocolate Chiffon


This cake was for a friends birthday. What better present than a cake.

When I set about making the cake I never intended it on being a mousse cake; I was actually planning on coating it in jasmine tea whipped cream, however when the cream doesn't whip you go about making mousse cake, voila, and no one will ever know! I have my flat mate to thank for saving the cake as she was the one who told me this rather nifty little mousse cake trick. Basically I think that the cream didn't whip to stiff peaks because I may have heated it too much when infusing the jasmine tea, so be sure to remove it from the heat just before it starts to simmer.

Even tough this cake has a lot of cream, it actually tastes quite light and was a real contrast to the other very chocolate cake which we had. What surprised me was that people kept asking me how I got the cake soo smooth on the sides, and how everything was soo even; if only they knew how easy it was and the real story behind it, they may not have been so impressed! As the saying goes 'when life gives you lemons make lemonade' or mousse cake is just as good.



Chocolate Chiffon
2 cups plain flour
2 1/2tsp cream of tartar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
6 medium eggs separated
1/4 cup sugar
1cup water
1/2 cup oil (I used sunflower, you can also use canola)
1tsp vanilla extract

Jasmine Tea Mousse
1136ml double cream
5tbsp jasmine tea (add more if you want a stronger flavour)
6tbsp icing sugar
2 1/2 sachets gelatine powder
75ml hot water
Optional chocolate flakes/chocolate chips


Chocolate Chiffon
1. Preheat oven to 160C.
2.Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix (flour, 2tsp cream of tartar, baking pwdr, baking soda and salt).
3. Beat the egg yolks, sugar, oil, vanilla essence and water.
4. Add the egg mixture to the flour and mix well till smooth and even.
5. Whisk the egg whites. Add 1/2tsp of cream of tartar when the mixture is starting to become light and frothy. Whisk till stiff peaks form.
6. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg whites and carefully fold in trying to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
 7. Pour this mixture into a cake pan and bake for around 1hr till a knife through the centre of the cake comes out clean. When you take the cake out of the oven let it cool upside down on a wire rack.

Jasmine Tea Cream Mousse
1. In a pan heat the cream, jasmine tea, and remove from the heat just before the mixture comes to the simmer.
2. Strain the mixture and leave to cool to room temperature. Then place in the fridge for a few hours to chill.
3. When cool, whip the cream with the icing sugar till it is 3/4 done (soft peaks, not stiff peaks).
4. Do this stage when you are just about to assemble the cake: make the gelatine mixture by adding the gelatine powder to the hot water and mix till it is is all dissolved. Add this mixture to the whipped cream and combine. 

1. Cut away excess cake to make the cake even and flat on all sides.
 2. Cut the cake in half.
3. Make the diameter of the cake smaller so that it is smaller that the cake pan (I took around 2cm from the sides). Place 1 layer of cake in the middle of a cake pan with the base lined with baking parchment or tinfoil.

4. Pour in the jasmine cream tea mixture so that it covers the sides and 0.5-1cm above the chocolate cake. Sprinkle some chocolate flakes/chips only above the cake (not the sides). Chill in the fridge for 10mins.
5. Now place the second layer of cake on top of the base layer. Pour the rest of the cream mixture over the cake and around the sides. You can cut the cake and make it shorter if you think there will not be enough cream mixture to fill everything. 
6. Chill in the fridge for at least 3-4hrs, preferably overnight. To remove the cake from the pan, just carefully push the base up (or open up the pan slowly if its spring-form).
 7. Decorate as you wish.

Chocolate chiffon cake: Nigella

A post from Fullest of Life

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Cheat's Healthy Peach Crumble

I've been trying to eat 'healthily' lately, which means that I've tried to cut down on the desserts, and sugar. In order to do this I forced myself not to buy the weekly block of butter and bag of sugar. I have to admit that this hasn't been going too well as I have such a massive sweet tooth that I literally crave sugar everyday, however I've managed to satisfy these cravings with alternative healthier concoctions. That's the story of how this crumble recipe was born, it uses no flour, butter or sugar and if you've made crumble you'll know that these ingredients are pretty much the basis of the recipe! The most important thing about crumble topping is that it's crunchy and sweet right? Well, what if you could make crumble without the classic ingredients but still get a similar flavour and texture- perfect right?! The secret is granola mixture, and the best bit is that it's even easier and quicker to make than a normal crumble!

Preparation time: 30mins
Serves: 2-3


1 can of tinned peaches
1 cup of granola (I used one with nuts in)
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Line an oven proof dish with the peaches.
3. Mix the granola with the honey and ground spices.
4. Sprinkle the granola mixture over the peaches.
5. Bake for 20-25mins till the granola browns slightly.
6. Serve warm with custard or ice-cream.

A post from Fullest of Life