Apple Crumble Coffee Cake

  • Start by creaming the butter, sugar and vanilla in your stand mixer. Start slow (Kitchen Aid Mixer Speed 4) and go up to 8. I don’t go up all the way to 10 unless I’m in a very cold kitchen. Add the eggs gradually and mix well.
  • Peel and core the apples. I usually cube them in 1.2 cm cubes. You don’t want them too small or they might disintegrate. Once peeled, do not leave the apples lying around or they will oxidise.
  • Sift the dry ingredients; the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda; fold the dry ingredients rapidly. Add the apple cubes and mix well.
  • This is not a genoise or a sponge, hence this is best baked on a wide tray. The 13″ x 9″ tray would be a good size to use. For this exercise, I used two loaf tins as in the picture above. I baked at 200°C for an hour, and cranked up the heat to 220°C for a little extra browning on the surface.

Ingredients

120g softened butter
450g caster sugar
2g vanilla extract
2 large eggs
250g all-purpose flour
2g ground cinnamon
2g ground nutmeg
3g salt
3g baking soda
250g cooking apples (cubed)

 

Kidney Bean Stew. Rajma.

Kidney Beans. Kashmiri Rajma beans is what they’re called in India. In London, just get the can of kidney beans and start cooking. In India, not so much. You start dry. You soak them overnight. They’re still hard. You cook them in salted water – still firm. So you either let it sit for a few hours, or pressure cook it to 5 whistles. It’s now cooked.

Lemon Curd Pavlova

Egg White Foam + Sugar = Meringue
The amount of sugar will increase the crispiness of a meringue after it’s cooked. I use a little over 40g of sugar per (large) egg white.

For the Pavlova

  • 5 egg whites
  • Pinch salt
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 8g cornstarch
  • 5g white wine vinegar
  • 5g vanilla extract

For the Lemon Curd

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g freshly squeezed
  • 3 lemons, zested
  • 90g unsalted butter

Method

Check for stiff peaks. Invert bowl on your head.
Meringue done. Medium Stiff peaks.
  • Preheat the oven to 135˚C and line a large baking tray with parchment paper or simply use a silicone baking mat.
  • Start whipping at low speed, then gradually increase the speed to medium (setting 6). When the egg whites begin to look foamy, begin adding the sugar in one tablespoon at a time.
  • Once the sugar is incorporated and dissolved, increase the speed to high and whip until glossy stiff peaks form (but not super stiff). At this point you may reserve some to make a batch of meringue. Add cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla and fold. I usually make some meringue and some pavlova.
  • Remove the mixing bowl from the machine and spoon the meringue into 6 dollops on the prepared baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon to from the meringue into egg-like shapes, then use the spoon to make a litte crater in the centre for the lemon curd.
  • Place the tray in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 120˚C. After half hour, reduce to 80˚C and bake for another 30-45 minutes. Turn the oven off, and crack the oven door ajar for a bit to let out some of the heat. Let the pavlovas/meringues sit and cool inside the oven for an hour.
  • In a saucepan on medium heat, add the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest to the bowl and whisk until smooth. This can’t be done on a stand mixer because you’re cooking the curd mix. Once the curd thickens, remove from heat and stir in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until well combined. Pass through a chinois or a strainer, cool at room temperature and refrigerate.
  • Once cooled, fill the pavlovas with lemon curd and serve. The pavlova shells can be made one day in advance. Lemon curd can be made one week in advance.
Meringues dolloped on to a silmat, ready to bake.

Aviyal. Wet cooked.

A friend of mine had once commented on a Bengali veggie medley (specially commissioned for her) that she had had at a friend’s wedding and told me that she was made to believe that this was the Bengali equivalent of an aviyal. I had loosely heard and experienced an aviyal on a few occasions but never understood how the absence of an induction fat (the first step in an aviyal is to cook the vegetables on a simmer) could create flavour.

How could it compare to the fragrances and flavours of a paanch mishali tarkari (mix of five veggies) carefully picked to impart sugars, starches and umami to a self sauced broth or perhaps a puree? It seemed like a really bad analogy. An aviyal after all, is definitely not self saucing because of the absence of overly starchy vegetables.

Batonnet cuts. Clockwise from top: Drumsticks (3 inches), French Beans, Elephant Yam, Plantain, Cucumber, Snake Gourd, Plantain Peel, Green Chillis, Bunch of curry leaves

The Cooking Process

The blanching of vegetables is quick and must be done in salted water. The green vegetables should be further shocked in ice in order to set the chlorophyll.

Even then, the amalgamation step of the addition of coconut paste to the blanched vegetables being devoid of a fat inclusive browning or caramelisation almost confirms the lack of additional flavour creation.

Flavour creation

The stewing process of the coconut paste with a souring agent such as tamarind or yogurt creates a textured mash with the dominant flavours being the sourness from the yogurt, the verdant freshness of the green vegetables infused into the sauce, flavour from the skin of the green chillis and more infused goodness from curry leaves. The absence of an initial roasting or a frying process makes it difficult to create a unifying sauce since what the

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