Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
The grand-boys were delighted with these ice cream cone cupcakes which were  inspired by an idea on the Betty Crocker website. A chocolate cake mix was used to fill each cone halfway. Most children like to show off their creativity, and allowing them to frost and decorate their own ice cream cupcake makes it fun for everyone. 

Baked Cones in a Muffin Pan
It's important to find flat-bottomed medium sized ice cream cones. A muffin pan makes a great baking pan and foil was used to fill the gaps in the muffin cups to keep the cones straight while baking. The fear of the cones burning was completely misplaced. It was so amazing that they didn't even deepen in colour.

The Cones Filled in Nicely
The cake reached all the way to the bottom. It's fool-proof and almost impossible to make a mistake with this dessert.

Topped with
Ice Cream & Sprinkles
One option is to top the cone with ice cream. Serving ice cream in this way is mess-free and holes poked in the cake allowed the ice cream to seep all the way through to the bottom, so it's good to the last crumb. Another option is to pipe icing on each cupcake. In that case I would pour more batter into the cones because icing would stay more firmly in place.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Maacher Muro Diye Bhaja Mooger Dal - Fish Head in Toasted Split Mung Bean Lentils

Maacher Muro Diye Bhaja Mooger Dal
Maacher muro or fish head adds an enormous amount of flavour, also known as umami, to anything to which it is added. Umami, in my opinion, is that robust taste that is tough to satisfy; it makes the epicure crave more of the same. There are a myriad ways to prepare fish head and since I have so many of them in my freezer, I plan to serve them up in all the known ways. 

I have blogged about a few of these ways - Fish Head Pilaf, Squash with Fish Head and Bottle Gourd with Fish Heads. Toasted mung bean lentils serves as a creamy base for fish heads. The whole head is pan-fried to a golden brown crisp before immersing in the lentils to finish cooking.

Served with a steaming bowl of Basmati rice, I need nothing more than some peace and quiet so I can focus on removing the bones before enjoying this dish.


Monday, November 06, 2017

Irish Oatmeal Pilaf

Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal Pilaf
During a phone call to my sister-in-law about a month ago, she suggested I try this pilaf for lunch. Admittedly, it didn't sound very appealing because porridge is porridge and nothing like pilaf. It was a good thing I decided to try it anyway.


McCann's Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Steel-cut oatmeal is available in the British/UK section of the international aisle of the grocery store. Because of how long it takes to cook, this type of oats is given a wide berth, but after wrapping my mind around pilaf, I decided to treat it just like rice. This tactic worked well and the pilaf tasted amazingly good!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Maacher Deem Bhaja - Fried Fish Roe

Maacher Deem Bhaja
Sometimes, I wake up in the morning with an incredible feeling of being blessed beyond imagination. This feeling persists as hot water pours out of the taps and I find a comfortable spot to enjoy my iced coffee with an almond biscotti. Our stress-free life in the most comfortable place in the world is just one of the ways in which we benefit from growing older. Going away on vacation is very exciting, but the best part is returning home. There is no place on earth I'd rather be than exactly where I am today.

In my recent blogs, I've mentioned Hubby's ex-colleague & fisherman who has been supplying us with fresh fish. His last batch included an enormous amount of fish roe which to a Bengali is as precious as gold. In its fried form fried roe is served as a starter but the fried nuggets are also cooked in mustard gravy or any fish gravy. They have to be pan-fried first in any case, so here is how fish roe is prepared, using just five simple ingredients.


Maacher Chop - Fish Cakes

Maacher Chop
Usually served as a first course in a Bengali meal, these fish patties can be made with any fish, such as salmon, tuna or tilapia. Mashed potatoes are most commonly used for binding, but bread crumbs work too. The shape varies from the long, cylindrical croquettes to these round patties. Filleted fish is the easiest to work with because most of the bones have been removed, but an effort should be made to remove any remaining bones by hand.

The process is quite simple. The fish needs to be poached, flaked and deboned. Russet or baking potatoes have to be boiled for 20 minutes, peeled and mashed. Aromatics made up of onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies, mint and cilantro need to be minced and stir-fried before adding the fish and further stir-frying, seasoned with salt and a pinch of pepper. This needs to be cooled to room temperature before combining with mashed potatoes and formed into patties.

The easiest way to pan-fry these is to dredge the patties in flour before frying or for a crispy coating, they can be dipped in beaten eggs and panko crumbs. Decorate the serving platter with sliced onions, tomatoes and wedges of lime, pile the patties on and serve with sweet chili sauce, ketchup, tamarind or mint chutney.