Thursday, 29 November 2012

Jan Ellis Pudding with a brandy-orange sauce

I finally steamed my Christmas pudding two days back. The recipe said 10 to 12 hours but I just couldn't bear to carry on for that long and so after about 8 hours I checked it with a skewer, nothing stuck to it and so I decided it was time. While it was steaming, there was no divine smell of the soaked fruits in brandy or anything and I was disappointed. But once the cake was put aside to cool, the smells that filled my house was sooo good. It was like Christmas in a bowl. Ro on the other hand could have been a bit more enthusiastic about it..but instead he asked:
'cant we just buy a pud from M & S like we always do?' 
No we cant because I STIRRED this pud with aching arms and now I want to flambé it for Christmas. OK then this months electricity bill is coming out of your salary. 
Hmm, OK, screw the stirred pud, maybe we can actually just buy it from M & S

But then we agreed to still go ahead with this, with the bill situation still unresolved. But when those smells wafted through the house, I had a slight feeling it was thoroughly worth it. Its now well wrapped up and put in a cool, dark corner for the flavours to develop and then on Christmas day it has to steam for another 2 more house, after which it will be ready to be flambéed.
Since I couldn't eat the pudding I steamed, I went and baked another pudding yesterday. I am a novice when it comes to steamed puddings and after the 8hr experiment, I didn't want another steamed one. So I opted for the Jan Ellis Pudding which is probably the simplest but tastiest pud I have had in a while. I made it in a 2 litre Mermaid pudding basin which was absolutely perfect for the deed. Made of hard anodised aluminium, the basin is extremely solid and durable and there is even heat distribution which is great for the pudding to cook all the way through. I did butter the basin a bit with fear of not being able to turn it out on to a plate easily, but I doubt that was necessary, as it came out nice and smooth and with no fuss. The only thing I noticed was that, about 10 minutes into the baking time the top started to brown severely. I don't know if it was because of the heat from the basin or just the oven, but it was solved by covering with a silver foil sheet.  

The pudding is traditionally South African and you can read more about it on Cook Sister where I saw the recipe a loong time back and had book marked it. The pudding on its own is pretty average, but the sauce that accompanies it just takes it to a whole different level. Soaked in the sauce, this dessert will definitely be a hit. Go on, try out something different for Christmas and I assure you wont be disappointed.

Recipe adapted from here and here (serves 4 to 6)
IMG_5711 IMG_5700
Milk- 1/2 cup
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Plain flour- 1 1/2 cups
Granulated sugar- 1/2 cup
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Apricot jam- 2 tbsp
Eggs- 2
Butter- 2 tbsp, melted
Cinnamon powder- 1/8th tsp (optional)

For the sauce
Double cream- 3/4 cup
Boiling water- 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar- 1/2 cup
Orange zest- 1/2 tbsp
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp
Brandy/ Cognac- a few splashes 
Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and keep aside.
Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and into that add the remaining ingredients. Mix well using a strong wooden spoon, breaking down the apricot jam as you go.
Pour in the milk mix and continue stirring till all the ingredients come together and you get a smooth batter.
Pour into a lightly greased 2 litre pudding basin and bake in an oven preheat at 180C for about 40 to 45 minutes.
Once the skewer comes out clean, take the basin out of the oven and leave to cool for about 5 minutes after which you can turn it on to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the pudding is in the oven, you can get working on your sauce.
Mix together the cream, boiling water, sugar and orange zest in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Take it off the heat and add in the vanilla and brandy, give a good stir and leave aside till your pud is ready.

When ready to serve, douse the pudding with enough syrup and have it hot or cold.
What I did was, I transferred the pud into a deep plate, warmed it up a wee bit in the microwave and poured over the some of the sauce. 
Left it aside for a couple of minutes and it had soaked up pretty well.
If you don't want to do this, then once you slice the pud, you can pour over the sauce then and serve. Not everyone might enjoy a soaked up pud. I sure did though :)
Notes: Feel free to halve the recipe, in which case you may need to reduce cooking time and also use a smaller pudding basin.
That said, you are free to bake this in any pan you like, a 9 inch cake pan would work perfectly well. But again watch out for cooking time.
I think i over baked my pud  a bit more than necessary and so it wasn't it soft soft. But once the sauce went over, it was no problem at all.
Jeanne of Cook Sister has used orange zest in her batter as well. Feel free to use about 2 tsp of zest if you please.
The cinnamon powder can be replaced with a pinch of nutmeg powder, or completely avoided. Your choice.
The brandy is purely optional. Avoid if not a fan.
I thought the apricot jam would lend a nice taste to the final product, but was disappointed I couldn't even taste it. I wonder why???

With thanks to Mermaid Bakeware for sending me the Pudding Basin for this challenge. All views expressed are my own.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stir up Sunday and mince pie recipe

Today is Stir up Sunday. In all honesty I had no idea there was a day called Stir up Sunday. So when Asda invited me to an event for the same, I was a bit confused. Thanks to Google, all my doubts were cleared and here's what Stir up Sunday is all about. Its the last Sunday before the season of Advent and its on this day that you prepare (stir-up) your Christmas puddings so that there is enough time for the flavours to develop. The whole family gets together and takes their turn at stirring the pud and while they are at it, each of them would make a secret wish. Also, the pudding is stirred from East to West in honour of the three wise men who visited Baby Jesus. I was thoroughly amused by these findings and it did make me look forward to the event.
Asda in collaboration with the Leiths School of Food and Wine invited some of us lucky food bloggers for some hands on experience with Christmas baking. The evening was so much fun, with the highlight being the fabulous spread from the Asda Extra Special Range. I was thoroughly amazed at how good they tasted and my personal favourite- the dim sum platter - was to die for. I cant wait for them to appear in the market so I can start gorging on them religiously. We socialised over mulled wine and champagne and then was given a brief by the talented chefs about Stir up Sunday and Christmas puddings after which we were all lead to the kitchen to do a blind tasting of three different Christmas puddings, all matured for different durations. We also got to taste the absolutely delicious Jewelled Yule Pudding which was moist and laden with fruit, nuts, brandy and spices...sooo very Christmassy. It was perhaps my favourite.
We then went on to try our hand at some baking. Started off with mince pies and although I'm paranoid when it comes to handling pastry, I somehow managed it and was not as intimidated as I thought. While the pastry was chilling in the fridge, we went about making our pudding mix. This was quite exciting for me, since it was my first experience and in spite of trying to concentrate really hard I kinda messed up a bit. I added the entire egg mix at one go instead of slowly adding and stirring, but thanks to a helpful Head Chef, I still managed to bring it all together after the soaked fruits were added. We transferred the mix into a pudding dish and did the ritual of covering it up (which I am pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do without some help). It has to be steamed for 10 to 12 hours (yes you heard it right) after which it can be stored in a cool dark place for as long as you want. So yes, now I have to get around to doing the steaming business if I want it ready for Christmas.
We also decorated some all butter Christmas tree cookies with orange chocolate and nuts. These, if tied with a string can be so adorable on Christmas trees. Sadly mine got over soon after i brought them home and so will have to do a fresh batch and resist the urge to eat them, if i have any plans of hanging it up on a tree:). While the goodies were being baked and set, we continued gorging on the yummy food and catching up with each other. It was such a fun night out, and we all got back home with bags full of goodies from the Asda Extra Special Range and enough Christmas puddings to last for a while :)

Star topped mince pies (recipe adapted from the Asda, in collaboration with the Leiths School of Food and Wine)
Shortcrust pastry
Plain flour- 170 gms
Salt- a pinch
Butter- 100 gms, unsalted
Caster sugar- 2 tbsp
Egg yolk- 1
Iced cold water- 2 tbsp

A jar of Asda Extra Special mince meat (refer notes)

Sift the flour with salt into a large bowl.
Rub in butter till the mix resembles bread crumbs
Add the sugar and mix through followed by the egg yolk and water.
Mix it all together to form a firm dough. May need a bit more water, but remember, a crumbly dough, although difficult to handle, will result in a shorter, lighter pastry, as opposed to a damn dough.
Divide your pastry into 2, approx. 2/3rd to 1/3rd.
Roll out the larger disc to a 3mm thickness and cut out 12 circles, a little wider than your pie tray hole.
press the circles into the  lightly buttered pie tray.
Roll out the smaller half of the pastry dough and cut out 12 stars. 
Transfer on to a baking tray and chill both trays in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes.
When ready to bake, pre heat the oven to 200C.
Place a spoon and a bit more of the mince meat filling into each pie shell ad top each of them with a star.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the pie from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.
Just before serving dust with some icing sugar.
Notes: We were given two mince meat filling- one a whisky and orange and the other port and brandy. I did a half and half. 
Also, don't fill your pies with too much mince meat, they may bubble up when cooking and spill over, causing the pies to stick to the tray.

With thanks to Asda for having me over as a guest for the event

Monday, 19 November 2012

Keralan prawn biryani

As I have said numerous time before, I am a sucker for biryani, good or bad. I can thoroughly enjoy it without an issue. That said, I completely suck at making biryani the proper way and so cant flaunt it when I have guests over. I do experiment with different types of biryani when its just us at home and sometimes it comes out ok, but most of the time, not good.

When the lovely people over at Flora asked me if I wanted to try making the Keralan Prawn Biryani recipe from their new cookbook called 'Let's Get Cooking,' I jumped at it. With around 30 odd recipes contributed by mums (and dads), the cookbook was put together by Jean-Christophe Novelli and has an array of easy recipes you can whip up in no time. You can view all the recipes in the cookbook here. It was also my first time using Flora Cuisine, and I must say I'm pretty impressed with it. Its a much healthier cooking oil which can be used in place of any oil or butter and used for baking, frying, greasing, sauteing and what not. I have been regularly using it for my cooking now and I love it.
Coming to the recipe. One look at it and you will instantly realise its an easy peacy one, with no complications of a biryani. That said, its not the traditional biryani. So scoot if its what you are looking for. The rice here is cooked in a microwave, the prawn masala made separately and then both mixed together and served. Not the authentic biryani flavour you would get with this, but would suffice for one of those days you don't want to slog it out in the kitchen, but want something fancy and tasty. I had never cooked rice in a microwave and was wary about doing so, especially because it involved a huge quantity of ingredients and you definitely don't want to waste it by screwing it up. So I did a couple of Google searches, asked the contributor of the recipe (who btw has her own food blog) and some other friends and they all assured me it would turn out well as they regularly did it. 

I was still too chicken to do it and so tried it out with a small quantity of plain rice the previous day. All I have to say is, I'm hooked. I'm kicking myself for not discovering microwave cooking earlier. Its so easy and convenient and the best part, individual grains of rice which are perfectly cooked and fluffy. I now make different types of pulao and stuff in the microwave, which I shall blog about later. So anyways, the whole thing doesn't take any time to put together especially if you make the prawn masala a day or two ahead. Which is what I did and all I had to do was make the rice, garnish and assemble it on THE day. Taste-wise, I thought it was more like a prawn pulao than a biryani, but who cares, it tasted good nonetheless. 

Recipe adapted from Flora's Let's Get Cooking
To marinate
Tiger prawns- 500 gms, peeled and cleaned
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste

For the masala
Flora Cuisine- 2 tbsp
Onion- 1 large, thinly sliced
Ginger paste- 2 tbsp
Garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Green chillies- 2, slit
Coriander powder- 2 tsp
Mint leaves- 1/4 cup, cleaned and roughly chopped
Coriander leaves- 1/3rd cup, cleaned and roughly chopped
Garam masala- 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Water- 1/2 to 3/4th cup
Lemon juice- 1 tbsp

For the rice
Basmati rice- 2 cups, cleaned and soaked in water for around 15 to 20 minutes and then drained.
Flora Cuisine- 1 tbsp
Onion- 1 large, thinly sliced
Boiling water- 4 1/4 cups
Salt- to taste

Garnish (optional)
Cashewnuts- 3 tbsp
Onion- 1 half, julienned
Raisins- 1 tbsp
Marinate the cleaned prawns with all the ingredients under the marinate section and keep aside for about 15 to 20 minutes. This is purely optional. Skip the step if time constrained.
Once the marinating time is over, you can start with the masala.
Place a large pan over medium heat and add the Flora Cuisine. Once hot, saute the onions till they turn soft and a light brown in colour.
Add the ginger, garlic pastes and green chilli and continue sauteing till the raw smell disappears, around 2 to 3 minutes.
Throw in the coriander powder, chopped mint and coriander leaves', garam masala and salt and mix it all in, stirring for about a minute or so.
Add the marinated prawns, water and lemon juice and simmer on medium heat till the prawns are cooked through and the masala is in semi-gravy form. Keep aside.
This can be made the previous day or 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
Add the boiling water into a large (big enough to comfortably hold the rice once it expands) microwave safe bowl and add the drained rice.
Season with enough salt, give a stir and cook without a lid in the microwave for about 10 minutes.
Simultaneously, heat 1 tbsp of the Flora Cuisine in a frying pan and sauté the onions for the rice till soft and light brown. 
After 10 minutes, remove the rice from the microwave (carefully, bowl might be hot) and add the sauteed onions to it. Give a thorough mix and continue cooking for about 12 minutes.
Once the time is up, check to see if all the water has been absorbed and if not, microwave for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
Take the bowl out, cover with a lid and leave aside for 10 minutes. You will then notice that the rice is perfectly cooked, and no water remains.

To assemble, fluff the rice gently using a fork and mix it with with the prawn masala. Make sure you don't over do the mixing and break the rice.
If using garnish, then heat 2 tbsp of Flora cuisine in a frying pan and fry the cashew nuts, onions and raisins separately till lightly crisp, drain on paper towels and when ready to serve garnish with the same.
Serve with pappad, pickle and raita.
Notes: The original recipe calls for frying the marinated prawns for around 4 minutes on each side and adding that to the masala. I omitted this step because I used pre-cooked prawns and doing so would have made it tough when cooked again in the masala. If using fresh prawns, then this step is highly recommended.
Quantities have been altered a bit to suit our taste.
I cooked the rice on full power (700Watts) for 22 minutes. Times vary according to your microwave power.
You can of course layer the biryani the traditional way and cook in the oven or on the hob top to get the 'dum' effect. But the whole point of this biryani is the simplicity and so I followed the above mentioned procedure
I froze the remaining biryani in an air tight container. Just take it out and let it thaw at room temperature before using and finally warm in a microwave before serving.

With thanks to Flora Cuisine for sending me all the ingredients to make this tasty Prawn Biryani.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

No bake biscuit pudding (biscuit cake)

This is my mums signature dish. She makes it at every party and get together and is so popular among everyone. Back in those school/college- going days (I know I sound like a grand mother) whenever there is a party and my mums making a list of things to make, my brother and I would beg her to NOT make this damn biscuit pudding. It used to be so funny...even some of my uncles and relatives used to joke saying, we are not coming to your house if you are serving that biscuit pudding as dessert. Ironic, because, today I'm missing home terribly and thought what better to post than my mums infamous biscuit pudding on this Diwali day, and remember all things comforting and secure...home.

She used to claim its so damn easy to put together and was any day better than a store bought tub of ice cream (which we wouldn't agree of course) and also since it could be cut into slices, it made for a perfect fuss free, plate-free dessert, hence less washing up and easy solution. You might by now understand where I get my lazy genes from..yes mum, thank you very much. But in all honesty, I would completely understand her reasoning. Parties used to go till late in the night and no one wants to sit and wash dishes and clear up stuff till the wee hours of the morning. No dish washer and no live-in house maid to make this job easier. So anything to ease this process was welcome. 
I called her up the other day to get the recipe and my exact line was 'Mummy I want the recipe for that horrible biscuit pudding you make.' To which she replied, I knew you would one day ask me for the recipe and I shall not give you. I said don't push it since I already had a tonne of biscuit pudding recipes from google searches and if by chance one of those turned out awesome, it would replace her boring recipe. After pulling each others legs for a while, she slyly told me shed just made the recipe that very day cos they had guests over for lunch the next day and so I got the recipe off hand.

So this Diwali, when everyone's making jamuns and Mysore pak and other yummy desserts, go against tradition and made this biscuit pudding instead. Its hassle free and tastes absolutely delish. I have tried another version of the same from Shabs Cuisine and it was great, even though a bit time consuming, and is much more richer and fancier than this version. Take your pick. Either ways, you will love it.

I would also like to dedicate this post to a blog reader of mine U, who sends me the sweetest emails and keeps in touch with me constantly. I thoroughly look forward to her inputs on the recipes I have posted and she once requested for a biscuit pudding recipe. Although I'm terribly late in posting it, I hope she enjoys it and is the recipe she was looking for. 
Tea biscuits/ Marie biscuits- 1/2 a pack (as needed)
Coffee/ Espresso powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Water- 1 cup
Butter- 100 gms, at room temperature
Icing sugar- 1 cup
Cocoa powder- 4 tbsp
Milk- approx. 2 tbsp
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp

Make a cup of coffee by diluting the coffee/ espresso powder in 1 cup boiling water. Keep aside to cool.
In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. You can do this using a spatula or your hand held beater/ free standing mixer. Its not too difficult if your butter is soft enough.
Sift the cocoa powder into the mix and continue beating till they are all mixed well.
Add the vanilla extract followed by milk and continue beating till everything comes together. Add the milk bit by bit and see if it reaches the required consistency. It shouldn't be too stiff, but easily spreadable consistency, and not too watery. I used around 1 1/2 tbsp.
Dip the biscuits in the coffee and place a layer at the bottom of the pan (refer notes). Its ok if some of them overlap.
Drop a couple of spoons of the chocolate-butter cream mix on top of the biscuits and using a palette knife/ spatula spread it out as evenly as possible and pushing the cream into all the corners and spaces. Again, it need not be smooth and stuff.
Continue with another layer of biscuits followed by cream till all of it is over and the cream is the top most layer. I got 4 layers of each.
Fold over the cling wrap, give a gentle press and refrigerate for at least 4 hours..
When ready to serve, lift the pudding out of the pan, unfold it, turn it onto a plate and decorate (if needed) or immediately slice and place in a serving plate.
Notes: There are 2 ways to assemble the pudding..
  • Line a 9 inch loaf pan with cling film, so that the ends fall over the sides and there is enough cling film to fold over the top. This method will let you lift the entire thing off the pan and slice into desired sizes. Less messier, easier and looks pretty.
  • Just layer the entire thing in a square glass/ brownie dish and slice them as required. May be a bit tricky to get the pieces out, but my mum follows this method. She says it works.
The chocolate melts really fast when kept outside for too long, so hand around paper napkins along with the slices. You don't want chocolate stains on your new Fab India cushion cover do you?? :)
You can decorate the top with chopped nuts, chocolate swirls etc. I didn't do it because Ro will dig into it in a matter of seconds and its not worth all that decoration ;)
My mum uses up an entire pack of biscuits, but that could be because she uses a square Pyrex dish for the same. If using up all the biscuits, you may need a wee bit more coffee.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sponsored video: The Truffle Kerfuffle

There are days when I just dont even want to think about cooking, leave alone actually do it and on those rare occasions, I actually do wish I had some other option other than the ready microwave meals or take away. Scouting around on the internet looking for easy recipes when you are short of time, or even worse..hungry, is not a great idea. First of all, the numerous food pics make you hungry and second, you have waaay too many ideas put in front of you, you end up being more confused and frustrated.

But not to worry people...Scratch Meals comes to your rescue with their wonderful, fresh meals which can all be cooked in the time it takes to heat a ready meal. And what's even better, they are all collaborated by Michel Roux Snr, arguably the finest chef in the world. So you head over to Sainburys on your way back from work, take your pick from Chicken Tikka Masala, Chorizo Paella (I feel stupid thinking I have slaved over this for hours in the past), Chicken Thai Green Curry, Noodle Laksa and Tagliatelle Pistachio Pesto, get home, follow instructions, and in under 8 minutes you have your meal ready.

But there seems to a be slight problem now. Michel Roux has lost a very expensive (30K! gasp!) truffle and a reward is being given to anyone who finds it. It is known to have fallen into Scratch Meal packs and anyone who finds it could win £1 off their next meal and also stand a chance at winning the £10,000 reward for its safe return. For more information on the hunt and clues regarding the missing truffle follow Scratch on Facebook and Twitter.

A heated discussion with Michel's sous chef Richard over a video call has been recorded the day after the truffle went missing. Check it out if you want to get some clues regarding the same.

PS: Apparently pigs are better at finding truffles than dogs. Just a hint ;)

The post has been sponsored by Scratch Meals

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Blueberry breakfast muffins

The husband started complaining about how boring his morning breakfast of toast, butter and cold meats were getting too monotonous and I thought I'll whip up some blueberry muffins for him. The muffins came out ok but our gluttonous minds set to work the moment they came out of the oven and so we were left with around 3 by the next morning. Since its just me and Ro doing all the eating, I usually make small quantities of all the cakes and bakes and cookies and such. This was no exception and yes, out of 8 large muffins, we ate around 5 within a time span of about 3 hours and then resisted the urge to have them as dessert after dinner.

So the muffins lasted for exactly one morning and it hasn't made its way through ever since. But please don't judge them by what I just said. It's got nothing to do with taste, just that blueberries went out of season right after this and the husband went back to having toast and cold meats because the muffins still left him hungry!!!!

I have tried making muffins numerous times before and except for the time I tried them with whole wheat, the rest have all been disastrous. I keep wanting them to taste (and look) like the Starbucks ones, but they don't come anywhere close. These, however, were moist, easy to put together and good to look at, and I was sold. If I ever make blueberry muffins again, I shall be sticking to this recipe. Well unless Starbucks actually gives me the recipe for their mother of a muffin :)

Recipe adapted from here (makes 8 of them)
Egg- 1 large
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil- 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract- 1/4 tsp
Plain flour- 1 cup
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Baking soda- 1/4 tsp
Plain yogurt- 1/2 cup
Blueberries- 1/2 cup (heaped)
Mix together flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Keep aside
In a large mixing bowl, using a wire whisk or a wooden spoon, beat the egg till light and fluffy.
Gradually add in the sugar, while continuously whisking, followed by oil.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Tip in the dry ingredients alternating the yogurt and mix it all in, without any traces of flour being obvious.
Slowly fold in the blueberries and using a large ice-cream scoop add the batter to a muffin pan, lined with muffin cases/ cups.
Bake in an oven preheated at 200C for about 20 to 22 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean (if you by chance pierce a blueberry, it wont come out clean, so don't take that into consideration)
Transfer the tray on to a wire rack and after about 5 minutes, remove the muffin cups and leave to cool completely.
Stays fine at room temperature for 2 days.

Notes: Original recipe calls for sour cream, but I had only yogurt at hand and used it instead. came out super moist whatsoever.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Prawn thokku/ roast- A guest post for The Captain's Kitchenette; and the Andy Bates American Street Feasts Show

There are so many wonderful food blogs out there, that I find it difficult to browse through all the yummy recipes they post. I still manage to run through a few once in a while, and eventually end up with tonnes of recipes bookmarked. Serah's beautiful blog, The Captains Kitchenette, certainly falls into this category and its her simple, easy-to-follow recipes that makes me a fan. I landed up on her blog after her sister (we were hostel mates in Chennai) posted a link to a recipe on FB. I was immediately hooked. We then exchanged a couple of emails, became friends on FB and the rest is history. She's now more of a friend than a random food blogger and I hope some day I get to meet her and her lovely family she cooks for. I also have to appreciate her for taking time to cook, photograph and blog in spite of having a toddler to tend to. Like I was telling her the other day, I complain if I have to continuously cook for a week ;)

Since Serah was taking some time off to tend to other commitments, she asked me if I could do a guest post for her blog and I truly obliged. She gave me full leverage on what I could whip up and since she said she preferred sea food, I thought I'd make this prawn thokku for her. I came across the recipe on one of my recipe search sessions on the internet and immediately wrote it down (yes believe it or not, I actually wrote it down). Completely forgot to bookmark the page and so apologies to the person who originally posted it. I did try searching for it again, but since this was written down ages back, I really had no luck.
Thokku, loosely translated means paste, and I presume this is more a TN preparation as opposed to the mallu (Kerala) way of making prawn roast. The use of fennel seeds make this dish quite unique, and of course something with grated coconut can never go wrong. This is a favourite prawn recipe of ours and has made its appearance on quite a few occasions. Although it goes well with some warm rice, dal and pappad, my favourite way to have it is as a starter with some chilled beer. just thread it onto small skewers, sprinkle the masala on top, and serve. It's a crowd pleaser, trust me!

So without wasting more time, head on over to Serah's kitchenette for the recipe and while you are there dont forget to take a peek around and drool. I have bookmarked a whole lot of recipes from her blog and seriously, dont forget to check out the authentic Coorgi recipes she's put up. Absolutely droolworthy!
Thanks a bunch for having me over Serah :)

On another note, here's something street food lovers might be interested in. Food Network is hosting a brand new series documenting the vibrant street food scene in the US called American Street Feasts and is hosted by the charming Andy Bates (yes, the blue-eyed Pie-Man with a delicious Brit accent). I have caught bits and pieces of his show here and is quite an eye-opener, especially because street food is seriously catching on and we have just started exploring some of the places.

The show basically follows Andy on a street food odyssey across the US, visiting the most vibrant food destinations and discovering the stories behind the recipes. He uses them as inspiration to create his own recipes, some of them being the Braised pork belly and Waldorf salad in a pretzel wrap and the Crawfish ball and Jambalaya. The show is aired every weekday at 12.30pm and 6.30 pm on Food Network and if you haven't been able to catch the previous episodes, visit Andy's collection page and give it a go. You can also use the interactive 'Street Food Map' to find out where to get the best street food in UK and while you are at it, go on and submit your suggestions on what to feature and so on. For the fans out there, Andy Bates' new cookbook is out in the market, so go on and grab you copy from any of the leading book stores or Amazon.

With thanks to Food Network for a copy of the cookbook