The dinner party-
I decided to have a dinner party on a Friday. I planned all the ‘making life easy’ moves and ensured I wouldn’t have too much to do when I got home from work at 3.00pm. I, of course, still ended up on my feet until dinner was served at 6.30pm.
The menu was Indian themed.
Nibbles were bhuja, popadoms and Indian frozen snacks (cooked of course)
Pakistani “old clothes” beef curry (nihari)
Cauliflower and tomato curry
The pudding –
Chewy orange and almond cookies.
Chocolate macaroon cake
The slow cooker beef was a bit of a gamble, but one that paid off. Beef and Indian food are not usually a match but in the north of the country beef is eaten. This sounded appealing and like a Indian version of pulled pork. It worked and was very tasty and lovely. I would recommend any Indian food/ slow cooker fans to get the book it came from as it gives a real idea of how to get flavour into the meal and quantities needed.
Pakistani “old clothes” beef curry (nihari)
2 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut in half, sliced
2 lbs beef brisket, trimmed of fat
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into chunks
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 heaping tsp ground (powdered) ginger
4 green or white cardamom pods
3 bay leaves
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 Tbsp ground fennel
1 Tbsp ground mild (red) chili pepper
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black salt (or substitute kosher salt)
1/2 cup canola oil
Place the onions in a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker, and set the meat on top. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind the ginger and garlic to a paste, and add it to the slow cooker.
Add the remaining ingredients and drizzle the oil over everything; no need to mix! Cook on LOW for 9 hours (after 5 hours, turn the meat), until the beef falls apart.
Remove the meat to a bowl, and shred it with two forks. Return the meat to the slow cooker and toss with the sauce. Serve with naan or over white, brown or basmati rice.
My main adaptation was, I drained the juices off the meat into a saucepan. I shredded the meat and placed back in the slow cooker with some of the juices to cook for a further 40ish minutes.
This dish was really, really tasty. It was different from the normal India food but I would certainly make it again.
Now to talk about my favourite bit, PUDDING.
I did 2 choices but we all had both.
With the tart I left out the coffee liqueur and substituted the hazelnuts for ground almonds. This was one impressive pudding and easy to do. I made the base the night before and then did the chocolate mousse as soon as I got in from work. I will be making this again.
Chocolate Macaroon Tart (GF)
2 x #6 egg whites
¼ cup caster sugar
50 grams hazelnuts, finely ground
¾ cup desiccated coconut
¾ cup icing sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
pinch sea salt
200 grams dark chocolate, 62% cocoa, finely chopped
50 grams butter, diced
2 tablespoons liqueur, I used a coffee liqueur
¾ cup cream, softly whipped
24 cm spring form cake tin
Grease the cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 170°C fan bake.
Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar until thick and glossy.
Combine the hazelnuts, coconut, icing sugar and ginger then fold into the egg whites in two batches.
Spoon into the tin and smooth the top.
Bake for 20 minutes until firm to the touch and a pale golden. Cool completely.
Mousse: Put the water, vanilla, sugar, oil and the salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Take off the heat and immediately add the chocolate and butter. Leave for 1 minute then whisk until smooth and shiny. Stir in the liqueur, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool. Fold in ½ of the cream then gently but thoroughly fold in the remaining cream, stopping as soon as it is combined. Don’t over mix or the chocolate will go grainy.
Pour the mousse over the base and very gently shake the tin to settle it in an even layer. Decorate the edges with extra shaved chocolate if desired then chill for several hours until firm.
To serve: Remove the sides of the tin and carefully peel off the baking paper. Remove the tart from the base and transfer to a serving plate. Serve well chilled straight from the refrigerator topped with fresh raspberries. Serves 8-12
I have made these next biscuits several times. I was directed to the recipe by a fellow almond lover, Micky. It took me a while to make them and they are now requested fairly frequently. They are mouth wateringly good. The recipe is from Chelsea Sugar, use their ingredients, they are quality.
Chelsea Sugar Chewy Almond Orange Biscuits – Gluten Free
2 cups ground almonds
1 cup Chelsea Caster Sugar
finely grated rind of one orange
2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
1 heaped Tbsp honey, warmed
Chelsea Icing Sugar to dust
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Dust this with icing sugar.
Mix all ingredients to a thick paste.
Sieve a layer ofi cing sugar onto the work surface and roll small balls of the mixture in the icing sugar to coat well.
Press down on the trays leaving plenty of room to spread. (Biscuits just need to be pressed down slightly not flattened out with a fork as you do with other biscuits).
Bake for 15— 18 minutes then cool on a wire rack— store in an airtight container.