Turkish Sambali (Eggless Semolina Cake with Almonds)

Moist and decadent, the eggless semolina cake with almonds drenched in a lemon-sugar syrup is a popular Turkish dessert quite similar to basbousa and you can find them on the countless street side eateries in Turkey😋

Only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep, it can’t get any simpler to make a delicious yet easy dessert on weekends when you don’t want to toil much in the kitchen.

The sugar syrup to glaze the sambali varies- sometimes it’s rose, sometimes lemon or even orange. I prefer lemon for it’s refreshing citrusy zing.

Try this easy recipe to make your tea time more delicious 🙂

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 cup granulated sugar (I used brown)

2 cups semolina (preferably fine)

1 cup milk (preferably full fat)

1/2 tsp baking soda

Soaked and peeled almonds for garnish

For the syrup:

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 tbsp lemon juice (you can switch this with rose water or orange juice)

Method:

In a bowl, mix together the granulated sugar, semolina, baking soda and milk.

Now pour the batter into a baking dish lined with a parchment paper and let it rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This will help the semolina absorb all the milk.

Now make cuts on the set batter with a knife into your desired shape and garnish with peeled almonds (soak the almonds in hot water for 15-20 minutes to remove the skin easily).

Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes at 170 degree Celsius (or until a knife comes out clean, when inserted).

Prepare the sugar syrup in a pot by boiling 3/4 cup sugar and 1 cup water on medium heat. Squeeze 2 tbsp lemon juice in between and let the syrup cool down and all the sugar dissolves.

Now drizzle the syrup over the sambali making sure it glazes the whole cake. You can serve immediately but the best way would be to let it rest for at least 2 hours before serving (so that the cake soaks up the syrup nicely).

Enjoy with your evening tea 🤍

Boozy Holiday Fruit Cake (Eggless) & a Christmas Nostalgia

Boozy holiday rich fruit cake (eggless) with dried cranberries, dates and raisins soaked in red wine for a month!

Christmas in Calcutta is an emotion. While it may ruffle some feathers, I have to admit that Calcutta is probably the most secular city in India which celebrates festivals like Christmas not out of any religious compulsion but because it’s a delightful celebration of life, something that lifts your spirits.

For those of us who grew up in Calcutta, the festival is synonymous with Nahoum’s rich fruit cake. Surprisingly in December the whole city gets busy in Christmas preps, and the Jewish bakeries and neighbourhood confectionaries start selling homemade plum cakes that are made with rum soaked raisins, dates and candied peels. All of a sudden, Ruma kakima’s sleepy bakery in the dusty bylanes of Free School Street is abuzz with activities.

Nahoum’s will remain my most favourite always- their dense and rich fruit cakes are so moist and loaded with dry fruits. This is my ode to their legendary cakes as i reminisce about the bygone Christmas days of my adolescence when I would patiently wait in a long queue outside the store with my mum just to get my share of treats. That was my Santa moment.

The authentic Christmas plum cake/ fruit cake in Calcutta is prepared with dried fruits soaked in rum for a prolonged period and most recipes are handed down through generations. I have used red wine instead and have also used greek yogurt instead of eggs which is honestly unthinkable in the original recipe. But then sometimes it’s okay to deviate from the original and tweak things here and there just for fun, doesn’t take away anything from the classic 🙂

Ingredients:

Chopped dried cranberries, black raisins, sultanas, pitted dates, candied ginger soaked in red wine (or dark rum) for at least 2-3 weeks (the longer the better)

11/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp each of ground cinnamon, clove and nutmeg

1 tbsp orange zest

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil)

1 cup brown sugar (preferably) or raw cane sugar (no white sugar)

1 cup greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup of chopped mixed nuts like almonds, pistachios and cashews

Method:

In a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 cup brown sugar. Whisk it well for a couple of minutes until well combined.

Now add the yogurt and vanilla extract and whisk again. It will take a couple of minutes to whisk everything to a smooth consistency.

In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Start with 11/2 cup of all purpose flour. Toss in the ground spices, orange zest (make sure to avoid grating the bitter white pith), baking soda, baking powder and mix everything well with the whisk.

Now throw in the flour mixture into the wet bowl and fold with a spatula. No whisking from this point anymore and also ensure that you don’t overmix the batter. The batter is supposed to be dense and heavy.

The last step is to add the chopped nuts and soaked dried fruits into the cake batter and fold again with the spatula. Reserve some of the soaked fruits for spooning on top of the cake.

Line a square baking pan with a parchment paper and pour in the batter. Sprinkle the remaining soaked dried fruits on top and bake in a pre heated oven at 160 degree C for around 60 minutes. Let it cool down completely before serving.

*Some tips*

Always pack the cake tightly in an aluminum foil to store it. This preserves its shape and moisture.

The cake tastes better with time. The longer it soaks all the goodness from the rum/ wine, the better it tastes.

‘Feed’ the cake with wine/ rum by poking holes all over it with a toothpick and then keep it tightly packed.

Could it get any boozier??

Ultimate Eggless Choco-chip Cookies

Eggless Choco-chip Cookie

Soft and chewy, straight out of the oven, these eggless choco-chip cookies are what dreams are made of. As winter saunters along, nothing can be a better pick-me-up than a homemade chocolate cookie with a cup of cappuccino.

This decadent choco-chip cookie recipe is inspired by Buzzfeed Tasty’s recipe with some tweaks. Below is the recipe:

Ingredients (for 11 biggg cookies): 

11/4 cups of granulated brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup of  olive oil (or any white oil)

1/3 cup of oat milk (or regular milk)

1 tsp Vanilla essence

11/2 cups of all purpose flour

½ tsp Baking soda

6 heaped tablespoon Semi dark chocolate chunks

  • In a bowl, mix 275 g of granulated brown sugar with 1 tsp salt and 125 ml olive oil. Now whisk in 80 ml oat milk and 1 tsp of vanilla essence into the batter and combine everything well until smooth.
  • Now add 200 g of all purpose flour and ½ tsp baking soda into the mix and fold gently with a spatula making sure not to over mix.
  • Throw in the chocolate chunks generously (as much as you please) and mix well. Keep the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and make 10-11 balls out of the dough and place them on the paper with some gaps between each cookie. 
All set to go inside the preheated oven

Bake in a preheated oven for around 15 mins at 180 degree centigrade.

Chocolatey goodness!

Let it cool down for 5-10 mins and dig in!

BISOU- A little sugar & a whole lot of love!

 

Hello Peeps!

Today being New Year’s Eve, I thought what better way to end 2016 than on a sweet note. So this blog is dedicated to my favourite cupcake shop, BISOU in Suria KLCC, 3rd floor. BISOU- is a French term meaning Kiss! Quite an apt name for the bakery as their cupcakes are like decadent kisses of everything sugary & sweet. This will be a photo blog showcasing some of their amazing assortment of flavours.

6

3

One look at the cupcakes on display & you’ll be drawn towards their counter in no time. They look so pretty that sometimes you just want to stare & not eat. Their cakes are always fresh & moist while they use the best quality ingredients for their cream, ganache & frostings. Service is quick & efficient, however only 4-6 people can have a seat at a time & enjoy their cupcakes peacefully, as it’s a small kiosk with a couple of bar stools. Rest have to either pack for home or stand in a corner & eat anyway 😀

4

2

Next time when you crave for something sweet and are near KLCC, do not forget to check out the bakery. It will simply make your day 🙂

5

1

So here’s wishing all my readers a very happy 2017! See you next year with more interesting reviews, travel tales & lip-smacking recipes.

Patissez (Bangsar, KL)- Of freakshakes & pastas

 

This quaint little café in the heart of Jalan Telawi in upscale Bangsar is slowly becoming one of my favourite places to eat out in KL. It’s the home of the original freakshakes (Patissez in Australia) which is quite popular for being ridiculously over the top. Look at the picture below to know what I mean 😀

4

I had been pestering S to take me there for quite some time. But he being a little health conscious wasn’t too keen on my proposal. However finally he gave in on Christmas day. Yay!! 🙂

The location is one of my favourite spots, Bangsar. The look & feel of the eatery is similar to those charming little cafes you find in Paris, where you can sit undisturbed for hours, watching the world go by. Parking here is quite difficult as it’s a residential area & the nearest LRT is Bangsar (which is 5 mins drive from the café). So it’s better to take a cab to the place.

1

2

We placed an order for two of their freakshakes-

5

Cafiend
Espresso salted caramel shake, loads of drizzled espresso salted caramel, chocolate mousse, house made graham cracker & toasted marshmallow s’more

6

Pretzellâ
Nutellary Nutella shake – lashings of Nutella – salty pretzels – vanilla mousse – Nutella dunked salty pretzels – pretzel dust

Both were insanely good but my personal favourite was the Pretzella. It was pure sin especially for worshippers of nutella like me. The salt and the crunch from the cute little pretzels balanced the sweetness of the nutella to perfection. All freakshakes are priced at RM23.

One thing I must mention is the service. Unfortunately because of the rush, the service was pretty slow that day but I didn’t mind because the staff were very friendly and polite. They always had a smile on their faces whenever we approached them.

For our mains we ordered pasta. Although Patissez doesn’t offer a wide range of pasta dishes, but what they do offer is irresistible. In fact I have had my best pasta here at Patissez.

7

Kale Pesto Fettuccini 

This one was vegetarian. The fettuccini cooked with Portobello mushroom, Confit cherry tomatoes & kale pesto, with generous cubes of parmesan cheese was in one word heavenly! The cheese coated deep fried zucchini was complementing the dish superbly.

8

Aglio Olio Chicken Bacon

The angel hair pasta was perfectly seasoned with chili flakes in olive oil. The chicken bacon was delightfully crispy and I wished I could have some more.

Overall, this place is a must visit. It’s perfect for a first date, a girls’ day out or even a casual business meeting. A lunch for two would set you back by around 100RM.

3

Sponge cake (with dry fruits & chocolate bits)

Freshly baked...straight from the stove top!
Freshly baked…straight from the stove top!

It was quite sometime that I was craving for simple homemade cakes. The market is flooded with its richer varieties- loaded with cream, ganache, fondant & frostings. No doubt they are absolutely lip-smacking & worth indulging on cheat days but for me nothing is as comforting as a warm slice of the humble homemade sponge cake. So I decided to bake one.

But there was a small hurdle to be dealt with at first 😀 I had no oven! & my microwave didn’t have convection mode but I badly wanted to have some cake :/ I quickly flipped through the pages of my recipe diary, hoping to find at least one cake recipe baked in a cooker/ pan & voila!! I had actually noted down a very simple sponge cake recipe by celebrity Indian chef Rakesh Sethi long back & it came to my rescue today 🙂 He baked it in a cooker but I baked mine in a deep bottomed pan. My cooker wasn’t wide enough to place the cake tin inside. Worked perfectly fine, just that took double the time. One thing I can assure you that there couldn’t possibly be any simpler sponge cake recipe that is fantastic to taste as well. Do try it at your home. I slightly modified the recipe to suit my taste & diet needs 😉

So soft and fluffy!
So soft and fluffy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (I used brown)
  • 1/4 cup butter (I used salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk (preferably made from whole milk)
  • 1 cup maida/ all purpose flour (I used wholewheat cake flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Milk for batter
  • Almonds, raisins, dark chocolate bits & shavings

Method:

Take a deep bottomed pan & place it on the stove top on low heat. Pour 1 cup salt into the pan. It will act as the base. This is necessary so that your pan doesn’t get burnt & neither does your cake. Now cover with a lid. Make sure there is a small vent/ opening on the lid. If using a cooker, don’t forget to remove the whistle while closing the lid for preheating.

For the batter, take a big bowl. Add sugar, butter & the condensed milk. Mix well using a balloon whisk. Now slowly add in the flour, baking powder & baking soda. Add milk in desired quantity to make the perfect thick batter.

Throw in some chopped almonds, raisins &  chocolate bits & mix well. Grate 2 pieces of dark chocolate (chocolate shavings) and add in the batter.

Now line the cake tin with butter and pour the batter into it. (That rhymed 😀 butter & batter!) Make sure the batter is evenly spread. Now remove the lid from the pan & carefully place the tin inside it as the pan is very hot. Cover with the lid once again. On low heat it will take you around 50 minutes. On a pressure cooker it takes 25-30 minutes as per the chef. Keep checking with a tooth pick or knife after 40 minutes and when it comes out clean your cake is ready!

Enjoy with a cup of freshly brewed tea like I did or as it is. A slice of happiness, a slice of life 🙂

Note: ALWAYS use the same cup for all measurements (whether 1/2, 1/3 or 1)

20150816_185328

20150816_185949