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While garam masala is a much used spice blend in most gravies and curries in Indian cuisine, this recipe from My Food Story convincingly adds it to cake batter to give an unusual twist to your classic apple cake. Baked in a pretty Bundt pan, this dense spicy cake is good to serve on a cold winter afternoon and you do not even have to worry about making masala chai to go with it. The browned butter rum sauce is for those who dare to add a bit more sugar and complexity to the winter flavors of this warm and cozy tea time apple bake.

GARAM MASALA APPLE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Apple Bundt Cake

1 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 large apples, finely chopped

2 lemons, zested and juiced

2 1/8 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup light muscovado sugar

1/2 cup mild vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Brown Butter Sauce

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

Method:

  • In a bowl mix together almond milk and vinegar and set aside. Add lemon juice to chopped apples.
  • Grease a 4 cup Bundt cake pan well, making sure to get the crevices. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, garam masala, cinnamon, ginger and lemon zest.
  • In another bowl, whisk together almond milk-vinegar mixture, muscovado sugar, oil and vanilla.

  • Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix till combined, then fold in chopped apples.
  • Spread the mixture into the greased Bundt cake pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

  • A skewer inserted in the middle of the cake will come out clean. While cake is baking, make glaze.
  • Heat butter in a pan till it starts foaming and frothing and will start browning. Remove from heat.

  • Whisk in sugar, vanilla and milk till the mixture is smooth. Set aside until the cake finishes baking.
  • Once the cake is baked, invert it onto a plate or baking sheet. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake.

Garam Masala Apple Cake

Farfalle or bow ties are among my favorite pasta shapes, not only because they look like dainty little butterflies on a plate, but also because they cling well to rich sauces like this creamy tomato sauce from BBC GoodFood.  A good bowl of al dente pasta soaking up the deliciousness of a simple, warm sauce will rate as the ultimate comfort food on any gloomy, rainy day. This specially holds true when you come back tired [or not] from work and have no energy to cook something fancy or drive yourself to a restaurant where pasta dishes are frightfully overpriced. It will take you all of 15 minutes to conjure this dinner-for-one from scratch although you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe to accommodate any family size you ought to feed. I promise that even your picky eaters will forget their temper tantrums and happily tuck in, hence providing more than one harried mother with a much needed break.

FARFALLE WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup pasta water

100g farfalle pasta

75 g roasted chicken

1/4 cup cooking cream

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

2 tablespoons parmesan

Method:

  • Heat butter in a small saucepan and fry chopped garlic gently until golden. Stir in the tomato puree.

  • Season and simmer for 5 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, boil the pasta in a pan of salted water.

  • Cook until tender for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain, reserving pasta water for later.

  • Add the cream to tomato sauce, then throw in roasted chicken and cooked pasta and mix well to coat.

  • Cook for a few minutes until the sauce bubbles. Add a splash of pasta water to thin sauce, as desired.

  • Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley, ground pepper and dried basil over cooked pasta and stir to combine.

  • Serve it right away with shavings of parmesan cheese. Makes 1 large serving for a very hungry person.

Ultimate Comfort Food

Waking up early on Sunday to make crêpes or pancakes for breakfast is something of a ritual at my place. Crêpes are and still remain in my belief, delicate, lacy creations that one can gracefully flip over on a crepière until they are just golden and ready to be served with a spoonful of pineapple jam. The idea of savoury crêpes struck me as being absurd and I was never tempted to try one till I was pleasantly surprised by a salmon filled crêpe at the Pancake Festival held at Grain d’Sel restaurant years ago. In a feeble attempt to recreate this rich gastronomic experience, I managed a close replication of the flavours as I remember them using a basic crêpe recipe from Nigella and deliciously creamy seafood filling from Kraft Cheddar cheese. Not all crêpes have to be sweet, right?

SEAFOOD CREPES

Ingredients:

For the Crêpes

30g unsalted butter, melted

150g all purpose flour

375 ml full cream milk

1 egg, room temperature

For the Filling

3/4 cup cooking cream

150g Cheddar cheese, grated

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

100g smoked salmon, sliced

300g peeled shrimp, cooked

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons spring onions

Method:

  • For the crêpes, put the flour, milk and egg into a blender and whiz to amalgamate.

  • Pour the mixture into jug and stir in the melted butter. Heat a seasoned crêpe pan.

  • Ladle 1/4 cup batter into pan, then quickly hold it up and swirl it around carefully.

  • The batter should form a thin pancake covering base of the pan. Cook for 1 minute.

  • Flip crêpe over and cook for another 20-30 seconds on the other side, then remove.

  • Stack the crêpes between layers of baking paper on a hot plate until ready to serve.

  • For the filling, place cream in a small saucepan and heat gently over medium heat.

  • Stir in grated cheese and stir until smooth. Stir in lemon, pepper and spring onions.

  • Gently fold seafood through sauce. Place a spoonful of seafood sauce on each crêpe.

  • Fold in half, then in half again and serve immediately with extra cheese. Serves 5-6.

Seafood Crêpes

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