Easy Microwave Marzipan

I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but can never turn down Marzipan, especially my homemade recipe make with ground Almond or Cashew nuts, Icing sugar and egg white. Typically Marzipan is made with powdered blanched, skinned and dried almonds, but if I can splurge, I try to buy Cashew nuts and powder that instead for a beautiful taste. Traditionally, Marzipan is made by cooking all the ingredients over a low flame. It requires your undivided attention and a lot of muscle power. A decade or so ago I figured out a way to make this relatively easily in the microwave, and this is the recipe I will share with you!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 100 gms(3.5 oz) ground almonds or almond meal
  • 200 gms (7 oz) icing sugar
  • 1 egg white (40 -50 ml)
  • 2 drops almond essence

Instructions

  1. Process everything together with half the egg white and then process again
  2. Take the mixture out and add to a microwaveable plate, cover with cling film and zap in the microwave for 10 secs, 3 to 4 times
  3. Remove and scrape onto a board to cool
  4. Once cool add food colouring and knead adding extra icing sugar if sticky
  5. Divide and roll into balls and then press into the molds

Panrolls

View my step-by-step video

Pan rolls are delicious savory stuffed crepes – they can be stuffed with ground beef, chicken or shrimp. Both my grandmothers prepared these and passed it onto my Mom, who passed it on to me! These crepes are simple made with flour, water and eggs and stuffed with a filling, then brushed with egg wash and dredged in breadcrumbs before shallow frying.

I made these for my Holiday Open house, but these can be served as a snack or even at the lunch or dinner table. Truth be told, I love leftovers for breakfast!


Apple Baklava

View my step by step video – coming soon

This post is sponsored by the Ontario Apple Growers – the opinions and recipe idea is entirely my own.

Do you know where your apples come from? Contrary to popular belief, they don’t magically appear on grocery shelves.

This year I was invited to tour with the Ontario Apple Growers. We headed to Wilmot Fams to the Apple Orchards and onward Algoma Orchards to a packing plant. Last year we visited another farm in the west end. Although it was an amazing trip, we didn’t get to see any of the apples on the trees as it was November and picking was done for the season. You can watch that video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8J1BnQXSSI&t=239s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario Apple farms are located in three different zones and they are all close to the lake regions – Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

 

This trip was made mid October and although Apple picking is finished for the most part, the trees are still laden with Ambrosia that is picked in the mid to late fall.

We started off at Wilmot Farms in Bowmanville. This farm is owned by the Stevens Family Charles and Judi and their daughter Courtney. Courtney is the seventh generation farmer in the Stevens family!

Ian Parker, Orchard Manager is very knowledgeable and it blew my mind to learn how much strategy and science in involved in keeping the apples safe. Everything is calculated, the height that the tree is allowed to grow to, and the distance between each tree and the rows. The trees are also thinned so they produce the right amount of apples. If it tree is over producing there are many methods to trim back the apples to maintain quality; including thinning, pruning and applying certain products. Machines such as frost fans are used to suck in the cold air and push it upward, pushing the warm air back onto the orchard. The difference even if it’s a few degrees can save the crop. They also protect the crop from hail using a hail cannon.

Apple Fact: There are 15 different main varieties of apples are grown on nearly 16,000 acres in Ontario

This farm grows about 10 varieties of apples at this time of year the Ambrosia is ripe for the picking. The Ambrosia is a fairly new apple discovered in British Columbia in the early 1990’s. This was found growing in the orchard among another apple variety. This fruit is typically picked late fall.

 

Many of the trees in the Orchard that are done for the season have a lot of fruit on the ground. In commercial growing, if the apples touch the ground, they cannot be sold under Food Safety protocols. I asked the farmer why the fruit couldn’t be saved by installing a net and the answer he gave me made perfect sense  – when the apple falls, even if it is caught in a net, when it collides with another apple it will bruise, which makes it unsellable. Also the cost of picking the apple on the ground for organic waste or cattle feed is labour-intensive & too expensive, so the best is to leave it on the ground to fertilize the soil for next year’s crop.

Our group of eager bloggers had plenty of photo ops to get up and personal with these beautiful fruit. Here you see my friend Puneeta from Maple and Marigold look for the perfect shot!

Other bloggers on this trip were The Kitchen Fairy, Eclectic Soapbox, Nutrition Artist, Little Sweet Baker, The Viet Vegan, The Messy Baker, The Cookie Writer, Imagelicious, Carmy – Run Eat Travel, The Unlikely Baker, How To Eat, Nomadic Nutritionist, Weekend at the cottage & Baking for Friends – check out their recipes too!

As I was busy admiring the flawless fruit that Eve lured Adam with, I spy a group of pickers! These pickers typically are seasonal agricultural workers that come from Mexico and Barbados to work in the orchard and pick fruit every year. They live on the farm for between 4-8 months and then either transfer to another farm, or go back home till the next season.

The farmers that run this farm are filled with passion and love for the apples. This farm also grows blueberries and you can pick your own in season.

After a busy morning trudging through the apple orchards, we were served a delicious apple themed lunch and these gorgeous apple centrepieces made by the owner Judi Stevens caught my eye.

After lunch we made our way to Algoma Orchards to meet Kirk Kemp a partner with Mike Gibson. In addition to running apple farms they run a top notch apple packing & storage facility and juice processing plant.

Apples arrive by the bins and start to move in massive streams of water to wash the apples and removed any stems and leaves. It is also a gentle way to move the apples through the grading process. This minimizes bruising and damage to the fruit.

Anything that hasn’t come off will be manually picked off.

The apples are then photographed 50 times and monitored by a machine. The fruit that are less than perfect are separated from the perfect fruit.

These move on belts like a highway of apples where they are cleaned. This plants can process 9000 cases of apples per day.

Kirk Kemp, guides us through the plant and we hang on every word.

The apples are kept in temp controlled storage rooms  till they are ready to be packed.

Once the apples are ready to be sold to the grocery store, they move through the plant on the belts and are sorted and boxed by staff.

Apple Fact: The top five varieties in Ontario (based on acreage planted) are McIntosh, Gala, Empire, Red Delicious, and Northern Spy.

Many of the popular store brands you see are packed right here. Boxes of apples are rushed out of here onto trucks to make it into stores for you!

And what does one do when one has way too many apples? Make apple juice and cider of course. Algoma Orchards invested in a state of the art facility to make apple juice that supplies many big brands. Their tanks are insulated which gives them much longer shelf life.

There is a lab on site that monitors the quality of the apple juice.

Apple Fact: It takes four apples to make a glass of pure apple juice.

This chamber controls all (I can’t remember what the specific task of this chamber is) the tanks and everything is temp controlled and computerized.

To keep the facility germ free, the ground is filled with soap suds.

And on our way out we were were sent home with a nice big bag of apples! Yummmm

Just in time for the Holidays, this Apple Baklava is a wonderful recipe to serve at a lunch or dinner party. Baklava is an old traditional favourite from Greece and the Middle East. Layers of phyllo pastry are brushed in butter and sandwiched between layers of sugar and nuts. Once baked, the dough is moistened with a delicate sugar syrup. The result is a delicious crispy and sticky sweet treat. In this recipe I used Cortland, they are perfect for baking and don’t discolor quickly. It’s also a soft apple which makes it great in a filling.

These little bundles are made in muffin tins and have a layer of delicious Apple right in the center. They bake up crispy with walnut and pistachio layers and the baked treat is drizzled in a sugar syrup enhanced with orange blossom.

This very decadent dessert can be served at your Holiday table with a dollop of ice cream. My only regret is that I didn’t make more as they were devoured quick!

Here is the super simple recipe!

Recipe:

1 cup Walnuts and Pistachios, crushed
2 tbsps Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon powder
225 gms Phyllo pastry dough

1 cup melted butter 1 cup Apple cut in small dice

Using 5 sheets of pastry, brush butter in between and stack them

Make an indentation with a cookie cutter and cut around with a scissors

With the rest of the pastry, stack 2 -3 sheets by brushing butter in between and cut in squares or rectangles

Add the rectangles to a buttered muffin pan Mix together the Apple, Cinnamon and sugar and spoon into the center, cover with a disc, add more filling and add another disc Bake for 10 – 15 in a 350 degrees oven

Apple Facts courtesy of http://onapples.com/apple-facts

Check out my other Apple recipes:

Candy Apples: https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/candy-apples/

Cheddar crust Apple Pie: https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/candy-apples/

Curried Chicken Salad – https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/curried-chicken-salad/

Kul Kuls – Crispy fried Holiday Cookie

View my step-by-step video

 

 

 

Kul Kuls are my favorite sweet treat over the holidays. It’s fair to say that it doesn’t feel quite like Christmas, unless I make a batch of these crispy deep fried dough springs. This recipe is adapted from my Aunty Celie’s recipe that I prepared a few years ago. The recipe is pretty much the same,

I just added some semolina for extra crispiness. This special dough is made with flour, eggs, milk, sugar and the star ingredient – melted ghee. This turns the dough into a golden hue. The dough is then flattened and rolled on a comb to create a spring like look.

Kul Kuls – Crispy fried Holiday Cookie

Ingredients

  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 3/4 cup Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 700 gms sifted all purpose Flour
  • 3 tbsps Semolina
  • 175 - 200 ml melted and cooled Ghee

Instructions

  1. Mix together the yolks, sugar, milk and salt
  2. Using a paddle attachement start adding in the semolina and flour
  3. Halfway through switch from a paddle attachment to a dough hook
  4. Add the melted ghee and keep kneading
  5. Turn it out on a board and knead by hand
  6. Divide, wrap in plastic wrap and chill
  7. Divide into small pieces, press down to flatten and then roll on a comb
  8. When you have them all prepared, deep fry in hot oil and keep aside

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/kul-kuls-crispy-fried-holiday-cookie/

Chicken Patties

View my step-by-step video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Chicken Patties are reminiscent of the the patties sold in bakeries in Mumbai (Bombay) & Goa. Layers or buttery puff pastry encases a creamy Chicken filling. The filling is super easy to make using Bechamel and cooked Chicken to make a simple filling! These can be made year round but especially spectacular over the holidays! Try this for yourself!

Chicken Patties

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 2 tbsps Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1.5 cups cooked diced Chicken
  • 1 tsp dried Parsley a
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Dash of Hot sauce
  • 1 kg Puff pastry
  • 1 beaten Egg

Instructions

  1. Prepare the filling - melt the butter, add the flour and the milk a little at a time
  2. Add the cooked chicken and the parsley, mix and then cool
  3. Add salt, pepper & sauce
  4. Cut the pastry into circles, you need 3 circles per patty and this will make 24
  5. Brush the bottom circle with the egg wash and add 1 tsp of the filling
  6. Add the second layer of pastry and brush with egg again and then add the final layer
  7. Make a depression with a smaller cutter and prick the outer layer with a fork
  8. Bake for 25 mins

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/chicken-patties/

Egg Curry – Anda Masala

View my step-by-step video

 

 

 

 

As far as Egg curries go, there are probably more than a 1000 different ways to make it. From the north to the south there are various different regional recipes and then there are the distinct curries from our neighboring countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka. Egg curries can be made with whole boiled eggs, or egg halves like I’ve used in this recipe and also in an egg drop style also known in the Middle East and Israel as Shakshuka.

This is a great curry to make, especially when you don’t have other protein on hand and you’re wondering what curry to make to satisfy your hungry family.

Egg Curry – Anda Masala

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sliced Onions
  • 5 red de seeded Kashmiri chillies
  • 2 inch piece of Ginger and
  • 4-5 Garlic cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 green Cardamoms
  • 6 Cloves
  • 6 Peppercorns
  • 3 tsps Coriander seeds
  • 2 tsps Poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Coconut
  • Water as required
  • 4 Eggs, halved
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1/4 cup diced Onions
  • 1 tbsp sliced green Chilli
  • 1/2 cup fresh Curry leaves
  • 2 cups of Water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt
  • 2 tsps Sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh Coriander

Instructions

  1. In a pot saute the onions and red chillies
  2. Add the ginger and garlic cloves
  3. Add the cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves & peppercorns
  4. Saute everything well and then add coriander, fenel, cumin and poppy seeds
  5. Remove everything and allow to cool
  6. Dip the egg halves cut side into the egg white and place face down for the eggs to seal
  7. Once done, flip over and keep aside
  8. Saute the fresh grated coconut till a light golden brown and just add it to the other whole spices and chillies
  9. Add everything to my food processor, together with some water to get it started and grind it
  10. Add water as required a little at a time till you get a nice smooth blend.
  11. Add more oil to your pan and saute the diced onions, chilli and curry leaves
  12. Add the spice paste
  13. Add water to your processor
  14. Saute the masala with the onion, chilli and curry leaves for a few minutes
  15. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric
  16. Add the water and salt to taste and allow this to heat up
  17. Put a lid on this and allow it to cook.
  18. Taste again for salt and add more if required
  19. Add 2 tsps Sugar to balance the salt and spices
  20. Cover this again and continue o cook on a simmer for another 5 minutes
  21. Immerse the eggs in the gravy, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
  22. Finally add the fresh Coriander to garnish

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/egg-curry-anda-masala/

 

Green Masala Prawn Pulao

View my step-by-step video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing up, I ate a LOT of Prawn Pulao – this Green Masala version though was introduced to me by my good friend Blanche. It’s so popular in the Goan community and I couldn’t believe I had never had it before. I hope you enjoy my take on this recipe!

Basmati Rice and Prawn are cooked in a Coriander & Coconut Prawn stock with Tomatoes and Peas.

Green Masala Prawn Pulao

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • Juice of a Lime
  • 1 tbsp green Chilli
  • 1 inch piece Ginger sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 cup fresh Coriander
  • 1/4 cup Oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced Onion
  • 5-8 Cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped Tomato
  • 1 lb 7 oz (approx 800 gms) shelled, deveined & cleaned Prawn or Shrimp
  • 2 cups Water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup stock
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 cups of Water(add to food processor)
  • 1/2 cup Peas
  • Coriander to garnish

Instructions

  1. Soak the grains for at least 30 mins
  2. In a blender add the lime, green chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander
  3. Add some water to get this going and grind to a paste
  4. In a pot add the oil and saute 1/2 cup sliced onion
  5. Add 5-8 Cloves and allow the onions to sweat and change colour
  6. Add the chopped tomato
  7. Add the shelled, deveined & cleaned Prawn or Shrimp
  8. Add all the green masala in and add water to the food processor to catch all that residual flavour
  9. Mix the prawn and the green masala and add salt to taste
  10. Add the stock and the coconut milk
  11. Add the water added to the food processor and allow the liquid to come to the boil
  12. Add the rice, give it a stir and put the lid on.
  13. Taste for salt
  14. Add peas halfway through the cooking process and cover to complete cooking

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/green-masala-prawn-pulao/

Butter Chicken Biriyani

View my step-by-step video

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just saying the words makes me happy … Butter Chicken Biriyani. Butter Chicken is beloved by everyone, I like to BBQ the Chicken before adding it to a delicate and creamy gravy. I had this idea a while ago to turn this into a Biriyani, but I wasn’t sure if it would work … I’m so glad that I did give it a shot as this is a marriage made in heaven.

My sons who love both Butter Chicken and Biriyani gave this fusion dish a big thumbs up!

Check out the video!

Butter Chicken Biriyani

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long grained Basmati rice
  • 1 lb boneless chicken thigh ( approx 500 gms )
  • 1 cup Tandoori marinade
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 2 cups sliced Onions
  • 8 whole Cashews
  • 1 tbsp chopped dry Coriander
  • 1 tsp sliced green Chillies
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Pav Bhaji
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups of blanched and pureed Tomato
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • Add 4 cups of water 1 tbsp Salt and bring to the boil
  • Pinch of Saffron strands
  • 1/2 cup hot Milk
  • 1 - 2 inch stick Cinnamon
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 2 black Cardamoms
  • 5 green Cardamoms
  • 8 Cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup melted Ghee or Butter
  • Pinch Food colouring

Instructions

  1. Marinate the Chicken in the tandoori marinade, preferably overnight
  2. Start by soaking the rice at least for an hour and then wash and drain
  3. Skewer the Chicken and half cook on the BBQ – you can also use the oven or pan fry the pieces
  4. In a pot add the oil and fry the onions
  5. When the onions are brown but still soft, remove half and keep aside
  6. Continue cooking the second half and add the cashews and remove when the onions are darker and crispy(but not burnt) and keep aside
  7. In the same pot add the coriander and the green chillies
  8. Add the soft onions back in followed by all the powdered spices
  9. Add in the Chicken and follow with the tomato puree and stir well
  10. Add salt to taste and cook for a few minutes so the chicken is completely cooked
  11. Add the cream and mix
  12. Cook the rice in the water and salt till half cooked
  13. Add saffron threads to hot milk and allow to steep
  14. Remove and drain any extra water
  15. Layer the rice over the gravy
  16. Add the melted ghee
  17. Add the fried onions and cashews and the saffron milk
  18. Seal with foil, cover and cook for 20 – 25 mins
  19. Gently stir with a fork and serve with fresh mint and coriander

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/butter-chicken-biriyani-2/

 

Vadas – Crispy Lentil Dumplings

View my step-by-step video

 

 

Dahi Vadas – Dahi Wadas

Ingredients

  • adas
  • 1 cup Urad Dhal (Vigna mungo, black gram, urad bean, minapa pappu, mungo bean or black matpe)
  • ¼ cup Wwater
  • ¾ tsp black Salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh cracked Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Chaat Masala
  • ¼ tsp Red Chilli powder
  • Pinch Asafoetida or Hing
  • 1 tbsp. finely diced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced green chilli
  • 1 tbsp of chopped Coriander
  • Optional ½ tsp of Baking powder
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

  1. The first step is to soak the Urad dhal in water for about 8 hours
  2. Wash the dhal and grind to a paste with the help of a little water, leave this for 6 – 8 hours to ferment in the fridge
  3. Add all the ingredients and mix well
  4. Using an ice cream scoop drop the batter into the hot oil and allow to turn a nice golden brown while the inside cooks till it’s nice and spongy
  5. Drain them on some kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/vadas-crispy-lentil-dumplings/

Butter Chicken Biriyani

View my step-by-step video

 

 

 

 

 

Just saying the words makes me happy … Butter Chicken Biriyani. Butter Chicken is beloved by everyone, I like to BBQ the Chicken before adding it to a delicate and creamy gravy. I had this idea a while ago to turn this into a Biriyani, but I wasn’t sure if it would work … I’m so glad that I did give it a shot as this is a marriage made in heaven.

My sons who love both Butter Chicken and Biriyani gave this fusion dish a big thumbs up!

Butter Chicken Biriyani

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long grained Basmati rice
  • 1 lb boneless chicken thigh ( approx 500 gms )
  • 1 cup Tandoori marinade
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 2 cups sliced Onions
  • 8 whole Cashews
  • 1 tbsp chopped dry Coriander
  • 1 tsp sliced green Chillies
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Pav Bhaji
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups of blanched and pureed Tomato
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • Drain out all the water from the rice and add fresh water and drain it out again till the water is clear.
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • Add 4 cups of water 1 tbsp Salt and bring to the boil
  • Pinch of Saffron strands
  • 1/2 cup hot Milk
  • 1 - 2 inch stick Cinnamon
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 2 black Cardamoms
  • 5 green Cardamoms
  • 8 Cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup melted Ghee or Butter
  • Pinch Food colouring

Instructions

  1. Marinate the Chicken in the tandoori marinade, preferably overnight
  2. Start by soaking the rice at least for an hour and then wash and drain
  3. Skewer the Chicken and half cook on the BBQ – you can also use the oven or pan fry the pieces
  4. In a pot add the oil and fry the onions
  5. When the onions are brown but still soft, remove half and keep aside
  6. Continue cooking the second half and add the cashews and remove when the onions are darker and crispy(but not burnt) and keep aside
  7. In the same pot add the coriander and the green chillies
  8. Add the soft onions back in followed by all the powdered spices
  9. Add in the Chicken and follow with the tomato puree and stir well
  10. Add salt to taste and cook for a few minutes so the chicken is completely cooked
  11. Add the cream and mix
  12. Cook the rice in the water and salt till half cooked
  13. Add saffron threads to hot milk and allow to steep
  14. Remove and drain any extra water
  15. Layer the rice over the gravy
  16. Add the melted ghee
  17. Add the fried onions and cashews and the saffron milk
  18. Seal with foil, cover and cook for 20 – 25 mins
  19. Gently stir with a fork and serve with fresh mint and coriander

https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/butter-chicken-biriyani/

 

Check out the video!