A slice of Rum or Brandy infused fruitcake heralds the warmth of Christmas. If a bite of boozy doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, I don’t know what will! All over the world fuit cakes of different sizes and colours make their way over to the holiday table with great fanfare. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation and are guarded with pride.
In India, this cake is also served at weddings, perhaps because it’s very popular to marry in the Holiday season. This cake is slathered with royal icing and is decorated to perfection. The hard royal exterior icing, protects the juiciness of the cake within and makes a perfect slice.
Although my Mom was an amazing cook, she wasn’t too fond of baking and never made this cake, at least not to my knowledge. My grandmother and aunts did make a cake, but I never did ask for the recipe.
When I first immigrated to Canada and we bought our first house after Adam was born, I had this strong urge to learn how to make traditional Christmas sweets. My good friend Marianne came over an helped me make them. This was in 1998. Since then I have made so many sweets and some of them are online like my Kul Kuls, Rose Cookies & Marzipan. What I’ve never made till this year was a fruitcake and there’s always a first time.
I poured over many recipes on the internet, even though I never made it before, I’ve tasted plenty a fruitcake and I had a very clear vision of how this should turn out. I was lucky that my friend and co admin on the facebook group Traditional Goan Foodies, shared her Mom, Annie Mascarenhas’s recipe with me. I tweaked this ever so slightly to suit my taste and this cake exceeded my expectations – thank you aunty.
This post will include the process to soak the fruits and on Dec 15, I will update this with the process to make the cake. Some people soak their fruits for months upto a year. To each his own, INMHO, 20 – 30 days is plentiful to soak your fruit. I like to taste the rum in the fruit and maintain the texture as well. I’ve used a combination of black raisins, cranberries, mixed citrus peel and prunes but you can use any dry ruit of your choice. Instead of just using Rum, I’ve used a combination of Rum and Brandy.
Rissois is a Portuguese deep fried favourite snack, traditionally stuffed with a shrimp and cheese filling although you can now get it with many other types of filling. Call me a traditionalist, but I love the combination of Shrimp & Cheese the best. When I first tried these at a friend’s potluck, they looked like it took a lot of work to make them and although it was on my bucket list, I prolonged learning how to make it.
When I got a chance to learn how to make this at Audra’s cooking school, I jumped at the chance. She went through the process step by step and although it is a lot of work, it does yield a large batch and these beauties can be frozen and fried up at the last minute to perfection.
The exterior is crispy and a perfect contrast to the silken cheese shrimp mixture inside. I also love the unique texture of the dough as it’s partially cooked before it’s rolled and gives the Rissois it’s pillowy texture.
The holiday season is upon us and this is when I get into holiday prep and survival mode. This year I’m going to be making a bunch of freezer safe goodies that I can rely on for last minute guests, potlucks and holiday parties. Besides these delicious Rissois, I will be making some Samosa Pinwheels & a large batch of meatballs.
While Shrimp and Cheese is a great combination, I’m also excited to try this recipe with Crab. Watch the full process here.
Every year come Thanksgiving or Christmas, I plan on making a bird with a different flavor twist – I’ve done Spiced, Tandoori & Middle Eastern and this year I decided to give into one of my favorite things … good ol’ Mustard. Whether I use fresh or frozen Turkey, I have always brined my bird in 4 liters of a simple brining liquid and the result is a delicious and moist bird.
If you’ve never brined a bird, I highly recommend you try it. Without trying to get too scientific, the flavored brine a combination of salt, sugar and spices penetrates through the otherwise bland flesh through the process of Osmosis.
This year I decided to soak my 16 lb bird in a lighly spiced Buttermilk. Bay leaves, powdered Mustard & Paprika will spice the delicate Buttermilk and marinate the bird for 24 hours. The next day I slather it with Mustard and bake it in my hot oven.
As most YouTube creators and Bloggers do, I had to tape and photograph this Turkey way before Thanksgiving. I couldn’t get a frozen bird as there wasn’t enough time to defrost it before I had to shoot. After calling several stores including all the major players Garden Basket in Markham were the only store that was able to rustle up a Turkey for me. Special thanks to Daniel from the meat department for making this happen.
This is my Mom’s Meatball Curry recipe from one of her many many recipe books. Spiced meatballs are simmered in a special blend of ground spices like red Kashmiri Chillies, Cumin, Coriander, Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, with Ginger, Garlic & Vinegar and finished off with some creamy Coconut milk. Whenever I miss my Mom, which is pretty much always, I find comfort in being surrounded by her things. She penned many many recipe books and I love pouring through them to find a new recipe to try.
This recipe is very special, the balance of spices are amazing and I love that it yields a lot gravy that can be poured over rice.
Like I do with any recipe, this is Kravings tested. This means I’ve made sure the recipe can be replicated in the most efficient way by streamlining the process and removing redundancies – the results are delicious, I’m sure my Mommy in heaven would agree!
I’m so excited to bring you this recipe from my Goan heritage. Vidaloo, yes that is the correct pronounciation, is derived from the Portuguese Vin and alho. When the Portuguese made their long ship journeys to India and other countries, they preserved their pork in a combination of Wine Vinegar & Garlic. Over time the Goans added their own spices and Vindalho was born. This recipe is near and dear to my heart as it is my mother’s recipe. The main ingredients are Kashmiri Chillies, Vinegar & Garlic.
Red Kashmiri Chillies are king in my masala, but many Goans use a mix of Kashmiri for flavour and color and other spicier red dried chillies for heat. We also use whole spices like Cumin & mustard seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, cinnamon and cloves and grind this together with gresh Ginger and garlic and Vinegar. Once this is ground to a smooth paste this is bottled and stored or used on the meat as a spice and gravy paste.
Traditionally this is made with pork but, I’m going to recreate this with Chicken.. I’ve chosen to use chicken thigh bone in cut into small pieces and I’m using a combination of bone in meat and chicken boneless thigh. I now avoid using chicken breast as it gets very dry, the whole purpose to this is to cook this low as slow, just like you would cook chunks of pork. Vindaloo is also made with other protein like mutton, beef, shrimp and fish.
This Chicken needs to be marinated and left in the fridge for 24 hours. Once cooked it needs to be left for another 24 hrs for optimum results.
Vindaloo is very popular in Britain and it’s presumed that the aloo means potato and is often served with potatoes. Although potatoes are good in everything, it’s not traditional in a Vindaloo. Please also note that the consistency when you cook Chicken vs Pork is different. Pork releases a lot more water and fat hence the gravy is more runny and you will always see a film of red oil on the surface.
This recipe has been on my bucket list for a long long time. My love affair with the Battenberg started on a trip to London when I was 18 years old. Years later a friend of mine made the Battenburg on the popular TV show Recipe to Riches. I was obsessed with this cake. Now I’m not much of a baker, I can cook with my eyes closed, but baking requires a lot of precision but I was determined to learn this cake and make it easy for you to make yourself.
The cake was named in honour of the marriage of Princess Victoria, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. Battenburg is the name of a town in Germany. This cake is very technical but remarkably easy when you get the hang of it and delicious. Two colors of Sponge cake are cut into equal rectangles, sandwiched together with apricot jam and wrapped into a neat parcel with almond marzipan! When you cut a slice, you see a Checkerboard pattern encased with a strip of marzipan, this is truly a slice of heaven.
I also looooove theme parties, so when my friend Ruby(also my husband’s cousin) broke the news about her pregnancy, I was determined to throw her a posh high tea themed shower. And of course, what’s more posh than the Battenberg? Be sure to check out the video as this is a technical cake and it’s really helpful to see the process. There’s also some footage from the party that you can check out.
Some things to remember before you go on to watch the video and download the recipe. Baking is a science so use the ingredients exactly as stated. Also make sure to adhere to temperatures suggested, the butter should be at room temp, as well as the eggs. Prepare your marzipan the same day for the best results. It’s most pliable when freshly made. And do not be afraid to fail. Baking disasters happen to the best of us … if that happens, just try again. This recipe is very traditional using a plain almond sponge with apricot jam. I’m really itching to make a Black Forest inspired Battenberg – stay tuned for that one
The Brits love their Battenburg, this cake is also referred to as a church window. The combination of apricot jam, almond sponge and marzipan is delicious and the look is fit for a queen!. Won’t you join us for a spot of tea & slice of Battenberg darling?
The Swedes have given us a few great things Abba, Ikea to name a few. This Swedish sandwich cake Smorgastarta or Smorgastorta is so fantastic to serve at a party or potluck and best of all is so customizable. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and find it really hard to resist this delectable savory Swedish Sandwich cake.
This may not be a 100% traditional recipe, but it’s only because this recipe allows for so much creativity that it can be made so many different ways.
Typically it’s a hodge podge of cold meats and cream cheese, mayo, eggs and seafood sandwiched between layers of bread. You can bake a batch in a cake pan and cut it in layers, use pre sliced sheets of bread used to make Italian sandwiches or the simplest way is to get regular square sandwich bread and cut the crusts off to build your cake. You can lay the cake out in any shape, but using just regular sandwich bread, I’m going to create a square masterpiece. My version of Smorgastorta is pretty simple, I’m going to stick to Seafood like shrimp and smoked salmon and enhance it with some eggs, cucumber, radish slices, dill & parsley. It’s also going to be topped with some beautiful Masago caviar jewels as a finishing touch.
The first thing I’m going to do is stir into my light Cream cheese – this needs be just warmed up slightly in the microwave so it gets creamy and the consistency of a frosting. Only microwave this for 10 seconds at a time to avoid burning. . I’m going to fold in some light sour cream 4 tbsps per 8 oz brick. The amount of cream cheese you need will depend on the size of cake your making. My square cake took a little over 16 oz of cheese and about 10 tbsps of sour cream. A traditional Smorgastorta uses Mayonnaise, but I like to keep it light with light Cheese & Sour Cream. Just like frosting a regular cake, I will secure the first layer with a dollop of cheese.
My cake consists of 4 distinct layers and each one will be spread with the cream cheese mixture on both sides of the bread to keep the filling secure. I will start with Poached Shrimp that I just poached my deveined shell on in 4 cups of water with an Onion & herbs parsley & dill lime juice and salt. I let the poaching liquid come to a boil and then turn it off, add the let the shrimp cook in the hot liquid for 10 mins, shell on. After 10 mins, allow it to cool and then remove the shell. Ofcourse you can just buy precooked Shrimp, but the flavor in the shrimp doing it this way is way better that the bland rubbery frozen shrimp available in the grocery stores. Reserve a few Shrimp for the garnish and because my Shrimp are a good size, just slice the rest of the shrimp horizontally, with a sprinkle of dill, Cucumber & Radish, Smoked Salmon & Parsley & the final layer is sliced boiled eggs.
The most fun is decorating the, and it’s a good idea to use every element in your filling on top of the cake, so guests know exactly what’s in it. There’s no right or wrong way to do this just make it pretty and consider that you also need to slice thorough this and serve it. Also smooth out the sides. I like to line the edge with half cucumber rounds to make it look neat and add some whole Parsley as a decoration. This recipe is just a guideline, I hope this inspires you to create your own Smorgatorta of your favorite things!
There are no weights and measurements in this recipe as it’s relative to the size of cake and amount of layers you wish to create
You know the holidays are a crazy time with attending and planning parties, wrapping gifts, decorating and spending a lot more quality time in your kitchen and then you get invited to a potluck. You’re either going to run out and pick up another boring veggie tray or think of something easy and spectacular to impress. I’m going to my channel networks Holiday party. This party is going to be filled with YouTube creators and network staff that have helped and supported me and my channel so I really want to make this special. Instead of reinventing the wheel, or in this case the wreath, I’m going to use my Chicken Shawarma Hummus recipe and turn this into a beautiful and tasty edible wreath.
Since, I’m going to be transporting this to another location, I decided to use a disposable platter. This is really the best choice, you can just leave it behind if you have to leave early, it won’t break enroute and the host can just toss it after. I’ve chosen to use a thick round cake board, it looks festive and it’s easy to make the inner and outer circle indentation with a blunt knife so I can follow the lines of the wreath. I’m going to line the inside circle with half rounds of cucumbers. This is going to form a dam on the inside so the hummus does not leak out. I’m going to line the outside ring with the Chicken Shawarma pieces. This is not really necessary, but I just wanted to create a rough surface so the hummus would have something to hold onto and not slide off enroute.
You can make this vegetarian and just leave the Chicken out. I like to make the hummus a bit thicker that I usually do so it holds together.
The hummus is piped onto the board and decorated with Rosemary sprigs, Parsley, red Olives, green olives, pickled Onions, Pomegranate Jewels and toasted pine nuts. The piece de resistance is an edible bow I cut out of pita bread. It’s sprinkled with fairy dust aka some Sumac, dried Mint and Aleppo chillies and drizzled with my favorite ingredient – Pomegranate Molasses.
When I thought about this idea, I honestly had no idea it was going to turn out so good or it would be appreciated so much. I can’t wait to try this idea with Goat cheese next year!
My mom is one of the most amazing cooks that I will ever know. If I had to pick just one favorite, it has to be her Sorpotel. My Virgo Mom, was as meticulous as they come, she would take the time to cut her meat into perfect little cubes that danced in a fiery sour and spicy gravy.
Sorpotel spelled with an o or an a is one of the most traditional and beloved curry dishes served on celebratory occasions. This is rumoured to have originated from the Alentejo region of Portugal, and was carried with Portuguese colonists and settlers to the countries of their conquests. The Portuguese set up their colonies in Goa and the Goans quickly adopted this dish and christened it Sorpotel – Soro meaning alcohol. I would imagine that the original recipe may have contained alcohol. There are so many variations to this recipe out there, the East Indians and Mangaloreans all make their own version of this. In my mind, Sorpotel should be exactly as my mother made it, she followed a typical Goan recipe with perfectly small cubes of meat in a delicious deep red sour and spicy gravy. Versions that are brown and with large chunks of meat just don’t cut it for me.
Sorpotel is traditionally made with Pork and Offal being organs like Liver, Kidney & Gizzards. Because my family does not eat Pork, I was toying with the idea of making a Chicken Sorpotel for years. I think I may have asked my mom to email me the same recipe multiple times. Last year, just before Christmas, I found an old email print out from my mom, she was kinda annoyed that I was asking for it so many times. This is dated 2002!
Last year, December 2015, I replicated her recipe originally intended for Pork using Chicken Thigh and Beef liver and the results were outstanding, if you have a really good recipe, you can’t go wrong. Many people cannot eat Pork for religious or dietary reasons, so Chicken is a great alternative but if you would like to make this using the traditional protein, pork shoulder is a good cut but the belly is the fattiest and probably the most popular cut used in this preparation. I know you will probably ask – ‘what if I don’t eat liver?’ Leave it out, be warned though without this you’re pretty much going to get a delicious curry, but not a Sorpotel.
I follow a 2:1 ratio, 2 parts Chicken to one part liver. For the Ofal I prefer to only use liver. I find that if you use other organs the textures are all so varied, it just gets too confusing. I’m using Beef liver since it does resembles Pork liver in texture and color. It’s also convenient because of it’s size, but if you don’t eat Beef, Goat or Lamb liver can easily be substituted. You cannot use Chicken Liver as it’s too soft. To replicate the fatty Pork meat, I’ve used Boneless Chicken Thigh and I’ve got this uncleaned as you can see all the fat still on the meat.
Every good Sorpotel starts with a great spice blend. My mother used a lot of Kashmiri Chillies in her masala blend for intense red color without too much heat. Many people add animal blood to their Sorpotel – quite frankly I find that gross, so the Kashmiri chillies are going to have to paint my Sorpotel red for me. This recipe also uses some traditional Goa vinegar. If you cannot find Goa vinegar, you can substitute Red Wine Vinegar.
Please practice food safety, don’t use the same utensils, boards etc for raw and cooked meat and be sure to wash your hands.
And I’ll sign off with a joke – My friend Succorine from Soglechem Succorine said to me ‘Karen bai, did you know Sorpotel was named after a Gujju? I said what? They don’t even eat meat … then she said yes, the man was ‘Sor’ Patel’ … I can’t believe I fell for that one and if you’re laughing, I can’t believe you fell for it too!