Egg noodles

Best egg noodles recipe – Easy Chinese style Chow mein

Egg noodles - Chow Mein
egg noodles - Chow Mein
Egg noodles - Chow Mein

This delicious Egg Noodle dish is a speedy one-pot or rather a one-wok dish in which, all will come together in just less than half an hour. It is indeed a perfect dinner choice when you do not have time to bother about something elaborate and time-consuming.

The best news is that everybody in the family will get to eat lots of colourful vegetables without a fuss. This dish will taste simply delicious only with just veggies but if you prefer to take the nutrition levels a bit further, you could scatter some halved boiled eggs, some cooked prawns, chicken, or anything you could imagine. My choice is, “Chinese sweet and sour chicken” on a dome of this noodle dish which makes me feel that I am dining at the best Chinese restaurant in town!

If you have time, why not make this glorious sweet and sour chicken dish to go along with your noodles?

Chinese Sweet & Sour Chicken – Recipe link:

Rice noodles, pre-boiled noodles, or just egg noodles are perfect for this recipe. Be liberal in dropping all sorts of colorful vegetables to make this dish absolutely healthy and versatile. However, in order to preserve the authentic Chinese taste and appearance, remember to add beansprouts and mangetout and they necessarily be stir-fried in sesame oil. But do not worry if you do not have them, just opt for carrots and leek and if you use sesame oil for frying the taste will not be altered even in a fraction.

Egg noodles - Chow Mein

Ingredients:

Egg noodles (Medium)250g
Onion1
Garlic cloves4
Mangetouts150g
Beansprouts2 handfuls
Carrots2 large
Leek or spring onions
Button mushrooms (optional)1 cup
Soy sauce3tbsp
Oyster sauce2tbsp
Salt
Sesame oil for frying3tbsp

Let’s make:

Boil the noodles

  • Boil water – half a large pan
  • Drop noodles. Stir with a form or chopsticks a few times. Let boil
  • Take one noodle strand and check if cooked enough. If so, drop all into a colander. drain water completely
  • Now, hold the colander under the cold tap and wash the noodles thoroughly until no starch remains
  • Keep aside

Prepare the vegetables

  • Cut veggies into cubes or long strips
  • Slice the garlics and cube the onion
  • Take the string off from mangetouts
  • Keep the mushrooms ready

Stir fry all

  • Heat a large wok and add sessame oil
  • Add cubed onion and garlic. Brown them lightly
  • Add the mushrooms. Stir fry them
  • Drop all the veggies and stir fry until they all are soft
  • Add the beansprouts. Continue stir-frying
  • Now add the sauces: Soy and Oyster . Let the sauces boil
  • Drop the noodles
  • Bring the noodles and veggies together with the help of tongs or two forkss
  • Stir fry under high flame for a couple of minutes or until all flavours are combined thoroughly
  • Scatter leeks on top
  • Empty the whole lot on to a large dish, piping hot!
  • Serve immediately with a side dish or some boiled eggs scattered around
  • Tuck in!

Sweet and sour chicken

Best Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe – A popular Chinese delicacy

sweet and sour chicken
Sweet and sour chicken

Try this much healthier and much tastier homemade version of sweet and sour chicken and ditch the takeaway forever! Who wants to spend three times more and eat just a little potion full of MSG, the killer salt in takeaways when you can easily wrap some chicken and veggies together in a delicious sauce and produce the best sweet and sour chicken dish at home? The potion will be ample and more than anything else, you know exactly what you have added to the pot!

The whole process is totally uncomplicated and simple. I have given the full recipe in 3 steps for easy browsing. Start the process by coating the chicken with the batter, deep fry, then make the sweet and sour sauce, stir-fry the veggies and toss all together wrapping in the sauce to produce a mouthwatering, juicy and colourful chicken dish that is good enough to fall in love with!

Ingredients:

Ingredients: Vinegar, sugar, honey, salt, tomato sauce
Chicken breasts ( Cut into bite-size pieces) 300g
Onion1
Ginger and garlic (cut into thin strips)
Vegetable oil (For deep-frying and stir-frying)
A spoon full of sesame seeds and spring onions (for garnishing)
Bell peppers in green, yellow, and red colours1/2 each
Corn flour1 tbsp
FOR THE SWEET & SOUR SAUCE
Vinegar1/4 cup
Brown sugar3tbsp
Honey1tbsp
Ketchup5tbsp
Salt and pepper a few pinches
Water1/2 cup
FOR THE BATTER
Corn flour2 tbsp
Plain flour 1 cup
Baking powder1tsp
Water1/2 cup or a bit more
Egg1
Salt and pepper to taste

How to make:

Step 1: Fry the chicken

  • Season chicken with salt and pepper – keep aside
  • Mix plain flour, baking powder and cornflour together
  • Beat the egg with water, salt and pepper and pour into the flour. Make a slightly thick batter
  • Tip all the chicken pieces into the batter
  • Pick one by one with chops sticks or fork and deep fry until crispy and golden. Do not crowd the pan
  • Place on a kitchen paper and keep aside until needed later

Step 2: Make the sauce

  • Add all the ingredients listed under sweet and sour sauce into a pan and simmer gently
  • Check the taste. You can add more sugar, honey or vinegar at this point and adjust the taste according to your preference

Step 3: Fry the vegetables and add in the sauce and chicken

  • Heat some oil. Saute the cubed onion and sliced garlic and ginger
  • Add in the colourful bell peppers
  • Push all the vegetables to a side
  • Now pour in the prepared sweet and sour sauce
  • Let it boil and add in the chicken
  • Sprinkle 1tbsp of cornflour
  • Lower the flame and wrap all together
  • Toss and turn a few times, check the taste and take out from the stove
  • Serve immediately with hot boiled white rice, noodles or Chow Mein
  • Delicious and addictive!
Sweet and sour chicken
Butter chicken

How to make the best butter chicken – without cashews – low in calories – silky gravy

Delicious with piping hot steamed white rice
With warm freshly baked chapatis

Why not cheer up your Friday night with this silky butter chicken curry? Even if you are not quite a curry fan, I bet that you will fall head over heels with this dish! Who wouldn’t? You simply cannot resist this silky smooth gravy and the delicate, boneless pieces of chicken that will melt in your mouth. The best news is that this dish is super easy to make without going through a long and strenuous cooking process. Therefore, it’s ideal for young people; this is your kind of dish to try out!

I present this easy/healthy recipe after eliminating some ingredients such as cashew nuts, tomato passata, and yoghurt, which usually are added into this dish. My aim is to minimize the effort and achieve glorious results, keeping in mind that the dish should not contain too many calories, yet to be supreme in taste!

I suggest that you just go through the recipe while making quick mental notes about the ingredients, and the whole process of making it. This will allow you to get an idea about the cooking method, if you are a novice in Asian cuisine. Finally, jot down all the required ingredients and go shopping! Do not forget to buy some flatbreads or basmati rice. Butter chicken and steamed basmati rice is a real love story!

Good luck!

Butter chicken recipe

Ingredients needed:

Chicken breasts ( cut into cubes)300g
Double cream1/4 cup
Onions1 large
Tomatoes ( riped and juicy)1 large
Bay leaves 2
Ginger1/2 inch piece
Garlic 4/5 cloves
Cloves and cardamoms 3 each
Water (hot)1 1/2 cups
Salt1 tsp or to taste
Sugar1/8 tsp ( A few pinches)
Oil1 tbsp
Butter2 tbsp
INDIAN MASALA
Garam masala1/2 tsp
Cumin powder (Jeera powder)1/2 tsp
Coriander powder ( Dhaniya powder)1/2 tsp
Turmeric1/2 tsp
Chilli powder1tsp
Kasoori methi powder (Dried Fenugreek leaves)1 1/2tbsp
Butter Chicken ingredients
Ingredients

Let’s make it:

Step 1 – Marinate the chicken and fry

  • Marinate the chicken pieces with a little salt, chili powder, turmeric powder and a few drops of lemon.
  • Keep aside for 20 mins
  • Brush a little oil in a pan and stir fry the chicken pieces
  • Keep aside

Step 2 – Cook the chicken in spices

  • In a pan, heat 2tbsp of oil and saute the onions with a couple of bay leaves, 3/4 cloves and cardamoms
  • Fry chopped tomatoes and ginger & garlic crushed together
  • Add in the spices: Cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder (1/2 tsp each) and chilli powder – 1tsp
  • Stir fry a minute or two
  • Drop the prepared chicken into the pan and stir fry until chicken pieces are coated well with the spices. If too dry, sprinkle a little water
  • Pour hot water just above the chicken. ( Do not pour too much water at this point)
  • Cover and cook under medium flame for 15mins
  • Open the lid and pour more hot water, cover and cook another 5 mins

Step 3 – Final therapy – make the silky gravy

  • Now pour 1/4 cup of double cream, stir well, close the lid and cook under a very low flame for 5-8 mins. (You can add more double cream if you prefer a thick gravy)
  • Open the lid, drop a dollop of butter. You are cooking butter chicken remember?
  • Now take a handful of Kasoori Methi and crush it by rubbing your palms together and drop into the pot. This is the vital therapy which gives the distict aroma of butter chicken)
  • Add in 1/2tsp of sugar and stir through
  • Cover and simmer a little while. (5 – 8 mins)
  • Let the pot sit for 10 -15mins until all the flavours soak into the chicken pieces and oil floats above the gravy
  • Done!
  • Enjoy with a plate full of steaming white rice or freshly baked rotis

Chinese dumplings

BEST CHINESE DUMPLINGS – easy recipe

Chinese dumplings
Chinese dumplings
Chinese dumplings
Chinese dumplings

This easy recipe will bring your dumplings dream come true! Make them at home, keeping the authentic Chinese taste intact and you will never run to restaurants to grab them!

I must say that our numerous visits to various restaurants in the China Town, in Central London, just to taste their authentic dumplings, have always been tantamount to a massive disappointment. They never lived up to our expectations and I found the outermost layer delicate and moist but the inner filling had very little or no flavours at all. Also, the filling was very little in quantity too.

 So, while experimenting with dumpling-making for a while, I came out with such exciting results which surely became an instant hit with my family as well as with friends. As a matter of fact, the overall taste is completely based upon the filling, so, take all the ingredients fresh and of good quality. Minced pork is best for this recipe but if you do not prefer pork opt for chicken mince.

The best advantage of making them at home is that you could make them deliciously flavourful according to your desire and you will have plenty to gobble down.

So let’s get on with making dumplings!

Chinese dumplings
Minced pork, spring onions, plain flour, cornflour, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, sugar and hot water

Ingredients needed for the dough and for the filling :

Enough for 30 – 35 dumplings.

For the outer cover
Plain flour300g
Boiling water1/2 cup
Warm water(enough to knead the dough)
For the filling
 Pork mince or Chicken mince300 g
Spring Onion – Class A  – 120 g1 bunch
Soy sauce (dark)4 tbsp or more
Blended sesame oil4 tbsp
Brown Sugar3 pinches
Ginger – shredded1-inch root
Salt3 pinches
Corn flour4 tbsp
Rice vinegar1 tbsp
Cabbage – shredded1 cup (optional)
Chinese dumplings

Let’s get started:

1) Make the dumplings dough;

nfd
  • Place 300g of plain flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle.  
  • Now, pour 1/2 cup of boiling water into the well
  • Immediately, cover the bowl and let it rest for 5 mins
  • Open the lid and run through a wooden spoon.   Again cover and leave for 10 mins.
  • Now pour 1/2 cup of warm water gradually while kneading the flour with your hand.  
  • Add more warm water if needed and knead until the dough becomes soft to touch and not sticking onto your fingers.  Cover and let it rest for 30 mins.  
  • In the meantime, make the filling.

2) Make the filling;

  • In a large bowl add minced pork
  • Then add chopped spring onions
  • Drop sugar and chopped ginger in
  • Now, add soy sauce, sesame sauce, and vinegar
  • Drop cornflour in
  • Bring all together using a fork or chopsticks
  • The filling is ready!
Place the filling in the middle of the flattened disk

3) Let’s make the dumplings and steam them:

  • Divide the dough into equal size balls
  • Lightly flour the surface of the kitchen worktop or a wide chopping board.  Place a ball of dough and roll it to a flat round disk, using a rolling pin
  • Place a tablespoon of meat mixture on the middle
  • .Bring both sides together and pinch on the pleat making them tightly clasped
  • Make enough for one round of steaming. While one batch is in the steamer, you can go ahead making the next batch and place them on a flour-dusted surface

4) Let’s make the dumplings and steam them:

  • The final step is to steam the dumplings. Brush oil on the bottom of the steamer and arrange dumplings without sticking to each other.  Now, steam on high flame for about 5 – 6 mins.  You will see the colour of the outer cover change and start glistering when cooked enough
  • Switch off the flame and take out dumplings one by one, very gently, with the help of soft-edged tongs and place them on a plate
  • Your delicate dumplings are ready!
Chinese dumplings

Let’s make the dipping sauce

What you will need:

  • 2 tbsp  – dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp  – warm water
  • chopped coriander leaves
  • a few pieces of chopped red chili for a fiery blend. (avoid chili when serving kids)
chil

Whisk all together and serve in a separate bowl next to dumplings with chopsticks, a fork, or a spoon. In place of this sauce dipper, you can opt for Chinese chilli oil or chilli paste which are ideal dippers for these dumplings.

Chinese dumplings

Black forest cake

Best Black forest cake – Easy recipe – using cocktail cherries

Black forest cake
cocktail cherries

Ingredients:

FOR THE SPONGE CAKE
Self-raising flour or plain flour315g
Sugar250g
Corn flour1 1/2 tbsp
Baking powder2 tsp
2 1/2 tsp if plain flour is used
Bicarbonate of soda powder1 tsp
Cocoa powder1/4 cup or 30g
Salt1/4 tsp
Eggs6
Vegetable oil1/2 cup
Nescafe 2 tbsp
Hot water1/2 cup
Lemon juice1 tsp
FOR THE FROSTING
Heavy cream/Double cream/ Whipped cream2 cups or 300ml
Icing sugar1 cup or 150ml
Dried milk powder1 tbsp
Vanilla essence 1tsp
FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP
Water10 tbsp
Sugar10 tbsp
FOR DECORATION
Morello cherry1 bottle
Dark chocolates1 bar

It was indeed a dream come true; the thrilling experience I had while admiring my gorgeous Black Forest Cake was beyond description.

This felt like quite a daunting task, some months before. However, after a few days of dreaming about making this beauty, I later realised, that it is just a matter of making two simple chocolate sponge cakes, soaking them with sugar and cherry syrup, cover with whipped cream frosting, and pat with dark chocolate shavings. Not so daunting when your grit, coupled with passion, is on track, after all!

To make the whole process easier and less stressful, I used cocktail cherry in cherry syrup, instead of making the same with fresh cherries. Cherries are seasonal fruits and in some months fresh ones are not available in supermarkets. Also, in tropical countries, cherries are hard to find. Hence, I guess, using cocktail cherries in this recipe is very practical and in turn, the cherry syrup in the bottle gives an addictive deep flavour to the cake as well as the cherry liqueur soaked cherries are equally addictive.

Gather all the necessary ingredients and proceed with confidence. Opt for a relaxed time during which you will not get distracted. Follow all the steps methodically and voila! Black Forest Cake will be in front of you in no time! Trust me, you will love the ultimate goal!

Let’s start making this beautiful cake;

  1. Bake the cake

Whisk egg yellows

  • Separate the eggs (Even a tiny drop of egg yellow could spoil the batter, so be very careful while separating the eggs)
  • Whisk the egg yellows until frothy
  • Add oil. Continue whisking
  • Add 1/2 the amount of sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Keep the other 1/2 of sugar
  • Pour the 1/2 cup of hot water into 2 tbsp of Nescafe and make coffee. Let cool. Add to the egg yellow and whisk gently
  • Sift flour with cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and bicarb. Add into the egg yellow mixure and combine all together
  • Mix all together until a smooth batter is formed

Beat the egg whites

  • Drop the egg whites into a clean and dry bowl (Any wetness in the bowl will not allow the egg whites to stiff well)
  • Beat on high speed until heavy and stiff ( Pls see the picture above)
  • Add in the remaining 1/2 of sugar in three times while beating on high speed
  • Drop 1tsp of lemon juice
  • Beat a few rounds and keep aside

Combine both

  • Now, pour the egg white mixture into the egg yellow mixture and gently combine until everything incorporates producing a smooth batter

2) Into the oven

two trays of this size are perfect
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 C for 10mins
  • Line up two round trays
  • Divide the batter and pour into the trays
  • Place the trays on a wide rectangle tray filled with water
  • Place it in the oven and gently close the oven door (do not bang the oven door shut as the cakes can drop from the middle)
  • Bake for 20-25mins
  • Stab a skewer into the middle of the cakes. If the skewer comes out clean the cakes are ready. If not, leave 5 more mins in the oven
  • Take out from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack

3) Make the sugar syrup

  • Mix 10 tbsp of sugar and 10 tbsp of water and make the sugar syrup

4) Make the Frosting

  • Keep all the ingredients needed for frosting on the work top. Double cream should be taken out of the fridge just before using it. Chilled double cream makes beautiful snow like peaks
  • Take a clean, dry bowl. Wipe clean if any wetness is left. Pour in the 2 cups of chilled double cream
  • Beat on high spead until the cream turns thick and stiff
  • Add the icing sugar in three times and continue beating for 2-3 mins
  • When the pins are lifted they must hold beautiful stiff peaks. Stop beating
  • Add in milk powder and lemon juice
  • Beat a couple of rounds and check the taste. If the sweetness is not enough, you can add a bit more icing sugar and mix
  • Cover the bowl with a cling film and refridgirate until needed

5) Decorate the cake

  • Peal off the baking paper of completely cooled cakes. Try baking the cakes on the previous day
  • If the sides and the tops of the cakes are hard and crusty, scrape them off neatly. Otherwise its perfectly alright to take the cakes as they are
  • Now stab both cakes all over with a skewer and make several tiny holes
  • Pour the sugar syrup all over both cakes
  • Now pour the cherry syrup/liquer in the bottle of cocketail cherry on to both cakes liberally
  • Place one cake on the cake stand. Cover with the frosting. Place cocktail cherries around and in the middle
  • On top place the other cake
  • Pour some cherry syrup/liquer from the bottle of Cocktail cherry
  • Cover the top and around with the frosting
  • Fill some of the frosting into a piping bag and using the rose nostle make a dainty line of roses
  • Place a cherry on each rose
  • Shave the dark chocolate with a vegetable peeler and pat on the sides of the cake
  • Done!
  • Place the cake in the fridge overnight or at least 3hrs before serving
  • Enjoy!
black forest cake

Tips:

  • Make sure you buy the best brands of all the ingredients in order to produce best results
  • Place all the ingredients on the work top to make the process easier and quicker
  • Read the recipe a couple of times and make a mental note of the steps
  • Always opt for a peaceful time for baking because just one little step forgotten, the whole effort will be spoilt
  • Do not pre-heat the oven too long. Upto 15mins is more than enough. And also, never bang the oven door after placing the cake inside. The air inside will get disturbed and make the cake to flop from the middle
  • Before frosting/icing the cake always make sure the cake is completely cooled. Bake the cakes on the previous day to save a lot of time and energy.
Lassi

Lassi – Best summer drink to quench your thirst instantly

Lassi drink
Lassi

If you have not tasted this divine drink before, do not let this summer pass without tasting it. Or else you will miss a great chance to experience the utmost joy of this silky smooth, icy cold, velvety drink that slithers through your throat, rejuvenating your whole self with an instant effect. I must say that your summer joy is not complete if you have not sipped a glass of Lassi!

So, hurry up, buy a thick, full-fat tub of plain yoghurt or just Greek yoghurt and go home and make Lassi! Spread the joyful news! Stay cool, stay happy throughout the summer!

Lassi, widely used in the Indian subcontinent during the hot summer months, is the most refreshing, smooth yoghurt drink you can think of.

Getting the proportions right is the key to achieving the right consistency of this amazing drink. When added too much water, for example, the silky smooth texture vanishes. If you do not add ice cubes into the blender jar, the churning will not give the right chill. It should all come together in the right proportions to have the most delightful Lassi in your glass!

Even if you are tempted, do not gulp down the whole glass in one go! Just sip slowly and experience the real bliss of this silky smooth drink that instantly cools you down and refreshes you to the core.

Hurry, let’s whiz this up!

lassi

Ingredients needed:

Full-fat plain or Greek-style yoghurt or plain curd1 cup
White sugar 2 1/2 tbsp
Cold drinking water1/4 cup
Ice cubes3

Let’s churn it:

  • In a blender jar drop all the ingredients together
  • Blitz on high speed for 1-2 mins. Do not exceed this time to keep the frothy texture
  • Serve immediately with froth on top of the glass
  • Delicious

Aubergine-egg pant pan fried

Best pan-fried eggplant recipe – A great vegetarian choice of dinner

The purple magic!

Aubergine/Eggplant fry
Eggplant fry

The glossy, purple aubergines could come to your plate in many delicious forms but believe me, this is one of the best dishes! Hardly any oil in these crunchy, delicious aubergine circles and you will come to love them either as a side dish or a starter! It is indeed purple magic!

Aubergines are healthy, versatile, and supremely delicious when prepared with care. The soft middle can absorb a lot of oil like a sponge, so it is wise not to deep fry or add too much oil into any dish you prepare using this vegetable.

I happened to invent this recipe, while casually experimenting on an exciting new recipe with aubergines and was delighted with the outcome. This is a very simple, easy peasy recipe, but you cannot underestimate the well-balanced taste!

Step by step recipe is given below with all the necessary details. So, let’s make it!

Ingredients – omit cumin powder if you prefer a less spicy version

Ingredients:

Aubergines/egg plants2
Red chili powder1tbsp
Cumin powder1tbsp
Turmeric powder1/2tbsp
Salt 1/2tsp
Cornflakes (plain)1 cup
Olive oil2tbsp

How to make:

  • Slice the aubergines thinly
  • Keep aside
  • Crush a cup of plain cornflakes
  • Mix all the spices together
  • Add a little water and make a thick paste
  • Rub the masala paste on both sides of aubergine circles
  • Keep all the slices on a plate
  • Now, dust cornflakes on both sides of aubergine slices
  • Stack all the prepared circles on a plate
eggplant fry
  • Heat a little olive oil in a flat pan and arrange all the aubergine slices and fry both sides, gently turning occasionally
  • Keep the fried aubergines on a stack of tissues for a while and serve immediately!
victoria sponge cupcakes

Best Victoria Sponge cupcakes – filled with Buttercream icing and jam

Victorian  sponge cupcakes
cupcakes

Let’s start

Make these yummy cupcakes and spread the joy around! It’s indeed a joy to find a cherry sitting on the creamy butter icing well, beneath the half-opened flap!

Kids will go crazy with the sight of this most inviting delicious treat! No assurance is needed to testify the out-of-this-earth taste of these. And the good news is that they are super easy to make too!

As a matter of fact, this is the same recipe as the classic Victoria Sponge cake which is the most sorted cake in Britain. The only difference is that instead of one cake there are many cupcakes with the same taste. More giggles and more joy to follow with each one of them!

Please click the link below for the full step by step recipe for Victoria Sponge cake:

Victorian sponge cake
Victoria Sponge cake
Link for Vic Sponge Cake

Equipment: You will need some cupcake cases and a muffin tray. To fill the cupcakes, you need to opt for the best strawberry or raspberry jam. Making the buttercream icing to the right consistency is also equally important to achieve the best taste.

So, let’s, begin,

What you will need

For the cake

Self Raising flour / Cake flour200 g
Margarine or melted butter under room temperature200 g
Caster sugar200 g
Eggs under room temp3
Milk3 tbsp
Lemon juice and Vanilla essence1/4  tsp each
Salt3/4 pinches
Baking powder (if you are using plain flour add 1/2tsp)1/4 tsp

For the Buttercream icing

Icing sugar200g
Margarine100g
lemon juice3/4 drops
Vanilla essence1tsp
Milk (optional)1tbsp

Make the batter

  • Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy,  using an electric hand mixer.  Go clockwise  (3 – 4 mins)
  • Add eggs, one at a time. Make sure you beat  after each addition ( Beat 3/4 rounds after each addition)
  • Add vanilla essence,  lemon juice, salt, milk and whisk two rounds(1min) 
  • Mix baking powder to flour and sieve onto the cake batter
  • Fold the flour gently with a wooden spoon until everything comes together as a creamy batter

Preheat the oven to 180C for 20mins. Do not exceed this time. If your oven heats up too soon, set it for 160C.

Fill the cupcake cases up

silicon cupcake cases are re-usable and you can remove the cake from the case
  • Fill cupcake cases with the batter leaving little space on the top for the cake to rise
  • Place the filled cupcake cases in a muffin tray
  • Lift up the tray and drop it twice onto your kitchen-top gently, allowing the batter to spread and settle evenly on the try

Into the tray

  • Place the tray in the middle/bottom shelf of the oven and slowly close the oven (If your oven heats up too soon, set the temp. for 160 C degrees and bake the cake on the lowest shelf)
  • Bake for 20 mins or the tops of the cupcakes turns golden. After 20 mins, insert a skewer into the middle of one cupcake and if it comes clean,  your cakes are ready

Important tips: Oven

Place the tray with cakes in the oven and close the door very gently. If the door is shut with a bang, the cakes can slump in the middle

Never open the oven door during the initial 10mins as the cakes might not rise but drop from the middle

If the cakes are browned on the top but soggy in the middle, do not worry, simply place parchment paper on top of the cakes and continue baking for a further 10 mins

Out of the oven

  • Take the tray out of the oven and let it rest for 10 mins
  • Remove the cupcakes and let them cool off on a wire rack
  • Meanwhile, whip up the butter icing

Frosting the cake

Whip up the buttercream icing:

  • Cream up margarine and gradually add sieved icing sugar. Beat on high speed until smooth and creamy using an electric hand mixer
  • Add lemon juice, vanilla and milk. Beat a few rounds
  • Buttercream icing is ready to use!

Ice the cakes:

  • Slice the top of some cupcakes
  • Spread a generous dollop of jam
  • Smear buttercream on jam
  • Cover with the sliced top
  • Dust with icing sugar
  • Yummy!
  • For a change, you can dig in the middle of some cupcakes and make a well
  • fill the well with jam and then buttercream
  • Close with the removed crust
  • Dust with icing sugar
  • Yum!

Serve at the afternoon tea-time and enjoy!

How rising oil price affect food prices

The oil prices rise steadily and despite the falling demand, especially in the West due to strict lockdowns. At the moment two crude oil benchmarks, WTI and Brent, have hit above crucial $50 mark.

It goes without saying how food prices are going to be affected by the rising oil price during these troubling times.

Since the transportation of goods by roads, both national and international level, the prices of essential items are already being subject to inflationary pressures. The rise in oil price is only going to make it even worse at a critical time.

In addition, the air transport has collapsed by a significant percentage and it will add more pressure to sellers to raise the prices.

Farmers are going to feeling the pinch too: with rising oil price, they cannot afford to use machinery in an optimum capacity – for obvious reasons.

If the rising oil price forces consumers to turn to alternatives such as biofuels, the price of essential items could even go higher than the current values.

It’s true that the oil producers have to survive too: they have to look after the needs of their own populations; they have to invest in research and exploration too.

Most producer are in the opinion that the oil price within the current range, from $40 – $50, is something that they can manage their budgetery needs while addressing the ballooning deficits.

Please read more on oil price here

Chilli shrimp paste

Best chilli Paste recipe – additive taste – 3tbsp of oil – full of flavours

Chilli paste
Chinese chilli paste

Hello chilli lovers, let’s meet every pantry must-have taste enhancer! This special spice and chilli blend will instantly enhance the flavours of fried rice, noodles or any stir-fries! We know that dried shrimps have a distinct flavour and in this recipe, it is being roasted in oil and blended with dried chillies and onions along with sauces in perfect proportions to win everyone’s taste buds!

Now, this will be a piece of good news for all the healthy eaters; While experimenting on this great taste bud winner, I came across a superb way to minimize the amount of oil used in it.  Instead of deep-frying all the ingredients as everyone usually does, I stir-fried, using only four tbsp of oil, while keeping the taste perfectly intact! Wonders of wonders, really!

Surprisingly,  the taste was supreme, despite not being drenched in oil like many available brands on the shop shelves.  I am pretty sure that if you taste this delicious chilli paste once, you will never buy any supermarket brands which has no real shrimp taste. Absolute fake!

I suggest that you make a large batch and fill a large glass bottle and store in the fridge. It will sit in the fridge fresh and aromatic for over three months.

So, let’s make it!

Ingredients needed:

Dried shrimp1 cup
Chopped onions1/2 cup
Sugar2/3tbsp
Salt1tsp
Soy sauce3/4tbsp
Ginger and garlic chopped2tbsp
Chilli flakes1tbsp
Vinegar1tbsp
Ingredients

You will need the following ingredients: (You can add more of any of these according to your taste)

Let’s make

  • Heat 2tbsp of oil, fry the dried shrimp and keep aside
  • Add another 1tbsp oil and fry chopped onions and keep aside
  • Add the third tbsp of oil and fry chilli flakes, chopped ginger and garlic
  • Bring all together and give a good mix
  • Add soy sauce, sugar and salt
  • Pour in vinegar
  • Check the taste and add more salt and sugar accordingly, until it is just the right flavour you are looking for!
  • Crush all into a paste using a hand blender
  • Your delicious chilli paste is ready!
  • Store in an air-tight glass jar and place in the fridge