Cherry Pie : Pie With Cherry Filling

Ingredients

  • Homemade Pie Crust or All Butter Pie Crust (both recipes make 2 crusts, 1 for bottom and 1 for top)
  • 4 and 1/2 cups halved & quartered pitted fresh cherries (see note)
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28gcornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 Tablespoon (14g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on crust

Instructions

  1. The crust: Prepare either pie crust recipe through step 5.
  2. Make the filling: In a large bowl, stir the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract together until thoroughly combined. Cover filling and place in the refrigerator as you roll out the pie dough or for up to 24 hours.
  3. Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Use a slotted spoon to spoon and spread the cherries into the crust. Reserve the juice for the next step. Refrigerate pie, uncovered, as you reduce the juices in the next step.
  4. Pour the few Tablespoons of leftover juice into a small saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until juice has slightly reduced and thickened. Cool for 5 minutes, then pour over cherries in filling. Do your best to gently toss together– doesn’t have to be perfect. The reduction will harden and thicken as a result of mixing with the cold cherries. This is normal and it will melt again in the oven. Dot the pieces of butter on top of the filling.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  6. Arrange the lattice: Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a circle that is 12 inches diameter. Using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, or pizza cutter, cut strips of dough– I cut four strips 2 inches wide and two strips 1 inch wide. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Press the edges of the strips into the bottom pie crust edges to seal. Use a small paring knife to trim off excess dough. Flute or crimp the edges with a fork.
  7. Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar, if using.
  8. Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown and the filling juices have been bubbling up around the edges or through the lattice/vents for at least 5 minutes.
  9. Remove pie from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and cool for at least 3-4 hours before slicing and serving. Filling will be too juicy if the pie is warm when you slice it.
  10. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Weirdly Satisfying Pizzas – The Chicken Shawarma Pizza

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish that is made by putting thinly sliced meat into a cone shape and cooking it slowly on a turning rotisserie. Shawarma is a popular dish around the world, but there’s one country where making shawarma pizza is particularly popular. In the Netherlands, shawarma pizza is a super popular topping. It can be made with a variety of different types of meat and chicken shawarma pizza is a particularly popular recipe around the Internet.

However the Netherlands isn’t the only country where you can find shawarma pizza. Canad’s largest city being the multi-cultural hub that it is, has a few places that serve a popular chicken shawarma pizza. Ofcourse the Arabian Gulf countries can’t be far behind. My city of Cochin, with so many from the state having lived, worked or atleast visited one of more of the Arab countries, isn’t far behind in it’s love for shawarma and I counted 5 places where you can a really nice chicken shawarma pizza.

Chicken Shawarma Pizza Recipe packs so much punch with extreme flavors and boldness from this unmistakable Middle Eastern marinade.  And lets not forget the yogurt sauce to tie it all together. Not only is the base of this pizza yogurt sauce but we decided to swirl some on top too, just for good measure. And it looks pretty cool too. The best elements are just what are needed with the large and in charge and totally satisfying pieces of grilled chicken shawarma.

KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken : Plant Based Beyond Meat Nuggets

Suddenly beyond meat products are all the rage. KFC looks like they will be trying out their product pretty strong as per advertised. The new plant-based fried chicken nugget alternative, called Beyond Fried Chicken, will be added to menus nationwide in the US, beginning Monday, Jan. 10 for a limited time. It marks the first instance of a large national chain selling plant-based chicken products.

KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets are plant-based fried nuggets that are meant to taste just like KFC’s fried chicken. According to the ingredients listed on the KFC website, they’re mainly made of soy protein. While they’re plant-based, they’re “not prepared in a vegan/vegetarian manner.” The chain seems to target customers who want to eat less animal protein but don’t want to give up comfort food. Beyond Fried Chicken can be ordered in a combo meal that includes a medium drink and fries or à la carte in six- or 12-piece portions.

Prices vary depending on location, but start at $6.99 for six pieces and cost more for the other options.  KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken had a trial run in 2020 in select US cities including Los Angeles, Charlotte, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee. A first iteration, according to KFC, was also sold in Atlanta in August 2019.  The Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets were noticeably bigger than your typical fast food chicken nuggets but smaller than a chicken sandwich filet. In terms of texture, they had a pretty uniform, granular breading that’s similar to KFC’s Extra Crispy Tenders but less flaky. Reviewers say that the plant-based meat tore like chicken but didn’t quite look like chicken fibers. In terms of flavor and aroma, they taste and smell just like fried chicken. They had the same lightly seasoned flavor profile as Extra Crispy Tenders, which made them ideal for dipping.

Am I Done With French Fries From Fast Food Joints?

A few years ago I think I even blogged that whenever I go have drinks at one of the bars that I go to or even the Lotus club, one of the snacks that I will order or am sure that it will be in the offering is French fries. French fries is a staple for meals and snacks ever since I was a kid. When I buy sandwiches or burger at a cafe/restaurant I will usually have fries with my main meal. KFC, Burger King, McDonalds, Chicking etc etc fast food chains all serve French Fries and usually when I order food from them I will order 2 or 3 (for my parents and myself) along with the main course if you will.

The same for other place but I have been feeling a bit off of French Fries all of a sudden. It’s not my fav choice of side anymore and not just that, I don’t seem to enjoy them as much. Maybe a bit of fries fatigue. So instead of fries I actually look around the menu for some other sides that I can order instead of the fries. Maybe wedges instead of fries, or a hashbrown or two. Better yet some onion rings or chicken wings. Delicious. Especially when it comes to McDonalds, KFC, Chicking & Burger King – the big chains are failing me! Add Taco Bell to that mix although I do think they are somewhat better. If it wasn’t for my dad, who wants French fries with his fried chicken, I wouldn’t buy them anymore from KFC & Chicking.

I’m just done with the almost bland taste of the fries from these places. There are just better side. However from more local cafes and restaurants, I do think they make it much better. Crispier and and fluffier in the middle. I don’t mind getting them from those cafes and even a few bars.

Kangaroo Meat Pizza From The Land Down Under

One of the dumbest arguments on the internet that has been going on for a few years is if pineapple belongs on pizza. Yeah, the big debate among pizza purists revolved around whether pineapple chunks were ever acceptable as a topping. Listen, I love the Hawaiian pizza styles and even the variations that I have had the chance to try here like the spicy chicken with pineapple chunks and jalapenos. The sweet with the savoury and spiciness combines really well for a good time.

And the way the people in the NO Pineapple camp act as if that is the weirdest topping that they have every heard of on a pizza. Well buckle up princesses, there are a whole lot more than that. Vegemite pizza, Hawaiian spaghetti pizza, Cheesey Durian pizza from Malaysia, Bubble Tea pizza from Taiwan and Sweet potato pizza from South Korea! Looks like we can’t keep our friends Down Under down – other than the utterly disgusting sounding vegemite pizza they also have a delicious looking meat one with The Australian Heritage Hotel in Sydney serving up the Pepper Kangaroo Pizza, which comes heavily laden with native pepper, cranberries, roast peppers and paprika mayo.

Now that is something that I would fly to Australia for.

Shawarma – The Food Of My Childhood Memories

One of the foods that I associate with my childhood and good times with family is shawarma. Kuboos, hummus, KFC as well but shawarama is up front and center in those memories. That with Coke or Pepsi and French fries. When I was growing up in Kuwait, my older sister, dad, mom would have family meals in front of the tv. Most weekends, my mom’s brother & his wife, and when my cousin was born, she too, would join us.

The exception was my aunt who has always been vegetarian. So she would have kuboos or buns with fallafel and French fries. We either sat around the table in our living room or at my uncle’s place. Meals times were special. We would usually watch a movie or some tv show that was fun at the time and enjoyed these special moments.

I remember when the shawarma craze first came to Cochin & Kerala. This was way back in the early 1990s and there was just that one place that served them – Kentucky Inn on the second floor of GCDA shopping complex on Marine Drive. They cost just Rs.10 and the portions were bigger. Pretty soon they were Rs.12 but the portions stayed the same. Then it was Rs.15, then Rs.20 and 3 or 4 years ago, when I started having them again, they were Rs.25. Smaller portions have been the norm since then but the price kept going up and now you can see them at Rs.120 to 190 depending on the place.

But they have never tasted any better than since my childhood.

Holiday Season Dessert Dishes : A Yule Log

A Yule log or bûche de Noël is a traditional Christmas cake, often served as a dessert near Christmas, especially in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and several former French colonies such as Canada, Vietnam, and Lebanon. Variants are also served in the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, and Spain. Made of sponge cake, to resemble a miniature actual Yule log, it is a form of sweet roulade. The cake emerged in the 19th century, probably in France, before spreading to other countries. It is traditionally made from a genoise, generally baked in a large, shallow Swiss roll pan, iced, rolled to form a cylinder, and iced again on the outside. The most common combination is basic yellow sponge cake and chocolate buttercream, though many variations that include chocolate cake, ganache, and icings flavored with espresso or liqueurs exist.

Ingredients
For the Filling:
For the Sponge Cake:
For the Ganache Frosting:

Directions

Instructions:

Momos : Steamed Chicken Or Veg Dumplings

Momos are a type of Tibetan/Nepali dumpling dish popular in these regions. Momo is found in the cuisines of India, Nepal & Tibet. It is similar to baozi, jiaozi and mantou in Chinese cuisine, buuz in Mongolian cuisine, gyoza in Japanese cuisine, mandu in Korean cuisine and manti in Afghan cuisines. Momo is a type of steamed dumpling with some form of filling and is a traditional delicacy in Nepal, Tibet, as well as among Nepalese and Tibetan communities in Bhutan, as well as people of the Indian regions of Darjeeling, Ladakh, Sikkim, Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.

Ingredients of Momos

  • For the Dough:
  • 120 gms refined flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt water (for kneading)

For the Chicken Filling:

  • 1 cup chicken (minced)
  • 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp soya sauce
  • Salt
  • 1/4 tsp vinegar

For the Vegetarian Filling:

  • 1 cup cabbage and carrots, grated
  • 2 tbsp onions , finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp soya sauce
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

For Chilli Sauce:

  • 25 gram garlic, peeled
  • 6 gms whole red chillies
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • to taste salt
  • to taste sugar

Preparation

Prepare Chilli Sauce:

Cut the red chillies and soak them in water for about two hours. Cut up into small pieces and soak in the vinegar for one to two hours. Put all the ingredients in a mixie and grind to a smooth paste.

Prepare Momos:

1. In a bowl mix all the ingredients of the chicken or vegetable filling, according to your choice. Keep aside.

2. Knead the refined flour, baking powder and salt together into firm dough. Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.

3. Roll the dough into very thin 4-5 inch rounds.

4. Take each round piece and place some filling in the center.

5. Bring the edges together and twist to seal it.

6. Steam in a steamer for about 10 minutes and serve hot with chilly sauce.

Holiday Hot Chocolate : The Cozy, Warm Feeling

December of ever year brings holiday drinks from all coffeeshop chains and this year is sure to have many, many people trying out all the drinks that are out on offer. Holiday menus have been out now with seasonal drinks and baked goods along with new festive cups! Candy Cane Hot Chocolate and Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate topped with whipped cream and peppermint bark. Yummy. Merry and cheerful new holiday designs adorn the hot beverage cups, donut boxes and delivery bags and feature a modern expression of classic holiday characters designed to evoke childhood nostalgia and warm memories.

Hot cocoa and hot chocolate are usually drunk on their own with decadent toppings, such as whipped cream and marshmallows. Yet, the hot beverage’s ability to pair with other flavors is far greater than it is usually given credit for. Though hot cocoa is typically associated as a sweet comforting drink for a cozy night cuddled up on the couch or by the fire, it really does work well with a variety of foods. Certain salty, sweet, and tangy foods are all great options for pairing with hot chocolate. Sweet foods can be paired with hot chocolate in moderation. Generally, the best sweet food pairings for hot chocolate are sweets with a pronounced flavor, such as mint—anything with peppermint, such as mints, chocolates, candy canes, etc., are a great choice. Marshmallows are a huge hit with people of all ages.

Christmas Pudding/Plum Pudding : Traditional British Cake

One of the foods that I remember watching on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods is Christmas pudding from the UK. No British Christmas is complete without a Christmas pudding. Unlike American puddings, a Christmas pudding is a dark, sticky, and dense sponge, more like a fruitcake, made of mixed dried fruit, candied fruit peel, apple, and citrus zests. Brandy and spices provide a deep, complex flavor and signature dark color.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound/450 grams (3 to 3 1/2 cups) mixed dried fruit
  • 25 grams (scant 1/2 cup) mixed candied fruit peel, finely chopped
  • 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brandy, more as needed
  • 55 grams (1/2 cup) self-rising flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 110 grams (about 1 cup) beef or vegetarian suet, shredded
  • 110 grams (scant 2/3 cup) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 110 grams (1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 25 grams (1/4 cup) whole almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large eggs

Steps To Prepare:

  • Place the dried fruit, candied peel, apple, and orange and lemon zests and juices into a large mixing bowl. Add the brandy and stir well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to marinate for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
  • Add dried fruit and brandy; cover and let sit
  • Lightly butter a 2 1/2 pint pudding basin.
  • Butter a pudding basin
  • In a very large mixing bowl, stir the flour, mixed spice, and cinnamon together. Add the suet, sugar, breadcrumbs, and almonds, and stir again until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the marinated dried fruits and stir again.
  • Add dry ingredients to a bowl and add dried fruit mixture
  • In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then stir quickly into the dry ingredients. The mixture should have a fairly soft consistency.
  • Spoon the mixture into the greased pudding basin, gently pressing the mixture down with the back of a spoon. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, then a layer of aluminum foil. Tie securely with string, wrapping the string around the basin, then loop over the top and then around the bowl again. This will form a handle, which will be useful when removing the pudding from the steamer.
  • Add pudding mixture to pudding basin and cover with foil
  • Set a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water, place the pudding in the steamer, and steam the pudding for 7 hours. Make sure you check the water level frequently, so it never boils dry. The pudding should be a dark brown color when cooked.
  • Steam pudding in saucepan
    Remove the pudding from the steamer and cool completely. Remove the paper, prick the pudding with a skewer in a few places, and pour in a little extra brandy.
  • Remove pudding and let cool
    Cover with fresh greaseproof paper and retie with string.
  • Cover pudding with paper and string
    Store for at least 4 to 5 weeks in a cool, dry place until Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, reheat the pudding by steaming again for about an hour. Enjoy!

Eggnog Cocktail Recipe For The Holidays


Eggnog, the creamy classic cocktail, is an essential part of the winter holidays. The recipe can vary depending on who’s making it, but the basic formula consists of eggs, sugar, milk and cream, plus a spirit. For the latter, most people turn to bourbon, rum or brandy, and some even elect to combine a couple spirits for oomph. Whichever route you choose, the potency of this drink will put a little more cheer in your holidays. That said, it’s believed that the first known use of the word “Eggnog” dates to around 1775, but it’s likely that the drink itself—or a version of it—preceded the term by a couple hundred years.

In Europe, ale was eventually replaced by sherry. By the time the drink reached American shores, colonists replaced sherry with what they had on hand: rum, rye whiskey and brandy. Those early iterations of the cocktail had staying power, and today, Eggnog is still widely consumed throughout the U.S. and even into Canada. It’s especially popular during the holiday season and can be consumed hot or cold, per the drinker’s preference—and perhaps depending on how brisk the weather outside is.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup rum, bourbon or brandy
  • Garnish: grated nutmeg

Steps

  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of the sugar until fluffy.

  2. Stir in the milk, heavy cream and your spirit of choice.

  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar until soft peaks form.

  4. Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.

  5. Divide between four rocks glasses or punch or tea cups.

  6. Garnish each with freshly grated nutmeg.

I Don’t Understand Why Dominos Will Not Deliver When Others Can

Dominos India is the worst! I just do not understand them – they won’t deliver to my place via their app.  I’m 3.6 kms away from one outlet & 4.1 km from another. Note I am less than 5kms away and yet they won’t deliver to this area. Do I love in a village or the edge of the city? No, I live very close to the commercial hub of the city.

Now, we have a few food delivery apps that will collect from any restaurants in the city. But even with Swiggy & Zomato, Dominos will still not deliver. And yet I can get food from other places 10kms away! Only they restrict this stupidly.  As mentioned two outlets are 3.6 km & 4.1km away from me. They have always been very difficult to work with regarding home delivery to my area. I thought atleast since Covid these guys would make it easier to deliver to home but no! There is a KFC next to this Dominos outlet that is 3.6 kms – they will deliver on their own or via Swiggy & Zomato. But will Dominos – NOPE! Too good for us I guess! You have to go there.

The other Dominos outlet is a tad over 4kms away and they won’t either. But I can get pizza from Pizza Hut, Tacos from Taco Bell and other food from Lulu Mall via Zomato & Swiggy – 7.4 kms away. Canosa, a stand alone pizzeria will deliver via Zomato and they are 10 kms away. Most places will since Zomato & Swiggy makes it easier for them to get more customers and for us customers to get variety from far away. But for some reason Dominos is the only one who won’t budge. I messaged them on Twitter and they gave me some stupid answer which did not tell me anything.