Monday, 25 July 2011

End it with Italian Dessert

For those of you who have aversion to desserts that are too sweet for your taste and prefer mild and subtle flavours,  Tiramisu is the perfect dessert which will enrapture your taste-buds.  It has a dark coffee and rum flavour interlaced with the light creaminess of mascarpone cheese and a beautiful dusting of dutch cocoa powder. Can anyone contemplate a world where blanc foamy cream like cheese, a biscuit base soaked in a dark blend of coffee and rum or perhaps a bit of chocolate could ever go wrong?



Tiramisu is more or less a cake of Italian ancestry - a layered dessert, consisting of alternating layers of run & coffee-soaked Savoiardi biscuits and sweet mascarpone cheese. Cocoa powder is sifted on top (and sometimes between layers) as both a garnish and a bitter counterpoint to the sweetened cheese mixture.

Tiramisu is vulnerable to modification and as such you too can tweak the recipe to your taste. Try using chocolate chips because when you bite into a slice of the cake the smooth homogenous journey is interjected by the lovely crunch of the chips with hints of dark bitter-sweet chocolate complimenting the coffee.

You will find all the ingredients required to make a delicious Tiramisu at your nearest Godrej Nature's Basket store from Saviordi biscuits to Italian Mascarpone cheese. So try making this simple yet delicious dessert and give your taste-buds a heavenly retreat!

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes (excluding refrigeration)

Ingredients:

  • 12 Savoiardi biscuits

  • 400 ml Mascarpone Cheese

  • Cocoa powder

  • Dark Chocolate chips and/or chocolate shavings (optional)

  • coffee-rum blend with 3 tsp coffee powder+4 tbsp water+1 tbsp rum (You can alter the coffee or rum quantity to your peference but taste it before doing so or else it will be too bitter)

*You can add about 1 cup of whipped cream if you think it has become too dark or bitter for your taste.

Method:

  1. Combine the rum, coffee powder and water.

  2. Soak the biscuits in the rum and coffee mixture and place them in a single file in an 8″ deep dish or a deep tray/box to cover the entire surface.

  3. Smear enough mascarpone cheese  to cover the layer of biscuits underneath. Sprinkle some chocolate chips or cocoa powder.

  4. Repeat this entire procedure twice or  thrice depending the number of layers you wish to have in your cake. Let the topmost layer be that of the cheese topped with cocoa dusting, choco chips or chocolate shavings.

  5. Refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours before consuming.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Tea Time With Teacup

Nature’s Basket held a Tea Workshop along with “TeaCup” on Friday the 15th, to treat its customers to a fine afternoon of High Tea, where Radhika from Tea Cup demonstrated the health benefits and effects of invigorating tea blends and infusions and shared recipes to make tea an exciting affair in everyday life. Forgo the masala chai for an array of herbal infusions and teas for different times of the day and notice how these blends perk up your energy levels and kept you mentally active and cheerful! For those who missed out on the workshop, here is a peek into some of the tips and recipes that were shared.









Bright and Early Tea Start your day in an invigorating way with:

Longjing Chinese Green Tea:

Longjing tea, from the mountain lakes of Hangzhou in China, is one of the purest and most popular green teas. These Pan fired leaves yield a pale yellow liqueur and a slightly sweet cherry blossom aroma

Yield : 2 servings

  • One teaspoon Longjing tea

  • 2 cups boiling water

Method:

  1. Warm a teapot and teacup with hot water, drain and dry them.

  2. Spoon one tsp green Longjing tea in the teapot, add the boiling water.

  3. Cover with a tea towel or tea cozy and steep for 5 mins.

  4. Stir and strain into the hot cups

Tea Tips:

  • Green teas like the Chinese Longjing and Darjeeling Green aids in weight loss alongside a healthy diet as it aids in a great detox.

  • As these teas are plantation fresh the same leaves can be brewed upto 4 times.

  • Do not add any sugar or milk to gain maximum benefits from the tea leaves.

  • Teacup recommends from the tea racks at Natures Basket: Dilmah’s natural Green Tea and Green Tea infused with Lemon Grass leaves make an excellent breakfast tea option

Oolong Shanghai Style

Many regard Oolong as the ultimate accompaniment to meals with its vibrant oven-fried toasty aroma. The medium fired leaves exude a light toasty sweetness which is both hearty and light.

Yield : 2 servings

  • One teaspoon Oolong Shanghai Style tea

  • 2 cups boiling water

Method:

  1. Warm a teapot and teacup with hot water, drain and dry them.

  2. Spoon One tsp Oolong tea in the teapot, add the boiling water

  3. Cover with a tea towel or tea cozy and steep for 5 minutes

  4. Stir and strain into the hot cups.

Tea Tips:

  • Swirl these with cinnamon sticks or vanilla pods to get a fragrant whiff which eases digestion after a heavy meal.

  • The same leaves can be brewed upto 3 times.

  • Teacup recommends from the tea racks at Natures Basket: Ty-hoo Teas Ginger variant a light brisk black tea with natural ginger flavor which partners any Indian meal

  • Vanilla pods too are easily available across all stores

Buy green tea online from Natures Basket store at best prices!!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Rich Risotto

Rice was introduced to the Italians by the Arabs who dominated Sicily and parts of the Southern mainland in the late Middle Ages, but proved best suited to the vast marshy regions of the Po Valley, where it was enthusiastically adopted by the residents of the Veneto region, Lombardia and Piemonte. The Lombardy and Piedmont regions comprise Italy's rice bowl, two exceptions in wheat eating Europe. Italy is famous for its aromatic, rich and slow cooked risottos.

Risotto is Italian Arborio rice cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-based or vegetable-based. Risotto is normally a primo (first course), served on its own before the main course.

You can pick up all the ingredients required for a perfect Risotto at your nearest Nature's Basket Store-from Arborio Rice, Olive Oil, porcini mushroom, parmesan cheese, white wines to aromatic herbs.

Here is a basic recipe for Risotto:



Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1-1 1/2   handfuls of uncooked risotto per person

  • 2 1/2 cups stock (chicken, fish or vegetable as appropriate)

  • 1  ½ tbsp of butter

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • ½ a head of celery, finely chopped

  • ½ cup of dry white wine

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Method:

  2. Heat the stock. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

  3. The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

  4. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

  5. Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.



Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4

Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 30g OR ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms

  • 1 small onion- finely sliced

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) Arborio rice

  • 1/3 cup dry white wine,-warmed in a pan on the stove

  • 1 cup (50 g)- freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano/Parmesan cheese

  • 2 ½ cups  of broth

  • 1 tbsp parsley, minced

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Steep the porcini in a cup of boiling water for fifteen minutes. Squeeze and transfer to plate. Chop coarsely.

  2. Meanwhile, slice the onion finely and sauté it in either three tablespoons of oil or 1/4 cup of butter. When lightly brown add chopped mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.

  3. Stir rice into the drippings in the pot and sauté for 7-10 minutes, until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly lest it stick and burn.

  4. Return the onion mushroom mix to the pot, stir in the wine, and continue stirring until it has evaporated completely.

  5. Stir in a first ladle of liquid (if you're using plain water, add about 3/4 tsp of salt ) and while it's absorbing, chop the mushrooms and strain the liquid they soaked in, which can contain sand.

  6. Add the mushrooms and then continue adding water or broth a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally.

  7. About five minutes before the rice is done, check seasoning.

  8. As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the butter, half the cheese, and a little bit of ground pepper, transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with parsley, and cover the risotto for two minutes.

  9. Serve with the remaining grated cheese.
 Buy white butter online from Natures Basket store at best prices !!