Culinary Escapades: A Photo-blog

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Venue: Liwan and Shayan Resturants at Al-Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana. Enjoy! 🙂

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Homemade Chocolate Truffles

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Homemade dark chocolate truffles with mint, strawberry and choco-nut ganache.

Malted Chocolate Milk Shake

I’m a self-confessed Chocoholic and what better way to beat the heat than with a cold creamy glass of malted (dark) chocolate milk shake?

Here’s the recipe:

2 scoops chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup milk (chilled)
2-3 ice cubes
1 tbsp dark chocolate (finely chopped)
1 tsp Horlicks (milo, ovaltine or any other malt-based cocoa powder works too)
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 pinch salt
2-3 drops vanilla extract

METHOD: Just mix up all the ingredients and blend using a hand-blender (or a regular one). Garnish with chocolate shavings (I prefer using dark chocolate kit-kat). Serve immediately.

WeldonMoms’ Chocolate Festival 2011

“Hello Everyone! My name’s Yousuf and I am a Chocoholic. I have been sober for three whole days now, give or take a few hours, but the craving keeps getting worse. Thinking straight seems like a chore. Everywhere I look, I see naked chocolate bars waiting to be devoured. The seats in the bus, the ice cubes in my drink, the brown furniture in my room, everything reminds me of chocolate. Time is a healer, or so I’ve heard people say; but in this particular instance, every second I stay away from it is more painful than the last one. Must…….. have……. chocolate……”

I dread seeing myself like this and that’s the reason I stay away from Chocoholics Anonymous or any other cocoa-abolishing movement for that matter. Interestingly though, there are people who actually celebrate their love for chocolate and support chronic chocoholics like me (we never give up now, do we?); the 3rd Annual WeldonMoms Chocolate Festival 2011 is testimony to such communities. In a rare moment of calmness, the otherwise self-proclaimed tornado named Anila Weldon (founder of WeldonMoms) came up with idea to gather like-minded people in one place and celebrate her love for chocolate, along with all the feelings associated with it. The first two productions were such a huge hit that she just had to do it again; only this time, it’s bigger, better and full of fun activities designed around this brown confectionery.

This year’s festival shall showcase some of the most talented chocolate fans from across Karachi. So to truly make this festival a sight for sore eyes, WeldonMoms has teamed up with students from The Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, who’ll be showcasing their passion for the dark side through brilliant works of art including Chocolate Paintings, Chocolate Sculptures, and a Cocoa-Collage; better watch out Picasso!

Apart from being good recreation for the entertainment starved Karachiites, this will be a golden chance for them to Compete in the Chocolate-Challenge™ (yes, it’s trade-marked), with their best cocoa-based creation; Cakes, Desserts, Truffles, Brownies, Mousse, Fondue, Cookies, Muffins, Cup Cakes, Home-made Chocolates are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Since each contest yields prizes for the winners, this one’s no exception.  Celebrity Chefs and Popular Cooking Experts will judge participant entries based on creativity, use of chocolate, presentation and taste, and unleash a hoard of prizes for the winners.

Other attractions at the Festival include special chocolate hand and foot massages, a creative corner for kids to learn the art of making edible crafts (sugar flowers, cup-cake decoration, etc.) and an all-you-can-eat chocolate fountain. If this doesn’t get you drooling, nothing will; it’s one family event you shouldn’t miss for the world!

For further details, please visit the event page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=162204937164065

About WeldonMoms: Targeting the progressive women of Karachi, especially those juggling between career, home-making and motherhood, WeldonMoms® (www.weldonmoms.com) is a support group for mothers, new mothers, and moms-to-be whose aim is to facilitate, empower and support women during the transition to parenthood.

Hope to see you all there!

Cheers,
Yousuf

p.s. Calorie-conscious people and anorexics are strictly not allowed!

Mocha Java Cake

Hello Friends!

Chocolate and coffee are two flavors that blend together very nicely. Both are bitter, dark and have a mysterious aura surrounding them. People say not to have too much of both but hey, who are they to talk? At least we aren’t smoking.

Here’s a great Mocha Java recipe that you can make easily. The real beauty of this recipe is that if you are a fan of either Mocha or Java, you can double the quantities in the respective layer and skip the other (although it’s a bit hard picturing someone who hates chocolate).

Ingredients for Sponge Cake

  • 3 Eggs
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 6 tbsp Castor Sugar
  • 6 tbsp or 3 oz Flour (slightly heaped)
  • 1 tbsp or 3 oz Cocoa Powder (heaped)
  • Coffee Sauce (mix ½ tsp coffee and 1½ tbsp castor sugar in ¼ cup warm water)

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180º C.
  2. Mix eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat until peaks form (light and fluffy).
  3. Add in vanilla essence, flour and cocoa powder, and fold using a rubber spatula.
  4. Pour the mixture in a 9″ inch greased Springform pan and bake for 18 to 22 minutes.
  5. Once baked, cut horizontally about ½ to 1 inch from the base; this will form the base of your cake.
  6. Place the base back in the Springform pan.
  7. Pour the coffee sauce evenly on the sponge base.

Ingredients for Java (coffee) Mousse

  • 1 tbsp Instant Coffee (use ½ tbsp more for a stronger taste)
  • 6-7 tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Gelatin Powder
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 12 oz Whipped Cream (chilled)
  • ⅓ cup Milk

Method

  1. Heat water and dissolve the gelatin till it melts.
  2. Add milk, sugar and coffee to it; keep stirring on a very low flame to form a smooth mixture.
  3. Let this mixture cool at room temperature.
  4. Fold the mixture into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula.
  5. Pour this on top of the sponge base in the Springfoam pan and spread it evenly with a spatula.
  6. Keep in the freezer for 1 hour

Ingredients for Mocha (Chocolate) Mousse

  • 1 tbsp Instant Coffee (OPTIONAL – add only if you enjoy its flavor)
  • 4 oz Dark chocolate (use less for a milder taste)
  • 8 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Gelatin Powder
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 12 oz Whipped Cream (chilled)
  • ½ cup Milk

Method

  1. Heat water and dissolve the gelatin till it melts.
  2. Add milk, sugar, coffee and chocolate to it; keep stirring on a very low flame till the chocolate melts, resulting in a smooth mixture.
  3. Let this mixture cool at room temperature.
  4. Fold the mixture into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula.
  5. Pour this over the Java mousse layer in the pan and spread it evenly with a spatula.
  6. Keep in the freezer for 1 hour

Ingredients for Hot Fudge

  • 2 oz Dark or Semi-sweet Chocolate (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • ½ can Condensed Milk
  • ½ a pinch of Salt
  • 2 to 3 drops Vanilla essence

Method

  1. Put the chocolate and the butter in a glass bowl and heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds
  2. Mix thoroughly and heat in the microwave at 10-second intervals (repeat if required) till it’s nice and smooth – NOTE: chocolate burns very easily so keep it in the microwave for very short intervals, and as soon as you remove from the microwave, mix vigorously with a spoon to stop the heating process
  3. Now add the condensed milk and salt to the mixture and put it in the microwave for 15-second intervals till it’s smooth
  4. Add the vanilla essence and let it cool
  5. Pour on top of the cake and put it in the freezer for another ½ hour before serving

NOTE: The fudge recipe presented at the end is really tempting and can be used as a topping for ice creams and other desserts.

Ghanwlas (A Pakistani version of pancakes with a twist)

My mother has been making these for as long as I can remember and they are absolutely amazing. This flour-egg-based concoction is ideal to satisfy your sweet-tooth during Ramadan, especially at the time of breaking your fast. This family secret that has been passed on from generation to generation is now being presented for your eating pleasure by yours truly.

Ingredients

For Batter:

  • 1 liter Milk
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 6 tbsp Flour
  • 3 tbsp Condensed milk
  • ¼ tsp Rose Essence (you can use vanilla or any other flavor instead)
  • Few drops Yellow food color
  • Few strands of Saffron
  • Oil or Ghee (Vegetable shortening) for cooking

For Filling (optional):

  • Fruit Jam
  • Chocolate – coarsely chopped
  • Candy – cut in small chunks

Method

Batter

  1. Put milk, sugar, condensed milk and saffron in a pan, and cook on a low flame until the entire mixture reduces to about 75% of the original quantity
  2. While the milk mixture is cooling, beat all eggs with a whisk and gradually add 5 tbsp flour; make sure that the consistency of the eggs remains liquid-like (if you think the consistency is too thin, you can add up to one more tbsp of flour)
  3. Mix in the food color and the rose essence in the egg mixture
  4. Once the milk mixture has cooled down to room temperature, add in the egg mixture with a whisk
  5. You need to keep this mixture in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours so prepare it well in advance

Cooking (see video for details)


  1. Take a non-stick pan and put it on low-medium flame
  2. Once hot, add some oil or ghee and grease the pan
  3. Add 1/3 cup of the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly; if you miss out any spots, add some mixture just to fill up the holes
  4. Add a few drops of oil or ghee around the pan so that the ghanwla can easily be removed
  5. After about 10 seconds or so, start folding the ghanwla with a flat-ended spoon
  6. This step is optional – once you have folded half of the ghanwla, add the filling of your choice (Kitkat and Bounty are personal favourites)
  7. Fold the rest of the ghanwla and dish it out on a platter
  8. Enjoy while hot!

Ciao,
Yousuf