Yelly Eats

Carrot cake!

I found something wonderful in the supermarket!  Shredded carrots!  And when there are shredded carrots available, a carrot cake will be baked!  Anything to save my hands from doing the grunt work!

The recipe needs perfecting and I may have to work on adjusting the measurements as this makes a VERY big cake.  But the cake has turned out pretty well!  I’m bringing this to work tomorrow to share it with my coworkers so I can get feedback!

 

 

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Yelly Eats

Pistachio, coconut and cardamom burfis

We’re having a curry lunch at work tomorrow and we’ve been asked by the work colleague hosting the curry lunch to bring anything that we think will go with curry.   I’ve decided to bring roti bread (shop bought as I haven’t learned how to make them yet!) and pistachio, coconut and cardamom burfis.

I’ve always liked Indian food, but I must say that I’ve never really had proper Indian food until I moved to the UK.  One of the consultants who used to work for the government corporation I used to work for in the Philippines used to bring us Indian-inspired dishes and she introduced me to roti bread which I am now in love with!

Anyway, apart from the adorable roti bread,  I’m bringing pistachio annd coconut burfis to work tomorrow.  A burfi (or barfi or burfee, or borfee) is a sweet confectionery from India.  It is usually made with condensed milk cooked with sugar until it solidifies.  I saw this version being made about 5 or 6 years ago on a food-related channel on the Discovery Travel and Adventure channel.  It wasn’t until about 4 years ago, when I moved to England, funnily enough, that I had the opportunity to try making this recipe.  On the programme I was watching, it looked easy to make, and it was—very, VERY easy to make.  Most burfis ask for the condensed milk to be cooked in sugar until they harden, but as I am diabetic (and very lazy), I thought I’d try it without the long cooking process and the added sugar.  The condensed milk is sweet enough!

Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams dessicated coconut
  • 200 grams shelled pistachio ones (avoid the salted pistachios)
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 350ml sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. In a small food processor, roughly chop the pistachios until they resemble small shards.  The chopped pistachios don’t have to be too processed because you do want to be able to bite into the occasional chunky piece of pistachio.
  2. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and, using a mortar and pestle, grind the seeds into a fine powder.  I find this particular part of the preparation very therapeutic!
  3. In a large bowl, combine the 200 grams of the dessicated coconut (reserve 50 grams to roll the burfis in later), the chopped pistachios, the ground cardamom seeds and the condensed milk.  Mix until everything is well combined.
  4. With lightly oiled hands (because the condensed milk is very sticky!), scoop enough of the pistachio-condensed milk-coconut mixture to make a ball that’s about 1inch in diameter.  Once the balls are formed, roll them in the dessicated coconut you reserved.  Place on a plate or box to store.


The burfis can be eaten as soon as they are made but it’s much nicer if you refrigerate them for at least 2 hours before you serve.  These keep in the fridge for about a week.  Although, I very much doubt that they’ll last that long as they’re very moreish (moreish, or more-ish, is a word I learnedafter moving to England.  It means causing one to want more–usually food!)!

Yelly Eats

Gelato fix

Mother Nature has blown hot and cold fairly regularly in the past few weeks.  Last Saturday was the hottest day ever in England.  I was in London on that day and boy, did I feel the heat!  I’m Filipino so I should be fairly used to hot weather.  But even I was struggling in the muggy heat.  I was cursing the decision to wear jeans.  I should’ve work something lighter.  Even the dreaded leggings would have saved my poor legs and allowed for better air circulation!

Yesterday, as we journeyed to London, the sky was painted a slate grey.  Rain clouds were racing across the east Anglian sky and I was hoping against hope that I could get through my London trip without getting drenched!  That of course was a pipe dream.  As we dodged the raindrops throughout the day, by the time we got to Soho, it was quite evident that we had to take shelter.  We were trapped on Berwick Street!

When the rain finally let up (very temporarily), we thought it would be best to take shelter in the nearby Gelupo on Archer Street.  Gelupo is this lovely little gelateria in Soho.  They have lovely flavours and a lovely bright, crisp and clean interior that always seems to invite you in, whatever the weather.  I heard about Gelupo  from Helen, who is a food blogger that I follow on Twitter.  Based on her recommendation, I went to London and looked for Archer Street.  It’s that street that is behind the Gielgud Theatre in Soho on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Gelupo is primarily a gelateria and serves the most wonderful flavours!  But as you walk through the shop past the gelato counter with its lovely gelato and Italian pastries, past the freezers holding lovely gelato-based treats and frozen Italian pantry essentials (you will, on occassion, find a frozen baby octopus!), towards the back of the shop there is a lovely deli section that is filled with wonderful Italian treats, from arborio rice to bottles of extra virgin olive oil!

If you’re in London, going to Gelupo for a gelato fix is a must.  The staff are lovely and ever so friendly and they very generously let you taste the ice cream before you make your choice.  You also get a wafer with your gelato with the Gelupo logo on it that is too cute!  My absolute favourites are the bonet for its rich chocolatey rumness, sour cherry and ricotta with its lovely balance of creamy and tart, stawberry yumminess and, of course, hazelnut which is like having Nutella in ice cream form.

I had the stawberry and peanut butter gelato this time and it was sooooooo good!  It was like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich flavoured ice cream treat!  Going to Gelupo is a treat each and every time and definitely recommend going there, whether the weather is gelato weather or not!  Any excuse for a Gelupo gelato fix is a brilliant excuse!

Yelly Writes

That Friday Feeling

I am at my desk and am staring at that little clock on my computer screen’s system tray area and I’m thinking, “There are only 15 minutes left to my lunch break!  Oh no!

I am experiencing my afternoon dip early.  My afternoon dip is me not really wanting to go back and do something work related.  Quite possibly because it is a Friday today.  There is certainly a lack of motivation in the air around me.  I am exhausted mentally and physically.  I feel very blecchy because I probably ate a dodgy tuna mayo sandwich yesterday from the sandwich van that comes around to the office.  I’ve always said buying food off the sandwich van was a dangerous exercise, but then again, I never listen to myself.  So now, I along with my stomach, am paying for it.

This is an especially special Friday because it is a bank holiday on Monday.  This means I’ll have a 3-day weekend and it means I can most certainly find time to bake!  I’m looking forward to being able to bake food for the gods during the longish break.  I haven’t had them in quite a while!

What do you do when you get an energy dip at work?  How do you cope?  I’d love the tips because frankly, today, I am not in the mindset to get out of this Friday funk.  I need a long holiday where I don’t do anything but not do anything!

Yelly Eats

Chicken Licken

I love chicken.  I love it fried, braised, barbecued, stewed, roasted.  Chances are as long as it’s chicken, I will eat it and I will love it.  I could probably eat chicken all year without complaining.  You could probably say I am slightly pollo loco!

I’m lucky that most of the fast food restaurants in the Philippines serve chicken.  While it may sound weird to some people, chicken is almost always served with rice and some sort of gravy or sauce.  But most places that serve fried chicken will almost always have mashed potato and gravy on the menu as a side.  It probably seems very American but there you go.  Fried chicken and mashed potato in gravy is, in my opinion, a match made in fried chicken heaven!

When I lived in Atlanta for a while, my love for Southern fried chicken grew.  Chicken in the South was so much better than KFC (and don’t get me wrong, KFC in the South seems to be even better than the usual, but that may just be me!) and the mashed potato was even more amazing than the mashed potato that you got in those little styrofoam tubs that you got from fast food restaurants.  I was in chicken heaven.  Every single element of southern fried chicken made me smile: from the crispy fried chicken batter to the juicy chicken pieces!  To borrow KFC’s slogan, PROPER southern fried chicken was of the finger-lickin’ good variety.

I moved to England nearly 4 years ago and I think I spent nearly that much time looking for great fried chicken.  Don’t get me wrong, the various southern fried chicken take away places do have their merits, particularly the ones near us.  They’re okay, not amazing, but okay if I needed a fried chicken fix.  But obviously, it was chicken and chips (I used to call them fries) and not chicken and mash…and I almost always had to make my own gravy.  No one seemed to think that mashed potato and gravy was a good flavour combination.  I even went to my old standby KFC, expecting to see the same things on the menu but boy, was I disappointed!  There was no mashed potato and there was no gravy and the chicken wasn’t as good as I thought it was.  And so began my quest for the perfect southern fried chicken.

I’ve bought chicken from lots of places, from different supermarkets, had meals in a lot of restaurants but I’ve never really found the kind of chicken that I really enjoyed: crispy, flavourful batter, slightly salty and juicy chicken.  Until that fateful day in July.  Alan had read about Roost who served chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.  And not just any chicken, it was chicken marinated in buttermilk, battered and fried!  It was proper southern fried chicken, the way southern fried chicken is supposed to be made!  Or at least that’s what it said it was.  After looking for nearly 4 years, I think you wouldn’t blame me for being slight skeptical.

We made our way to the Dalston location Friday after work where that week’s Street Feast London was happening and ordered a serving: 2 pieces of buttermilk chicken with gravy and mash.  I was prepared to be disappointed.  But as I stabbed my fork into that crispy batter, the crackle that I heard calmed my doubtful heart.  Batter that sounded like that had to be some sort of good!  And bite of juicy chicken with a little bit of batter made me smile.  It was SO good!  The next bite had to be a fork-full of chicken, batter, mashed potato and gravy had me closing my eyes in absolute enjoyment.  I’m salivating while thinking back to that first mouthful of chicken-mash-gravy.  The chicken was perfect and the mash was creamy-buttery.  I made the decision to share a 2-piece chicken meal with Alan (yes, I have been known to demolish a 2-piece chicken meal with gravy and rice in the Philippines!) because we were at Street Feast LDN and there were other food places to try (and, if I’m honest, because I had prepared for disappointment, I didn’t want to have too much of the chicken left over if I didn’t like it!  I am, apparently, a fussy eater!).  But as we walked away from that parking lot in Dalston, I was thinking about the chicken.  I wanted to turn around and order another chicken with gravy and mash to take back with me!  It was THAT good!

We had our next taste of chicken when Eat Street was at Exhibition Road 2 weeks later (a little thing called the Olympics had descended on London).  This time we each had a 2-piece meal, absolutely no sharing!  And I’m very glad to report that the chicken and gravy and mash were as perfect as I remember.

If you’re ever in London and in a street food market, and you spy the Roost truck, run, don’t walk, to it and ask for a 2-piece chicken meal with gravy and mash as a side.  You won’t regret it!  To find out where Roost are, follow them on Twitter.  They are @weareroost.

I cannot wait until the next Roost fix!

Yelly Eats

Testing 1-2-3

I’ve been working on a muffin base recipe.  I’m almost there I think, because the series of banana muffins that I’ve been baking seems to turn out the same way each time now and they all look the same.  The next step is to try another fruit and then ask my friends to try the recipe to see if it works for them in the same way!

After I perfect the muffin recipe, I’m going to work on a cupcake base recipe next!

Yelly Eats

Luxurious oatmeal cookies

I love oatmeal cookies.  I remember late nights with warm cookies and a large glass of milk. Oatmeal cookies are comforting and they remind me of home.  There’s something about the smell of cinnamon wafting from the oven that just brings out the happy hormones.

This recipe is slightly more luxurious because of the amount of butter that is used in the recipe.  But it is definitely worth it.  The cookies are yummy and chewy.  I try to justify it by saying it is oatmeal, and oatmeal IS healthy and good for you!

Oatmeal CookiesIngredients:

  • 270g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 160g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 380g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 200g quick cooking oats
  • 225g raisins

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F).
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, oats, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together with a balloon whisk until well-combined.  Set aside.
  3. In another mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together (I use a rubber spatula but you can always use a handheld mixer) until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and making sure that you scrape the sides of the bowl so that you mix all the ingredients well.
  4. Add the flour-oats mixture to the butter mixture in thirds, mixing well eat time.  Stir in the raisings until evenly distributed.
  5. To make relatively uniform sized cookies, I use a 18/8 gauge ice cream scooper.  If you use the scooper, this makes about 42 cookies.  Arrange the cookie batter scoops on a tray, evenly spaced.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, make sure that you check the cookies at the 10 minute mark to make sure they aren’t burning.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on trays before turning out on wire cooling racks to cool completely.