CINNAMON FRENCH TOAST BITES




Weekend breakfasts are always special.......since the kids are home and they all want to help in the kitchen..... Today's recipe is a simple french toast with a twist. 

I love anything with cinnamon in it. But the kids hate cinnamon........so if your kids are anything like mine you might want to skip the cinnamon. 

You don't wanna skip the maple syrup................I'm salivating as I type........dunking the French toast in maple syrup and popping it into your mouth is the highlight. C'mon guys.............. Don't judge me .................its the weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!






INGREDIENTS:
eggs - 2
milk - 3/4 cup
vanilla essence - 1/4 tsp
white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes  - 3/4 loaf
cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp(optional)
sugar - 1/4 cup
salt - a pinch
butter - to grease
maple syrup to dip

PROCESS;
  • In a wide shallow bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon and keep aside.
  • In another bowl whisk together the eggs,milk and vanilla essence and salt
  • Keep your bread cubes ready 
  • In a non stick skillet on low flame, heat a blob of butter,  quickly dip each bread cube separately in the egg mixture and place them on the skillet. Make sure to only dip. Don't soak.
  • Keep turning the cubes around so it browns evenly on all sides.
  • After its done, drop them straight into the sugar mixture. Toss them in the sugar mixture till all sides are coated in the sugar.
  • Repeat with the next batch, remembering to grease the pan with butter each time.
  • Serve with maple syrup ............(DUNK) ;)

NOTES:
  • Don't soak the bread cubes in the egg/milk mixture . It will end up uncooked in the middle. So quickly dip and place on the buttered skillet.
  • Using slightly stale bread will help as they dont 'soak' up the milk.

Linking this post to the Kid’s Delight Event – Bite Sized Food, event conceptualized by Valli, hosted by Rafeeda.”

MATTAR KEEMA / MINCED LAMB AND GREEN PEAS





Hello readers! Its Friyay!!!!!!:) I prefer the weekdays........but Im happy for the family!So...................... picked up the girls from school.................lunch .....................play and just got back home! Quality time with my girls after school on fridays is always something I look forward to!!!!

Weekends are usually hectic for me, rushing to classes and ...........( something or the other always popS up....)

Todays recipe is a simple and delicious minced lamb masala which goes well with most rotis. Its a very Indian dish.....which uses all the spices. Don't be fooled by the length of the ingredient list.....they are mostly kitchen essentials. I also tried using the same dish(drier version) in a filo pastry sheet...............like a samosa! it was so beautiful! InshAllah will post that up soon.............hopefully before ramadhan starts ............which is hardly a month away! :)

This recipe is slightly spicy......if you can't take the spice just go easy on the green chillies.




INGREDIENTS:
minced lamb - 1/2 kg
cinnamon - 1 small stick
cloves - 3
cardamoms -  2
onions, chopped - 2 small ones
tomato, chopped - 1
green peas - 1 cup
green chilies, slit - 4
ginger garlic paste - 4 tsps
chili powder - 1 tsp
cumin powder - 1.5 tsps
coriander powder - 2.5 tsps
garam masala - 1.5 tsps
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
black pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
fresh mint leaves, chopped - a handful
salt


PROCESS:
  • In a pressure cooker, heat some oil and add the cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves.
  • Add the onions and green chillies. Saute till the onions turn golden 
  • Add in the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the minced lamb and saute in the oil for about 2-3 mins. Add salt
  • Add the garam masala, chili powder, pepper powder, cumin, turmeric and coriander powder.
  • Add the tomatoes. saute for about 2-3 mins. Add the mint leaves.
  • Add enough water for the lamb to cook and close the pressure cook and cook for about 8 whistles. 
  • Be careful when you open the pressure cooker. Ensure the steam has been completely let out, before removing the whistle.(you can do so by cooling the pressure cooker with the whistle on under running water)
  • After you open the pressure cooker, add the green peas and simmer for a further 15 minutes till the peas are cooked. 
  • check for salt and adjust the consistency and you're done.




BAKLAVA



BAKLAVA.................is a middle eastern sweet pastry filled with nuts. It is made using layers of phyllo pastry sheets and holds together with a sugar syrup!!

I sat googling one morning as usual (deciding what to whip up) when I came across these beauties.........................These are difficult I thought..............................but I love challenges when it comes to the kitchen. Borrowed a beautiful middle eastern recipe book from my beautiful friend miss D. Looked up at loads of recipes online too. After a complete research and watching loads of videos of the entire
baklava making process, I felt more confident to go about making these decadent dessert bars!


My first batch of sugar syrup was a disaster!....................................I cooked it for too long. It became way tooo thick and brown.................................. so set about making another batch........................................perfect! The aroma of rose..................mmmmm............................delicious!!!!!

The nut filling was so lovely! Im a big fan of pistachios and cashewnuts.....but you can choose walnuts or almonds too!



The layering wasn't as hard as I thought. Its the first time Im handling phyllo pastry sheets..... They were perfectly defrosted and so easy to use. It was just time consuming though....but was faster once I got the hang of it.......

You should have seen my excitement when I heard the sizzling sound when I poured the sugar syrup over the piping hot baklavas! :D

Couldn't wait for the baklavas to cool down to pop it into my mouth......... first bite.........went to heaven!! Completely worth the hard work.............it was perfect in every way.........................with just the right amount of sweetness!............
Will I go through the whole process and make it again??????????????/OHHHHHHHH YES I WILL!!! :)




INGREDIENTS:
Phyllo/ fillo pastry sheets - 30 (18 sheets for the base and 12 sheets above)
unsalted butter - 3/4 cup

for the sugar syrup:
sugar - 1.5 cups
water - 3/4 cup
lime juice - 1 tsp
rose water - 2 tsps

for the nut filling:
pistachios, coarsely pulsed - 370 grams (I used 250 grams of pistachios and the rest cashew nuts)(reserve 2tbsps finely ground for garnishing which is optional. )
sugar syrup - 4 tbsps
rose water - 1 tbsp


PROCESS:

  • Defrost your phyllo/ fillo pastry in the refrigerator the night before.
  • Melt the butter and keep ready.
  • First prepare the sugar syrup. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Then simmer on low heat ,stirring continuously till the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Once the sugar dissolves completely add the lime juice and rosewater and continue  to simmer for about 10 minutes (still stirring) till the consistency becomes syrupy and it coats the back of a spoon. Once its done. set aside and let it cool. Once it has cooled down you can place it in the fridge.( you can even make sugar syrup a a day earlier.)
  • Coarsely pulse the nuts in your food processor. Mix in the rosewater and the sugar syrup. Keep aside.
  • Remove the phyllo pastry from the box lay it out neatly. cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying out while you're working. (At this point, since the sheets were neatly stacked, I measured 9 by 13 inches and cut the sheets together to fit the baking tray,so that it will be easier for me to layer it.0
  • Preheat the oven and line a 9 by 13 inch baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Brush the top of the parchment paper with the butter. Then place your first sheet of pastry on top. Ease the phyllo sheet carefully and neatly into the corners of the tray and flatten it out. (USE BUTTER SPARINGLY FOR THE FIRST 18 LAYERS or else the base of the baklava base will become soggy)
  • Brush the top of the sheet again with butter and place another phyllo sheet on top. Repeat the buttering and layering of the pastry sheets till 18 sheets. Brush again with butter and spoon in the nut filling evenly on top of the 18th sheet. 
  • Continue layering and buttering each sheet till the top 12 sheets are done. Butter the last top as well.
  • Use a wet knife and cut the baklava as seen in the pictures.
  • Place in the oven and bake at 160 degrees for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or till the tops of the baklava are golden in colour.
  • As soon as you take the baklava out of the oven, pour the sugar syrup evenly over the baklava. It will make a lovely sizzling sound :)
  • Let it rest in the warm oven for 2 minutes for the baklava to soak up all the goodness.
  • enjoy the baklava with some mint tea... the Moroccan style!!!!!!!

notes:
  • Dont overcook the sugar syrup. Must be syrupy. when it coats the back of the spoon you have got the consistency right. stop right there!
  • make sure you cut the baklava right upto the last layer before shoving it into the oven.

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