Monday, November 28, 2005

Torte for procrastinators

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I had a great day with friends and this was my contribution to the turkey meal. I wanted to make the torte the day before thanksgiving but was too busy with work and laziness prevented me from cooking. So we woke up early in the day and made the crust. Did the filling while the crust was cooling. Took it over to friends and I held this beauty in my lap all through the drive as this was the outcome of hard work and lost sleep.
This was served after a sumptous lunch and was very well received.
This recipe is almost hard to mess up and the results are always good.
The original recipe is at

To make the crust

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Toast 1/2 cup walnuts( The original recipe says pecans or walnuts)
In a food processor, use the pulse button and grind the walnuts fine.
Add 1/2 cup sugar and 11/2 cup all purpose flour.
Blend this well and add the butter(3/4 cup cold butter, cut up into small pieces.

Spread the mixture into a spring form pan, and push up the mixture one inch up the sides of the pan. Bake until golden (original recipe said 30 to 40 min. but it took almost 45-50 min. Keep checking to see if the crust has the desired color.)
Remove from oven and cool.

To make the filling
Beat together using a hand held mixer, 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature with 1/2 cup sugar.
With the mixer running, add small amounts of the whipping cream ( 1 cup)in a steady small stream into the cheese mixture. The recipe recommends not to add the whipping cream too fast, or the mixture will be too runny. Finally add 11/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. I think adding the vanilla gives it a real nice kick. ( The original recipe doesn't suggest this.)
When well blended, spread the cream mixture evenly into the baked, cooled crust.Cover the top with a plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator to be chilled.


Cut strawberries into halves and arrange it on the top of the filling and place mint leaves in between strawberries.
Just before serving, remove the spring form pan rim.
Riesling makes a good wine accompaniment to this dish.
This dessert will be perfect for Christmas as it has green, red and white colors.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Biriyani....this one rocked my world!

OK.. is it biryani or biriyani? I dont know the right way to spell it..and I dont long as it tastes good. And the one I made this time was so good that I have decided to add it to the blog. It was the first time I ever made mutton biryani, and my friend for whom I made it liked it so much that she reminds me everyday to post it..and so here it is.
This is how this saga began...My old classmate is visiting me and there is nothing fancy to eat in the house. I pull out a packet of what I think is shrimp and I find out that it is not shrimp but a bag of australian mutton. OK...hmm...we have to call our friend in Manchester anyway and her husband is a professional chef and so we asked him how to make mutton biryani...(biryani is a meal in itself and doesnot need 10 other sidedishes to make it fancy and that is what makes it so appealing to me..)

So the phone conversation went something like this..

"Hi there..(tons of gosssip) you think S could give us the biryani recipe?"

"Can it wait? He is busy..he says he will send the recipe later"...

"Not really....we need it now"!

"Uh...Hmmm...OK.".So he speaks in the middle of his work and she repeats it to us and quick notes are scribbled.. was basically a technique that was conveyed to us and not exact measurements, but hey, I have made biryani before and I kind of felt confident.We felt so confident that we were taking pictures during the cooking which I usually never do...Okay..long story was a masterpiece! So divine! I cant seem to get it off my mind...I am hoping that he emails me the recipe so that I can post it here...It almost tasted like it was made by a professional. Made me look real good in the eyes of my friend, heh?

So u want a peek at it..