Award-winning recipe author presents easy-to-cook meals to turn a bad day good | brunch$feature | Hindustan Times
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Award-winning recipe author presents easy-to-cook meals to turn a bad day good

Brunch got Maria Goretti cook up easy DIY recipes to reiterate the obvious: when all else fails... food solves the problem!

brunch Updated: Sep 02, 2017 22:18 IST
Shikha Kumar
Maria Goretti’s book, From My Kitchen to Yours, recently won the ‘Best Television Chef Book in English’ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2017.
Maria Goretti’s book, From My Kitchen to Yours, recently won the ‘Best Television Chef Book in English’ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2017.(Amit Ashar)

Let’s start with a simple exercise. Think back to the most annoying day you’ve had to suffer through recently and then try to remember what made it better. We bet you a free dessert to say that the solution involved food in some way or the other. Whether it was just-the-right-level-of-hot soup to recover from a tiring cold, an indulgent red velvet slice at the end of a rough work day or just a no-occasion pizza to get through a bumpy Wednesday – basically, whatever be the problem, food somehow became the answer and a great one at that.

There are no rules for picking comfort food – rajma chawal from mom’s kitchen is just as valuable as khao suey from your neighbourhood delivery outlet. And there is no community as welcoming and encompassing as the foodie community. You don’t have to be a masterchef to feel better; you could do that by simply binge watching the latest season of the show, while finishing a bowl of instant noodles.

This Sunday, leave the negativity out of the kitchen and let food cure all your problems (Amit Ashar)

The Internet is filled with researches on how food affects your physical and emotional well-being too, a fact that you’ve probably come to understand and accept already. And who says you need to be unhealthy about this. There’s nothing like a bowl of juicy fruits on a hot summer day, and there is no better time than now to experience that.

A good breakfast starts your day on the right note, a healthy lunch helps you power through the lull of the afternoon, a cold coffee at six refreshes you for the evening ahead and a good dinner tucks you in, better than anyone else could.

This food wisdom has been passed down generations, from ancient scriptures to books to movies and now, hashtags. (Just type #food on any social media platform and you’ll see what we mean.)

Keeping up with the foodie spirit, we got celebrity chef Maria Goretti to cook up a storm and the results are these

DIY dishes. So, this Sunday, leave the negativity out of the kitchen and let food cure all your problems. Starting with Maria Goretti’s special recipes...

1. Chocolate-oozing muffins to fix a bad mood

Melted chocolate oozes out with every scoop of these muffins. (Amit Ashar)

“This one’s a no-brainer. I started baking with this dish because I love chocolate. It is a very easy recipe and it’s always nice to have your kitchen wafting with the aroma of a chocolate cake in the oven.

Melted chocolate oozes out with every scoop of these muffins leading to an almost blissful moment,” gushes Maria.

Ingredients

-Cooking chocolate - 200g

-Butter - 200g

-Eggs - 3

-Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup

-Flour - 1/3 cup

-Cream cheese - 2 tbsp

Method

Preheat the oven to 250°C, 30 minutes before you start baking.

Melt the cooking chocolate in a small vessel over a pan of boiling water and keep aside to cool. When it’s cool enough, add melted butter and stir till well blended.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar till it turns white.

Then add the chocolate-butter mix; add the flour.

Add the cream cheese.

Divide this mix into 7 small foil containers and bake in the oven for 8 minutes at 250°C.

Serve immediately.

2. Ragi pancakes with mushrooms for a diabetic family member

This dish can be served when you’re having a party at home as it looks quite glamorous. (Amit Ashar)

“I know, what you’re going to say, who on earth wants to eat ragi? Well, I do! This is an easy-to-make nutritious snack. It has high fibre and the mushrooms contain enzymes that help any diabetic person feel fuller. In fact, you can also serve this when you’re having a party at home as the dish looks quite glamorous.”

For the pancakes

Ingredients

Ragi - 1/2 cup

Baking soda - 1/4 tsp

Baking powder - 1/4 tsp

Egg - 1

Yoghurt - 1/2 cup

Salt - to taste

Pepper - to taste

Method

Mix all the dry ingredients together and leave it aside for 20 minutes.

Mix the egg with the yoghurt and add to the dry mix.

Season with salt and pepper.

Spray a non-stick heated pan with vegetable oil.

Spoon out a tablespoon of the batter on to it and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes each or till done.

For the mushrooms

Ingredients

Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp

Garlic - 5-6 cloves, finely chopped Mushrooms - 100g, sliced

Chilli flakes - 1/4 tsp

Mustard - 1 tsp

Yoghurt - 1 tbsp

Method

In a heated non-stick pan, add the vegetable oil.

When the oil heats up a little, add garlic and then after some time, add the sliced mushrooms.

After the mushrooms are cooked and the water released dries up a bit, add the chilli flakes and the mustard. Give it all a good stir.

Take it off the fire and then add the yoghurt.

Spoon it on to the ragi pancakes and serve.

3. Mini lamb burgers to calm a cranky child

Delicious lamb burgers can really perk up your weekends. (Amit Ashar)

“I tasted a burger for the first time at Croissants, where I worked during college. The thing about burgers is, you know you’ve got it right when every bite you take is so juicy that you just can’t stop. My mom used to make these for us when we were kids, in a slightly different way though. This is now a part of our weekend home menu and the kids really enjoy it.”

Ingredients

Lamb - 500g, minced

Onion - 1, finely chopped

Garlic – 6 cloves, chopped

Stale bread slices - 4

Lime – One and a half

Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp

Pepper - 1/2 tsp

Salt - to taste

Egg-1

Breadcrumbs - 200g, to coat the lamb patties

Method

Mix all the ingredients together, except for the breadcrumbs.

Let the mixture rest for about 20 minutes and then shape them into palm-sized flattened disks.

Press them into the breadcrumbs so that they are completely covered.

In a non-stick pan, fry them in a good swirl of vegetable oil for about 20 minutes each or till they are cooked.

Just before you take them off the pan, add some cheese on it, so that it melts.

Encase them in soft buns, with tomatoes, onions and gherkins and serve with ketchup.

4. Strawberry millefeuille for a partner who’s been working too hard

Strawberry millefeuille is a very indulgent dessert. (Amit Ashar)

“I first had millefeuille at a barin Paris, while I was waiting for the Moulin Rouge show to start.I remember biting into it and it was... outstanding. I didn’t attempt it for the longest time because I didn’t want to mess up that taste. It’s a very indulgent dessert and not something you do in a hurry. You make the puff pastry and keep it overnight. Millefeuille is what you give someone who has had a long day. One bite and they will feel totally pampered.”

For the pastry

Ingredients

Flour - 225g

Butter - 85g

Unsalted butter - 85g

Water - 150ml cold water (approx)

Method

Sift the flour into a bowl. Divide the fats into four portions, i.e. two portions of butter and two portions of unsalted butter.

Rub one portion of chilled butter into the flour with your fingertips, so that the flour looks like bread crumbs by the end.

Add the cold water and bring the flour together. If you feel the need, you can add the remaining 30ml to make a soft but not a sticky dough. You may need less water, but never more. Do not overwork the flour, and knead the dough very lightly. Roll out the dough into an oblong shape.

Put a second portion of fat (not the same kind as the first portion rubbed in) in small pieces onto 2/3rd of the dough. Fold in three. Turn the dough halfway to bring the open edge towards you and roll out again into an oblong shape.

Put on a third potion of fat in

pieces, fold dough in three, wrapped in a cloth or polythene bag and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough again, put on remaining fat in pieces, fold and roll as before. If pastry looks streaky, give one more turn and roll again. Refrigerate overnight.

To start the millefeuille, divide the dough into half and roll out half the flaky pastry until it is 2mm thick. Trim and set in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 1800C. Dust the dough with powdered sugar. Place on a baking tray between 2 pieces of greaseproof paper, with another baking tray on top to keep the pastry flat. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Once cool, use a serrated knife to cut into 15 even rectangles.

For the vanilla cream

Ingredients

Caster sugar - 80gms

Eggs - 6 (yolks only)

Milk - 240ml

Cream - 240ml

Vanilla pods - 2

Gelatin - 3 leaves

Method

Whisk the sugar and the egg yolks together until the mixture is light and pale.

Soak the gelatin in chilled water and keep aside.

Bring the milk, cream and vanilla to the boil. Remove from the heat and slowly pour into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking.

Return to the pan and bring the mix up to 850C on a medium heat. Be sure to use a flat-bottomed wooden spoon or spatula, stirring constantly along the base of the pan.

Remove from the heat. Take the soaked gelatin out of the water and add it to the cream-sugar-egg yolk mix. Pass the mix through a fine strainer and set aside to cool in the fridge.

As soon as the cream mix is cool and set, whisk to create a smooth texture and place into a piping bag with a small round nozzle.

For fresh cream and strawberries

Whisk 150ml of whipping cream and place it in a piping bag with a small round nozzle.

Cut 5 strawberries into even pieces.

Final Assembly

Each millefeuille requires 3 baked rectangles of flaky pastry.

To serve, place 1 piece of the millefeuille pastry as the base. Pipe fresh cream on the bottom rectangle. Arrange enough straw- berries to cover the pastry and place another piece of the crispy puff pastry on top.

Pipe the vanilla cream over the pastry as the next layer and place the third and final piece of pastry on top. Dust with powdered sugar and serve fresh.

From HT Brunch, Seotember 3, 2017

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