Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge


I am addicted to food programmes. Whenever I switch on telly, invariably I end up watching some food programme. On Christmas day, one of the food channels was showing Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Kitchen for the whole day. Can you believe it one whole day of Nigella’s cooking videos, uninterrupted? Well, it wasn’t uninterrupted for me, as with my little-one in my arms, I hardly get time to do anything else. But I am a big fan of Nigella hence couldn’t let go of the urge to watch the show. Obviously I didn’t manage to watch the whole day but I did catch-up some bits and pieces of it. That inspired me to make these Chocolate Pistachio Fudges. Although I must admit I had two other reasons to make these, one I was going to a pre-Christmas party and wanted to take some homemade edible gift for the host and two, I will be publishing regularly at www.thisisbristol.co.uk from now on on their Lifestyle section. I wanted something that’s festive and Christmassy for my first contribution to the website. I made my own little tweaks in the recipe. So here is my version and the original can be found in the BBC website .



400 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

1 can of evaporated milk (about 410 gms)

30 gm butter

100 gm unsalted pistachios

Coco powder for dusting (My touch and completely optional)



Take a heavy bottomed pan and place it over low heat. Place all the ingredients but the pistachio nuts in the pan and stir until melted and well combined. In a freezer bag place the nuts and bash them with a rolling pin to get smaller pieces of them. Now mix the nuts with the melted chocolate and stir well. Take a rectangular / square tray and line it with aluminium foil. Pour the mixture in the tray and make sure the mixture spreads evenly. Cover and let it cool and set in the fridge. Take it out of the freeze after 4-5 hours but I left it over night. Cut the chocolate fudge into small pieces. You can store them in the freezer and can eat then straight away. My version some how turned out to be little softer than I saw in the video hence I coated them in cocoa powder. it had two advantages, one it looked like truffles and two it helped holding them while eating.


I packed them in a home made gift box and took it to the party that evening. It was a hit. People simply loved it. Thanks a ton Nigella for this beautiful, delicious, easy to make recipe. Oh! I almost forgot..these are very rich delights, so a small piece is enough for most people, unless you are a chocoholic like .. ME! I guess. Enjoy! Sending this to Mission Cupcake’s forever Nigella contest.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas coming soon – Happy Days


Its that time of the year again - cold weather, festive lights, snow, family, friends, gifts and lots of gorgeous looking delicious food. We are only couple of weeks away from Christmas but the festive celebrations have already begun. Most streets and houses have lit up with festive lights and Christmas trees. No need to mention that Christmas shopping is also going on at a frenzied pace.



I love festivals not only because they are a lot of fun but also because they create moments that I can fondly remember and relive many times during the year. They provide the warmth which is much needed when I am in real need of some family comfort. So I try to make these family get together moments as memorable as possible and one way to do that is by following an old saying that the way to reach someone's heart is through their stomach. 


This year I have started to stock up for the holidays already and I have twice more reasons to celebrate. One, this will be my son’s first Christmas and two, my mum will be with me for this Christmas and the New year.


I always go to Sainsburys to do my shopping and for my this year’s Christmas food shopping I have already bought a lot of things. Many of which are already over but that just gives me another reason to go back to the store and buy more. I bought a lot of things and I love them all but the things I loved the most are from the Taste the Difference range, namely the festive cheese selection, mince pies, the Christmas pudding and the delectable range of wines that goes well with all of them.



Let me start with the Brandy-rich Mince Pies and Mini Tart Selection. The minced pies are just what it says on the box ‘Melt in the mouth’. As you bite into one of these delights, the first thing that reaches your taste buds are the sweet, smooth, rich, all butter pastry and then comes the punch of the brandy. The mince meat is so dense, rich and sweet that you definitely need a shot of espresso to go with. On the other hand the tarts are have a more subtle sweetness, yet have similar buttery base and topped with almonds or macadamias and are infused with either port or brandy.


The last but the all important pudding was the cognac laced matured Christmas pudding which is filled with almonds, pecans, walnuts, cherries, raisins with a blend of sherry, port and cider and then matured with cognac. Tastes divine with a dash with double cream. The wine I thought went well with the tarts and the Christmas pudding is the Sainsbury’s French Muscat wine. Absolutely brilliant dessert wine that’s an absolute bargain. Sweet with a note of apricot. Only thing the bottle is quite small, got over in one round of serving between four of us. I will have to buy at least couple more bottle of this one for my next dinner party.



For the Cheese platter we got the festive cheese selection by Sainsburys which is not from the Taste the difference range but are no less in depth of favour or sophistication. The selection has got four types of cheese Applewood smoke flavoured Cheddar, Double Gloucester Onion and Chives, Wensleydale and Cranberry and my favourite of the selection White Stilton with Apricot. Totally worth it.



Coming to the wine, I found Sainsburys Taste the Differemce Rosso Toscano 2009 or Tuscan Red to you and me as a good choice. It is a smooth Sangiovese red with distinct flavours of mulberry, black cherries and undertones of spices which goes ever so well with Indian and South East Asian dishes designed for Christmas. Another good one is the Taste the Primitivo del Salento 2010 coming from the Puglia region in Italy, made with Primitivo grapes. It has velvety soft tannins with fragrant berry flavours and an undertone of spicy oak. The wine goes down well with red meats and will be a delightful companion for that roast ham during Christmas day.



Happy holidays everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hot Chilli Pasta–Easy Meals


Hello everyone!

Coming back to blogging after a long time. I was so busy during last couple of months that blogging had taken a back seat in my to-do list. I am not free yet and not sure I will ever going to be but I hope to get a little bit of time for blogging in future and be more regular here. For those of who don't know, we have been blessed with a baby boy last month. Since then he is been and will remain the centre of our world for the years to come. It’s an amazing experience. I hardly get time now a days because of obvious reasons. 


This is something I made when I used to be alone and didn't want to spend a lot of time in kitchen for a decent looking plate of food. Now I am making it because I have very limited time. either way this works for me all the time.



Handful of pasta I choose Spaghetti but you can have any thing you like

Enough boiling water to cook the pasta


4 tbsp Oilive oil (or more if you like)

2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 whole fresh chilli finely chopped (preferably red)

1-2 tsp of dried flaked red chilli

Handful of freshly chopped parsley

2 tbsp lightly toasted pine nuts

1 tbsp of lime juice

Handful of grated cheese (optional)



Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per the instruction on the packet. Once the pasta is cooked drain the cooking water and set the cooked pasta aside. While the pasta was getting cooked, in a separate pan dry roast the pine nuts and keep it separately. Heat the olive oil in the same pan and add the dried flaked red chilli in to it. Fry for a minute or less and then add the fresh chilli and garlic in to the chilli flavoured oil and cook for a minute. Add salt, lime juice and the chopped parsley to the pan and mix well. Now add the cooked pasta in to the pan and mix the whole thing together. Serve hot with some cheese on top and your choice of wine or any other drink you prefer.