Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 20, Tuesday December 20, 2005


diary of a food obsessed person

Exams are over, the schools are closed, and the winter holidays are here. It's time to let your hair down, and let the good times begin. How, you ask? Throw a tea party! Nothing is more relaxing or more fun than a good old get-together with your buddies, and languid conversations over steaming cups of tea and crisp munchies. Lifestyle celebrates this trend with a couple of Sam Q's coolest party recipes to get you in the mood.

Dearest diary,
I simply refuse to accept that another year has passed me by, literally, in a flash of lightning.

Can you imagine I “again” have to make a new weight loss resolution. Every year, the same resolution, over and over again. Even God must be bored by my prosaic and mawkish requests. Let me relate a joke to you diary in context to my tirade. There was a man who wanted to win a lottery. So every night he would pray to God, asking for his wish to be granted. So after a couple of weeks of vainly inveighing to God, he gave up. But that night, he heard a voice saying, “at least buy the lottery ticket first, then I will see what I can do.”

I can actually relate to that joke. Only I have to figure out, what's the ticket in my case? Is it my will power? Or is it my actually wanting to lose weight? Or is it some lucky charm tucked away in some corner of the earth? I guess I'm in for a long wait.

Anyway going back to where I started, regarding time… flash of lightening, blink of an eye… whatever… whatever. Every time when I mourn for the time gone by I always think of my very sensible, practical, down-to-earth friend, Seema. Once while lamenting to her about the subject, she said something to me, something that always manages to lift me out of my despondency when I'm feeling like this.

She had said, “Sam, always thank Allah, that time for you passes so quickly, because that means, these times are happy and good times, when things are rough, time really passes slowly. Thanks Seema, your words are so true. Especially applicable when I'm on the treadmill. And yes… I do go to the gym. No smirks, diary. My new mantra is, if anybody does get to know I “irregularly” go to the gym, my quip is, “I go to the gym to keep fit…not to lose weight.” Have to say something snappy (which my son will translate into corny) right diary? Have to save face, some way or another. Anyway, so as December is closing in I thought I would get my act together and at least try not to gain weight with all these weddings, Christmas and new-year festivities. So, I walked into a sports shop to buy a stepper last night. The poor souls didn't know what hit them. They thought, looking at my size, girth, and my diva like aura, a killer sale was about to happen. Anyway to cut a long story short, a solitary stepper was bought and now it is gracing my family lounge, only to be used the days I don't go to the gym.

Uff !! all this exercise take is making me feel peckish and I am getting that funny allenveloping feeling which takes over me when I want to cook or bake. So diary how about I jot down a few items which would be so great for a 'propah' english high tea. Scones, muffins, wafer thin sandwhcihes are some safe bets, but with christmas just around the corner, how does a dundec cake, or mince pies with cream cheese filling or a rich fruit cake sound? And how about I throw in a coffee walnut cake with mini strawberry cakes too.

Picture this diary, the table laden with these goodies and me sipping Earl grey tea from my best dresden bone china with a good friend. Aaahh! Bliss.

So, cheers to all. Happy holidays. Have fun baking the Sam Q way.

Dundee Cake
8, ounce raisins
2, ounce blanched almonds chopped
4, ounce chopped orange rind
10, ounce of plain flour
8, ounce butter (1 block)
8, ounce sugar
finely grated rind of one lemon
4, eggs beaten
1, ounce split almonds, to decorate
(1) Grease a 8 inch round cake tin. Combine the fruit, chopped nuts and orange rind in a bowl. Sift in a little flour and stir until the fruit is evenly coated.
(2) Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together until pale and fluffy, then beat in the lemon rind.
(3) Add the eggs to the creamed mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
(4) Sift the remaining flour over the mixture and fold in lightly with a metal spoon, then fold in the fruit and nut mixture.
(5) Put the mixture into the prepared tin and arrange the split almonds on the top.
(6) Bake in the oven at 170oC (325oF) mark 3 for about 2 1/2 hours until a fine warmed skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
(7) Cool in the tin for 1 hour before turning out of the tin.

Coffee Walnut Loaf
2/3 cup (70g) toasted whole walnuts
125g butter, chopped
1 cup (220 g) caster sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
2 hosp instant coffee powder
1 1/3 cups (200 g) flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten lightly
Coffee Icing
1 tbsp boiling water
2 tsp instant coffee powder
1 cup (160 g) icing sugar
10g soft butter
(1) Pre-heat oven
(2) Chop half the walnuts. Leave remaining nuts whole. Combine butter, sugar, milk and coffee in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted. Remove from heat.
(3) Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl, stir in eggs, butter mixture and chopped walnuts.
(4) Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake in a moderately slow oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Bake for a further 30 minutes or until cooked when tested.
(5) Coffee Icing: Combine the water and coffee in cup. Sift the icing sugar into a small heat proof bowl. Stir in the butter and enough of the coffee mixture to form a firm paste. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, stir icing until thin consistency.
(6) Drizzle the coffee icing over the loaf. Stand until set, before slicing.

Cream Cheese Mince pies Pastry
1½ cups plain flour
2 tbsp custard powder
1,4 cup icing sugar
125g cold butter, 1 egg yolk, 2-3 tbsp cold water
1x 250g packet cream cheese, softened
I tsp finely grated lemon rind
I tbsp icing sugar
1x 410 g jar fruit jam
Take flour, custard powder, icing sugar and chopped butter until crumbly. Add egg yolk and enough water to make the ingredients just cling together. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll pastry out, cut out in rounds from the dought. Place rounds into greased muffin or tart tins. The rolled out dough should be 3mm in thickness and 7.5 cm round. You can make 24 rounds from the dough.
Step-2 filling
Combine cream cheese, rind and sugar in a bowl. Divide mixture among pastry cases. Top with jam. Cook in a moderately hot oven, 190°C for about 10 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned.

Mini Strawberry cup cakes
1 ½ cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup custard powder
3 eggs lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
I tsp essence
185 g butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
Butter icing
1 ½ cups of icing sugar, sifted 60g butter
2tbsp boiling water
(1) Sift flour and custard powder together into a bowl. Add sugar and mix to combine.
(2) Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add eggs, milk, vanilla essence and butter and beat well for 8 minutes or until mixture is light and smooth.
(3) Spoor mixture into a greased 9 inch round cake is cooked and tested with skewer. Stand cake for 30 minutes before turning out on the cake plate.
(4) To make icing, place icing sugar and butter in a bowl, add boiling water and mix to make on icing spreadable consistency, adding 9 little more water if necessary.
(5) Top with fresh or canned strawberries.Continuation from the last paragraph...

X'mas fruit cake or Rich fruit Cake

Raisins chopped 1 kg.
glace cherries 125 g
Marmalade 2 tbsp
Butter 250 g
grated orange rind 2 stsp
brown sugar 1 cup
eggs -4
Plain flour 2 cups
Baking time 3- 3½ hours.
Preheat oven to slow 150°C. Line cake tin base with 2 layers of baking paper. Mix the fruit, marmalade in a large bowl. Beat butter, rind and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until just combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined, between additions. Stir the butter mixture into the fruit mixture. Mix in sifted flour.
Push small spoonfuls of mixture into the prepared pan, then spread the remaining mixture into the pan. Tap pan firmly on bench to settle mixture. Level the top of the cake with a wet spatula.
Bake in small oven for 3-3½ hours.



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