Christmas is the season when everyone eats heartily irrespective of their religion, especially rich frosted cakes. By the time the New Year approaches their digestive discomfort makes them regret some of their menu. This Ginger Loaf Cake allows them to enjoy the season of cakes and relieve their distress 🙂 I came across this recipe in Cakes and Cake Decorating and All-Colour Cookbook – the same recipe with the same photograph! Self-raising flour is not easily available here, and what is available here is very bitter, so I have substituted it with maida and baking powder. I don’t like the taste of ginger powder and have used fresh ginger extract instead.
The Madras Curry Powder was developed in Tamil Nadu in the kitchens were food was cooked to suit the palate of the British during their Raj. It is quite different from the ‘garam masala’, the North Indian curry powder, which is mentioned in most so-called Indian recipes. Although the Madras Curry Powder has many spices in common with garam masala, it is also has fenugreek seeds, turmeric and, may be, curry leaves, which are typical constituents of Tamil cooking. This powder, though very popular in Britain, is available in very few shops in Tamil Nadu and has never been part of Tamil cooking, which has its own extensive range of curry powders. May be it is too mild for our palate :), and I doubt if people even knew about it since it was made specially for the British. I myself stumbled across it only a decade ago in an exclusive spice shop, which caters a lot to foreigners. Nevertheless, I find it a very versatile curry powder which can be used for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
50 years ago I received a baking oven as a wedding gift. From then on I’ve been making a rich and large fruit cake for every Christmas, while of course complaining about the labour 🙂 Rum was available freely in liquor stores and I always used rum in my cakes. I had to stop making this fruit cake once the government ordered privately run liquor stores to shut. Now that the government is running sophisticated liquor stores in the fanciest of shopping malls, I was finally able to procure rum again and revive this family Christmas tradition 🙂
In India, we use the term prawn for shrimp also. While I was looking for something special to make for Christmas, I came across the recipe Idaho Tuna Puffs in The Family Circle’s Casserole Cookery Book. I decided to substitute prawns for tuna, as tuna is not easily available here, and to make it suitable for the Indian palate. I deleted the cheese from the ingredients because it didn’t contribute either to the flavour or the texture. I used silicon moulds to make these puffs. I used some of the dough to make small pies to give variety in shapes.
Today is Advent Sunday. It not only welcomes the birth of Christ but also the start of the festive feasting. I found this recipe for Viennese shortbread cookies in the All Colour Cookbook. When I tried this in my kitchen, I found that they were very light and crisp cookies, so easy to bite into and chew. The orange flavour from the rind was tantalizing, and the sprinkling of icing sugar made it a little sweeter. I dispensed with the butter cream filling to make it less calorific. The original was piped out through a flower nozzle but I rolled out the dough and used cookie cutters. My method yields around 50 cookies.