We are back !!!!!!!!!!!!! Chocolate Fudge Cake

After a very long time off from the blog we are BACK !

Well what can I say, many of you have asked WHY ??  the absence, wondering if I have stopped cooking ???? Never, it has just been a tricky few years and my editor (husband) was very busy, so there have not been any new posts, however hopefully you will see more regular entries. So as a peace offering I am going to share a chocolate fudge cake recipe 😉

This chocolate fudge cake recipe I saw on a TV show some years ago and since have made it several times of course with my modifications. When I saw Phil Vickery make the cake, I thought to myself I had to try it, as I love the simple desserts that he makes and shows on various TV shows. One of the other reasons I wanted to try it was to see how it would turn out when using very little condensed milk, and much to my surprise the cake is moist, spongy and has a very nice chocolatey taste. It is such a simple recipe that this time, as can be seen in the picture, it is made by my son. He measured all the ingredients, mixed, and poured the batter into the tin, which he prepared by placing the grease proof paper before hand. I only assisted by placing the cake in the oven for baking, once cooled he cut the shape he wanted and decorated it to how he wanted it.

Oh I cannot tell you how proud it makes me feel to see him make the cake all by himself – he has grown up so much that he is using all of his skills and learning more at the same time as making the cake. Of course the most obvious being maths – weighing and measuring the ingredients, then the other bit of learning, which you would not normally associate with cooking is science. When mixing the oil & milk, and the effect of mixing the two ingredients to emulsify them together. He even said as he was mixing it, lets see what happens when we mix the light (oil) liquid with the heavy (milk). As he whisked the two ingredients together, he noticed the change from being separate layers to big bubbles and then eventually coming together. It is only when we think about these things do we realise how everything is connected and how we use core subjects like maths and science in everyday life without thinking about it. In effect we are enforcing what is being taught at school in a fun practical way, and of course the most important skill/ lesson learnt is cooking – being able to make something. I urge you to try this recipe, it is a very rich, moist cake. Each time I have made it, the cake is eaten on the day and there hardly ever is anything left over. Everyone who has tried it loves it and I have taught two other people how to make it already.

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Weetabix Barfi

Weetabix Barfi

We made Weetabix Barfi for my son’s Diwali & Eid party at school. Making food should be fun, especially when doing it with children. I love recipes where my son can enjoy making it and at the same time he is learning all the time yet he thinks it is fun, because for a change I am letting him play with food 🙂 We worked together as a team and he really enjoyed crushing the weetabix and biscuits, then mixing all the dry ingredients together. Learning about texture, size and how to measure ingredients together, are just a few of the things we talked about as we were making this easy sweet dish.

I have adopted this recipe to our taste from ‘The Ultimate Collection – A Vegetarian Cookbook’. The taste is a cross between a cereal bar and an Indian sweet.  I wanted to try this recipe as it seemed like an interesting mix of ingredients and felt kind of healthy because of the use of Weetabix, hence we made it as one of our Diwali sweets this year. In case you don’t know, Weetabix is a popular breakfast cereal – more info at Wikipedia here. It also goes by the name of Weet-bix.

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Kesar Mani

Kesar Mani

I came across this sweet dish about 4 to 5 years back. The name was very unusual for a sweet dish –  Kesar means saffron and Mani in Sanskrit means gem. The taste was a combination of a few traditional sweets, a crunchy yet melt in the mouth texture all at the same time. Ever since then I wanted to try and make it at home, but I had no-one to teach me or tell me all the specific ingredients.

As I have mentioned before, I recently got a couple of recipe books from Kenya, ‘ The Ultimate Collection – A Vegetarian Cookbook’ and ‘Exotic Flavours – Cuisine With Class’. I looked at the recipe given for Kesar Mani from each book and then decided to try it out. The ingredients from both books were similar, so I combined their ingredients and had a go. The first attempt needed a little extra sweetness and some more spice I felt. So I tweaked the recipes slightly and came up with the version below.

I had made this dish over the summer for one of my husband’s friends for his wedding, but I thought it would be good to post it on Radiance Recipes now when people would make or like to try out new sweets for Diwali. This is a good sweet to indulge in for those special occasions.

Kesar Mani Ingredients
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Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcake

In recent years there are a few buzz words associated with all the lovely fruits & vegetables available, that are used to tell us why we should eat them. The key phrases are super food, rich in antioxidants, & packed full of vitamins and so on. I feel that all food is good for us, consumed in the correct quantities and eaten on a regular basis. There has been much research that has been conducted on strawberries and the results suggest that it is rich in vitamin C, is filled with antioxidants that help fight cancer and heart disease, rich in folic acid and are also good at helping reduce tartar as well as maintaining healthy skin. With or without the title of super food, strawberries are a great tasting food which gives us an uplifting effect and can satisfy any sweet tooth.

This recipe for Strawberry Cupcakes was requested from my dear son for some months now. He asked my younger sister to make a strawberry chocolate cake, so she attempted it earlier this year. She adapted her normal recipe for eggless chocolate cake and added strawberry jam and syrup. This experiment did not quite work as the cake sank! I then had a go with the yoghurt cake recipe and added strawberry syrup and cocoa. It smelt great but the taste was not there. Then at a recent food festival, I had tried some strawberry cake/bread which was vegan. They had used a lot of chopped fresh fruit to get taste and texture. Then I also saw a few recipes which inspired me, there was this Blueberry coffee cake & Eggless Vanilla Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins.

From all of that research and experimenting, I made the following recipe which was a good first attempt. The cup cakes were moist and had the correct balance of fruit and sugar. My husband said they were more like muffins than cupcakes, but all the same tasted great. I was glad that I took up the challenge and ventured into creating this recipe.

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Exotic Fruit Ice Lollies

Exotic Fruit Ice Lollies

Exotic Fruit Ice Lollies2

Each year as the mango season is upon us we enjoy eating it just as it is meant to be – plain and simple. The other favourite is to have mango pulp (ras) with our meal (it is great served with puri and any curry). Just so as we can prolong the taste and enjoy them well after the season has ended, it is always a good idea to freeze the pulp.

In the Indian culture mangoes are considered to be the king of all fruits, a place which is rightly deserved as the taste, aroma and juice of the fruit are all beyond comparison. In recent times it has become quite the trend to label the food that we eat as super foods or foods that are good for us. In my opinion all food if eaten in the correct quantity is a super food as it is all good for us, some may have qualities that other fruits don’t but that does not mean we eat any less of it. Having said that mangoes are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and dietary minerals &  fibre, hence qualifying as a ideal superfruit.

When I made these ice lollies last year, with my son, they were with just plain mango. So this year I thought I will do two batches, one with just mango and the other with some other fruit mixed in. So I thought of the 5 a day campaign and tried to incorporate as many fruits as I had at the time. Four out of five is not bad and considering they are all rich in vitamin C, A & E and in potassium, phytochemicals, and nutrients. This is one of the main reasons why I like to make these kind of foods at home as I know that it is 100% fruit, not from concentrate and not ladled with sugar and addatives. I know exactly what goes into the lollies and I control the content of fruit and sugar. This is exactly how  it was when we young, as there were no sell by dates on the food we ate nor did it give us any allergies or side effects. The fact that it is so quick and easy to make should be the other deciding factor in making these lollies.

Coincidently when we made the lollies, my son was learning about freezing water to make ice, so this was a perfect way of teaching him the process of creating something that he enjoys eating. He was very excited as a result to see the process, however was quite anxious as the waiting time was too long (freezing time).

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Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberries

Strawberry Ice Cream

It has become a kind of tradition for our family for the past few years to go strawberry picking during the season.  Especially since my son and nieces have arrived, it is so much fun watching them enjoy themselves, picking and eating the strawberries. When my son was one and a half years old, he went for the first time, he had such a good time, eating the juicy red sweet strawberries, his face was covered and he smelled sweet for the rest of the day. This year we made a family day out as both my brother in-law and husband joined us, as a result we picked so many strawberries and decided to make a few things with them. So the first thing was to make ice cream with the children, combining their love of the fruit and everyone’s favourite – ice cream. All three children had their share of  helping prepare the ingredients and then mixing them in the machine and felt important that they had a part in making it. Doing such an activity is a great way to teach them how things grow and how they are made into the end product which they enjoy so much.

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Yoghurt Cake

yoghurt-cake

I have had this recipe since 2004 from one of my husband’s aunt. She makes an eggless cake using yoghurt and it has a lighter texture compare to the other cake recipe posted earlier. My mother-in-law really likes this cake and so I thought I would try it out finally this year for her birthday. I asked my husband to help me, but I was so busy with preparing the other meals that he actually ended up making the cake. So I said to him I will tell everyone that you made it. To this he said lets wait and see how it turns out, if it is good then you can tell everyone otherwise no. Well it was wonderful, however the only thing was that despite following the recipe we both felt you could smell and taste the bicarbonate of soda powder.

I made the cake again a few days later, this time with my son’s help, and reduced the bicarbonate of soda powder and it was perfect, so that is the recipe I am giving you. I find it so amazing when I hear of or see different recipes for eggless cakes, how inventive people can be, and it also shows you can make good cakes without using eggs.

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