Thursday, October 18, 2012

Creme Brulee

I'm hard to please when it comes to eating out. I expect food to be really, really tasty at restaurants and anything otherwise is simply unforgivable. We went out to this restaurant called Turquoise in Koramangala. We went to the Italian kitchen floor. I never get too excited before I start my meal as it mostly leads to disappointment.  But, this time, I really loved the food and the ambiance. We had some good veg crostini misti, which is toasted Italian bread with a savory assortment of mushrooms, tomatoes and ricotta cheese.  For main, I had a chicken cappellacci which was a stuffed chicken pasta . The dim-lit environment did not give me an opportunity for good snaps with my point and shoot :( 

When it came to dessert, I had to have tiramisu and he had creme brulee.   I loved it and so, as you can guess, I had to try creme brulee at home and here is my home-made dessert. Did some research on this dessert and came to know that creme brulee means burnt cream. Origin of creme brulee? Some say it's, English, some say French and some say Spanish. You'll never know.

The biggest challenge in this recipe was to create that caramel crust on the dessert without a blow torch. But, my oven was good enough for the job and everything turned out great.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4  cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
For topping:
  • Fine sugar - 1 tbspn 



  • Preheat oven to 150°C (325° F).  
  • Heat a kettle of water and keep ready.
  • Beat egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
  • In a saucepan, pour cream and milk  and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove from heat immediately. Let rest for 10 mins.
  • Stir cream-milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Beat until combined and it turns a light color. 
  • Pour the liquid into 2 ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 
  •  Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40-45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and let cool for a while. Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Method for creating a caramel crust:
  • Preheat oven to broil. (250°C or 480°F)
  • Sift some fine sugar evenly over the custard and spread till the edges.  
  • Place ramekins on the highest rack position, right under broiler until sugar melts. (about 2 minutes) Watch carefully in order not to burn.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until custard is set again. 
  • It is best to caramelize the crust about an hour before serving the pudding . That way the crust remains crisp and does not get soggy when left for too long in the refrigerator.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Tomato soup

I had a lot of tomatos in my refrigerator and right away, I knew what to make off it. Tomato soup of course and with the start of the cold season, what's better than some piping hot soup.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate packaged soups. They taste horrid. I tried a few brands a few years ago and I have never bought a packet ever since. Some are so gummy from all the corn starch used. Some are too sweet from the abundance sugar added. The worst part is the addition  of Monosodium glutamate or  MSG, also known as the "infamous" Ajinomoto. Ugh! Makes me lose my appetite.

So, instead of cribbing about bad soup, why not make some good soup at home.

I use cashew paste as a substitute for corn starch to thicken my soup. The depth of tomato flavor in this soup is very refreshing.

I would have loved some croutons as a garnish on them as well. But, I had run out of bread :(


  • Butter – 2 tspns
  • Oil- 1 tbspn
  • Onion – 1medium
  • Peppercorns –7-8
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cloves- 3
  • Garlic – 4 large cloves
  • Carrot – 1/4 of a medium sized carrot
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tspn
  • Chilli powder – 2 tspns
  • Tomatoes – 8 large
  • Water – 2 &1/2 cups
  • Raw cashews - 5 (ground to a smooth paste)
  • Sugar –  1 tspn ( I used brown sugar)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Cracked pepper – to taste
  • Coriander leaves – to garnish
  • Cream – 4 tspns (optional) 

  • Heat 1 tspn butter and oil in pressure cooker pan. Add onions,  bay leaf, cloves, pepper corns and garlic. Saute till transparent . 
  • Add cumin, carrots, chilli powder and salt. Add tomatoes and sauté for 2 mins. 
  • Now add water and close pressure cooker . Cook for 3 whistles.
  • Then remove the bay leaf and cloves and discard. Puree the rest of the mixture in a juicer and sieve.
  • Now, on a low heat, add remaining 1 tspn butter in a  pan. Add the cashew paste and saute for a minute. (Cashew paste acts as a thickening agent)
  •  Add the extracted tomato puree. Add sugar . Stir well. for a few mins. till the soup thickens.
  • Add pepper  and salt to taste.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and cream.


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