Blog - Curry Twist

Wedding Cake In San Francisco

"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" goes the old song and it perfectly expresses our feelings, for so did we! There recently to see our son Rohan wed his lovely new bride Adora, we fell in love with this charming city and the momentous occasion that brought us together.

The ceremony took place in the rotunda of beautiful San Francisco City Hall, with family members from both sides in attendance. Adora has been a part of our lives for many years, during which we have come to know her and love her, but officially welcoming her into our family was an especially joyful moment for us. Another foodie is just what we needed!

A trip to San Francisco is always a good excuse to see the sights of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Golden Gate Bridge is such an iconic scene that it is well worth driving out of town to see it. We were even lucky to get some sunshine during our drive!

San Francisco is such a compact city that you can see most of it on foot. The steep hills require you to be in good shape if you are planning to do much walking. Toiling up Powell Street can give you quite a workout, and you still need to have enough energy to skip out of the way of cable cars hurtling down the hill!

The gracious row houses lining the streets are another sight synonymous with San Francisco. The Painted Ladies, a row of historic Victorian houses are the most famous and the most photographed. Their beautiful, intricate painted designs and detailing are worth a trip to Alamo Square.

And for shoppers, the stores surrounding Union Square are an irresistible draw. I was spoiled for choice with so many big name flagship stores in one place! And when shopping gets tiring, there is a huge granite plaza bordered with swaying palm trees and cafes in which to relax and watch the world go by.  

San Francisco also has the largest and oldest Chinatown in North America. It still sprawls over a large area, combining restaurants,  grocery stores and herbal medicine shops with historic churches, buildings and even the famous Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory!
The best known dim sum restaurant, Yank Sing is worth visiting for fantastic food. It is one of few restaurants that still have carts trundling around, filled to the brim with delicately steamed, delicious dumplings.

A joyous wedding is best followed by a memorable meal and our celebration continued at renowned chef Michael Mina's award winning restaurant. His delicious, contemporary, creative dishes such as sesame oil infused ahi tuna tartare, seared fish with mushrooms in dashi broth and succulent beef wrapped in puff pastry filled us with even more joy!

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What's a wedding without cake? Adora, an avid, accomplished baker has created this gorgeous roll cake just for this blog. Easy to make at home, these delicious slices of soft orange scented sponge cake with saffron cream will fill you with happiness!

Orange Cardamom Roll Cake With Saffron Cream Filling

For the filling:

80 ml whipping cream

30g white chocolate chips

A pinch of saffron

For the cake:

25g unsalted butter

1 tbsp fresh orange zest

25g cake flour

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

3 large egg yolks, at room temperature

50g sugar

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

To prepare the filling, warm cream in microwave until scalding, about 1 min. Stir in chocolate chips and saffron until completely melted. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease an 8X8 baking pan and line with parchment, creating an overlap on all sides to help lift cake. Set aside an extra 8X12 sheet of parchment, (for later use in the recipe).

To make cake, melt butter in microwave for about 30 sec. Add orange zest.

Combine flour and ground cardamom in separate bowl.

Combine egg yolks and half of sugar with hand mixer until thickened and pale in colour, about 2 min.

In separate bowl, beat egg whites (with clean mixer blades) and remaining sugar, until soft peaks form, about 2-3 min. Add egg yolk mixture and beat until combined, about 1 min.

Sift in half the flour mixture, folding it in with a spatula and lifting it from the bottom to keep it light and aerated. Add remaining flour mixture, folding and lifting to aerate.

Fold in orange zest butter until just combined (melt it again if necessary).

Pour batter into center of cake pan, spreading it into an even layer with spatula. Tap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles.

Bake cake for 10-12 min until golden and spongy to the touch. Immediately lift cake onto work surface using parchment overlap handles (keep parchment under cake).

Working while cake is still warm, place extra sheet of parchment on top of cake, sandwiching it between the two sheets of parchment. Flip cake upside down and peel off top sheet of parchment. Roll cake tightly (like a sushi roll), using bottom parchment as guide. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whip reserved chilled saffron cream chocolate mixture with hand mixer until stiff peaks form.

Unroll cake and spread cream filling evenly over top, leaving a 2 cm border all around. Roll cake tightly (without squeezing out the filling!) and wrap in parchment, pressing gently to shape it. Refrigerate for 30 min.

Unwrap cake, trim edges and cut into 1 inch thick slices, wiping excess cream off knife for neat edges.

Serves Eight
Many thanks to Adora for cake recipe and photos!

Congratulations Rohan and Adora!

Lamb Rendang In Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a city that has been transformed in a relatively short time, evolving in a few decades from a sleepy outpost of the British Empire to one of the modern world's great cities. Today you can find traces of this metamorphosis everywhere, with gleaming skyscrapers towering over old colonial buildings and bustling street markets next to huge shopping malls. The population is equally diverse, with Malay, Chinese and Indian communities dispersed throughout the city.
This makes Kuala Lumpur a food-lover's paradise: the breakfast buffet at our hotel not only had eggs and bacon, but also Chinese noodles, Malay satay skewers and South Indian curries. Our biggest problem was deciding where to start from! All these cuisines not only coexist but also influence each other, creating flavours that are unique to the city. My absolute favourite dish was chickpeas cooked in a spicy coconut milk sauce, poured over freshly steamed idlis (rice cakes). I have never come across this combination before and it was heaven!

Kuala Lumpur's ultimate street food destination is Jalan Alor, a long winding street filled with food vendors selling their wares from pushcarts, the back of motorcycles, and makeshift stalls. It is best visited at night when pavements are lined with happy diners seated around tables, surrounded by food of every description, with that indefinable aroma from innumerable charcoal grills filling the air.

Walking down this street, dodging cars and throngs of passers by, weaving your way through the tables and food stalls that are everywhere, you begin to wonder whether anyone cooks at home. And with food this good, exciting and cheap, why would they even bother!

One of our favourite ways to get out of the fierce day time heat was to duck into the myriad food courts that dot Kuala Lumpur. They are a wonderful, inexpensive way of exploring the staggering variety of food on offer. Some of these food courts or hawker centers are charmingly laid out under spreading trees, offering a green oasis in the middle of the city, while others are in shopping malls or office buildings.

Petaling Street or Chinatown is a lively, bustling shopper's paradise with a fascinating night market. This is where you will find brand name knock offs for almost every item imaginable as well as street food that is hard to find in most restaurants.

In between bouts of bargaining and shopping you can revive yourself with dishes such as salted roast duck, deep fried sweet potato balls, grilled beef jerky, meat buns, roasted chestnuts, fruit juices and iced tea!

Just around the corner from Petaling Street is the famous Old China Cafe. Housed in the guildhall of a defunct laundrymen's association, this cafe retains all its glorious original furnishings, exudes old world charm and serves fantastic Nyonya food.
Having heard so much about this little cafe, we resisted the heady aromas of street food vendors around us and went here for dinner. It is reputed to have the best Beef Rendang in town and we were not disappointed!

Rendang is a spicy meat preparation popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. The meat is cooked for a long time with coconut milk, spices and other ingredients such as shallots, lemongrass and galangal. The process of cooking progresses from sauteing to simmering to frying as the liquid evaporates and the meat absorbs the wonderful flavours, caramelizes as it becomes spice crusted and literally falls apart in your mouth. This is an age old preservation cooking technique for hot climates in the days before refrigeration.

We first came across Rendang a few years ago in an Amsterdam restaurant. Beef rendang was part of our Rijstafel menu and the chef himself came out to warn us that no one had ever managed to finish an entire bowl of it in his restaurant. While we scoffed at this, assuring him that as Indians we had an innate ability to handle spicy food, we couldn't finish it either. It was just too hot!
Even though we couldn't eat too much of it the first time, we loved it's complex, spicy flavours and often sought it during our travels. We discovered (much to our relief) that rendang doesn't have to be searingly hot and it is possible to finish an entire bowl of it!

Lamb rendang is easy and satisfying to make at home. Although the cooking process requires a bit of time and patience, tantalizing aromas fill up the house and whet the appetite! I like to leave a bit of sauce clinging to the meat so that it is nice to eat with rice. In most restaurants though, the sauce is cooked off till only the oils remain and the meat is cooked in this till it is a rich brown colour and falling apart tender. If you wish to do that, simply uncover the skillet and cook for an additional 15-20 min till the desired result is achieved. If you want a hotter dish, add more cayenne pepper to taste!


I love adding baby potatoes to my lamb rendang. They absorb and thicken the sauce and become very flavourful. Serve with plain rice or Nasi Biryani as is traditional in Kuala Lumpur.

Lamb Rendang

1 cup roughly chopped red onion

4 cloves garlic

1 inch piece ginger or galangal

6 macadamia nuts

2 fresh hot red chilies, optional

1 inch piece fresh turmeric, optional

1 tsp each: ground coriander, sugar

1/2 tsp each: cayenne pepper, turmeric, paprika, tamarind paste

1/4 tsp each, ground spices: cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel

Salt to taste

2 tbsp olive oil

2 each, whole spices: cloves, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick

2 lb boneless leg of lamb, cubed into bite sized pieces

1 can (400 ml) unsweetened coconut milk

6 lime leaves, optional

2 stalks lemongrass, ends trimmed, crushed lightly with mallet

Combine onion, garlic, galangal or ginger, macadamia nuts, red chilies, fresh turmeric (if using), ground coriander, sugar, salt, cayenne, turmeric, paprika, tamarind paste, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and fennel in food processor or blender. Process until well combined and finely minced. Transfer to a bowl.

Warm oil in large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add whole cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise. Sizzle spices 1 min, then add spice paste from bowl.

Saute for 3-4 min until paste is fragrant, then add lamb pieces. Fry lamb for 3-4 min to seal flavours.

Add coconut milk, lime leaves (if using) and lemongrass. Mix well, cover and cook on very low heat for 2 hours or until lamb is very tender and sauce is very thick, stirring occasionally. Garnish with slivered lime leaves or mint and serve.

Serves six-eight


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