Blog - Curry Twist

Apple Cardamom Muffins In Ontario, Canada

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Fall is our favourite time of year, with changing colours transforming ordinary landscapes into brilliant works of art. Leaves in glowing reds, shimmering oranges and pale yellows adorn the trees, making a long, leisurely drive into the countryside one of the highlights of this season.

This year, unseasonably warm weather slowed the progress of Fall and dimmed the colours on the trees, making our scenic road trips a little less vibrant. On the other hand, this meant that we could still sit outside on a restaurant patio by the water, watch sailboats pull into the marina, and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch in the sun!

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The sandy beaches and warm waters of Lake Ontario beckoned to us on an unusually hot day recently and we headed off to Presqu'ile Provincial Park for a day of sun, sand and hiking.

This park has lovely, long, shallow sandy beaches, lots of great hiking trails and one of the oldest lighthouses in the region. It is a nice day trip out of Toronto, if you want to get away from it all.

On the way, we stopped at The Big Apple, a huge bakery, restaurant and farm market which is visible all the way from the highway. We came home armed with a delicious medley of apples and jugs of fresh apple cider. The apples were crisp and slightly tart - perfect to eat and cook with!

If you love cooking with apples, try these easy apple muffins. Loaded with chunks of fruit and delicately scented with cardamom, they are great for breakfast. Or, pair them with home made Saffron Rosewater Ice cream and wow your guests with an unforgettable dessert!

Apple Cardamom Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup each: granulated white sugar, brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup apple cider

2 apples, peeled, cored and diced into very small pieces (about 2 cups)

1/4 cup Demerara sugar for sprinkling, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with muffin cups or spray lightly with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder and ground cardamom in mixing bowl.

Combine butter and sugars in separate large mixing bowl with hand blender.

Add eggs, beating lightly after each addition.

Mix in vanilla.

Add the flour mixture in 1/4 cup segments, alternating with the milk.

Add the apple cider at the end and mix well to blend.

Fold in the apple pieces with a spatula, mixing them into the batter.

Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin pan and lightly sprinkle tops with demerara sugar, if using.

Bake for 30 min or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins rest for 10 min, then serve warm. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate any leftover muffins.

Makes 12 Muffins

 

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Roasted Cauliflower With Madhur Jaffrey In Toronto

It isn't everyday that we get to meet a culinary trailblazer. So when we had the opportunity to chat with renowned cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey, we had to pinch ourselves to make sure we weren't dreaming!

Meeting someone who has always been an idol of yours creates a moment of apprehension - can she possibly match the image that you have created in your mind over the years? It was exhilarating to talk to Madhur Jaffrey and realize what a warm, wonderful and interesting person she is!

Madhur Jaffrey has long been my lodestar in the kitchen. When we first moved to America, I often wrote to my mother in India, asking her for recipes. In the time that it took for her letters to reach me (this being before the time of emails!), I would turn to Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks for sustenance. Her description of how, decades earlier, she would write to her mother for culinary guidance seemed to create a bond between us! Many of her recipes are ones that I grew up on, as they are traditional favourites. Her simple, yet detailed style of writing recipes made me feel that she was right there beside me in the kitchen, guiding me every step of the way.

Madhur Jaffrey's new book Vegetarian India doesn't disappoint. It has a fascinating narrative of her travels, fabulous recipes gleaned from the most interesting home kitchens and simple, concise instructions on how to cook them. One of my favourite stories from our chat is one where she is driving around Coorg (a region of India) and comes across women tending to a field of bright red chilies. She stops the car, talks to the women and asks to see what is in their lunchbox. There is rice with a simple fresh tomato chutney in one of them. Being Madhur, she immediately asks for the recipe and jots it down!

She invited me to choose a recipe from her book for this blog - she says she has no favourites because they are all special to her. I couldn't resist the roasted cauliflower as featured on the stunning cover of her new cookbook! The tangy, spicy flavours of this dish and it's quick and easy prep make it perfect for a busy work night dinner.

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Marinating the cauliflower in lemon juice and spices not only increases depth of flavour but also helps tenderize it. And frying the cumin seeds before adding them opens up a whole new dimension of taste! I served this dish with warm naan and my favourite Chana Masala!

Roasted Cauliflower With Punjabi Seasonings

1 1/2 lb cauliflower florets (from one large head of cauliflower)

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp each: turmeric, cayenne pepper

1 tsp each: salt, minced ginger

2 tsp each: ground cumin, ground coriander, 

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

Place cauliflower in large mixing bowl. Pour lemon juice over. Mix in turmeric and salt. 

Add remaining ingredients except oil and whole cumin seeds. Mix well, and marinate for 2 hours, tossing cauliflower occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking tray with parchment.

Warm oil in small frying pan over medium heat, add whole cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle and splutter, pour the spiced cumin oil over the cauliflower. Mix well, then spread cauliflower florets in single layer on parchment lined tray, drizzling leftover marinade over top.

Roast in oven for about 15 min, then turn the pieces and roast again for 10 - 15 min or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Serves four

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Madhur Jaffrey was in Toronto recently to promote her new cookbook Vegetarian India - A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking (Knopf) and to participate in the Up Close and Personal series organized by The Chefs' House (George Brown College).