اَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمن الرَّحِيْمِ
Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatu hu everyone!
It was my little brother’s birthday last week. He turned 15. His first quarantine birthday. I wasn’t really sure what to make for his birthday because there were just so many options. I knew I wanted to make a chocolate cake though because the last cake I had made for Eid had been a vanilla cake, so I wanted to mix things up.
In the end I stuck with four starters which included chicken keema pasties, aloo pakoras, cheese and onion pasties and chicken pakoras. There were also deep-fried chips, but they don’t count because well they were just potatoes cut and fried. The main dish I was made was homemade chicken tandoori pizza with pizza dough and pizza sauce that I had prepared the day before. For dessert, I made a chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache then topped with crushed nuts.
Technically speaking I didn’t actually make the chicken keema for the pasties. My mum did. All I did was wrap it up to create the pastries. I usually make square pastries but because I was making cheese and onion pasties, I needed a way to differentiate between the two. To do this, I cut circles in the pastry using a small bowl as a guide. Then I added about a tablespoon of filling before folding and sealing.
With the cheese and onion pasties, I basically added the mixture into rows onto one sheet of ready rolled puff pastry. Then I got my other sheet of ready rolled puff pastry and placed it on top. This technique actually works out quite well for me because I find that when I cut between the rows that the puff pastry kind of naturally joins. I’m not really sure if I am explaining this well but it makes sense in my head. Next time I make them, I will be sure to upload pictures of what I mean.
The chicken pakoras were a bit of a pain to make because the knife we have is losing its sharpness. This makes it really difficult to cut chicken. I have been thinking of getting a new knife, but I think my mum is too attached to our current knife. Once the chicken had been cut into small pieces, marinating the chicken was easy. I added all the ingredients then mixed. I did this in the morning and then left it to be refrigerated until I fried them at dinner time.
Aloo pakora are a whizz to make because I have been making them for so long. You know what they say? Practice does make perfection and I do practice a lot. At making aloo pakoras that is. I think I made this almost every other day in Ramadan. I love aloo pakoras. Number one best Indian starters (with the exception of samosas).
As I have been making pizzas for a long time now, they usually turn out tasting good. They always look a bit questionable though…My sister always says I put too much toppings on, but I think the toppings are the best part, so I am just going to ignore her. I had wanted to make a tuna and sweetcorn pizza, but I decided against it and stuck with some chicken tandoori pieces that I had marinated in the morning. I had prepared the pizza sauce the day before and I had kneeded the pizza dough in the morning to allow it to rise during the day.
I have always loved baking. I much prefer it to actual cooking, but the thing is you can’t really eat sweets everyday so baking every day isn’t really reasonable. I have made a lot of cakes. Thing is I never actually write the recipes down and always estimate measurements. This doesn’t always work out and my cakes are sometimes too dry. Obviously with the blog I have to write proper recipes so when I made my chocolate cake, I wrote down all the ingredients and measurements. Surprisingly my chocolate cake recipe was on point and I think I will have to stick with this for all my future chocolate cakes. Shall I tell you what wasn’t on my point though? Yep, you guessed it. My chocolate ganache.
Now you would think that a recipe with only two ingredients would be so easy to make, but somehow, I ended up messing it up. I don’t claim to be some Michelin star chef or professional baker so if any of my tips and tricks seem a bit unorthodox, it’s just because I am just a home chef who is learning from her mistakes. I struggled with the ganache and I am not too sure why because I watched so many videos and read so many posts prior to making it so that I would be able to make it. Guess what? It still didn’t work! The double cream I poured over the chocolate didn’t melt the chocolate even though I left it for a few minutes to allow it to. There were literally whole pieces of chocolate that had not even melted in the slightest and I was so angry because it was late at night and my brother’s birthday was tomorrow. So, what I did was I took a saucepan of simmering water and placed a heatproof bowl on top. I added the chocolate and double cream mixture and allowed it to melt slowly on there. I know this is not technically the way to make it, but it worked. The ganache did end up smooth and silky, but I guess I kind of cheated. Like I said I cook for fun and it’s not my profession or anything so don’t judge me.
We ended up having dinner really late because my mum had a fast that day, so I was trying to delay things as much as possible. I’m one of those people that likes for everyone to eat together. Finally, the food was ready, and the plates had been prepared. My mum looked at me like I was stupid when I got the matching plates out, but I’m the time of person who has to have everything co-ordinated.
The only thing was that I felt disappointed out was that I forgot to do decorations and the room looked kind of dull. Not really a very birthday vibe unfortunately. No matter, it’s the people that make it. My cousin turned up an hour later and joined us. He ate my food, but I don’t think he really liked it because he didn’t comment on it. (I’m only saying this because I know he will read this at some point in the future and to inform him in a very passive-aggressively manner that you have to comment on my food). My sister-in-law left with my niece quite early because my niece needed to sleep. Although the next day I found out that she had been very hyperactive before she went asleep. Guess the chocolate cake wasn’t the best idea…
Photos are all a credit to my brother’s photography skills (or lack thereof).
And that was what I was doing on the 1st of June!