Monday, 4 October 2010


Cakes are not really my speciality yet because I love eating them I keep trying to make cakes one after the other some flop and become the biggest disaster and some come out fab fortunately, when I do them for family and friends i'm very ,very careful with measurements that is one way of making sure the cake turns out really well. And then there are other times when I'm baking for treating myself where I do all the experiments the trick then I use is very difficult to explain yet its as easy as saying I just follow my head automatically with no precision at all. These cakes become desasters in terms that they may not rise or burn , not have that taste I was thinking it will have but to honest they are alright if I do the denting painting I can use them. One of the first things I learnt in baking cakes was not to panic beacuse the more you panic the more bad result you get. One needs to enjoy the whole process irrespective of which cake you're baking. There are very different kinds of cakes and loads of different ways of having them some cakes are good with tea some are good with coffee some as deserts and some as treats or comforting elements in one's life. When I was younger we only had cakes at birthdays that too was served to the gustes and by the time we got it there was only the corner peices left which had more creame than the cake itself. I quite liked the decorative cakes but the issue that I came accross with those cakes were that they had way too many calories and I could only eat them once in a while. In my conuntry I could only find either pond cake or some decoratives but when i shifted to united kingdom I realized there were cakes that were lighter to have and less sweeter too.

A friend of steff once brought a lemon cake that was so light, fluffy and the best cake i've ever had in my life. I remember I had invited her over for a farewell dinner at our place and she'd brought this cake my husband and I fought over the last slice infront of them.since then i've been on a look out for recipes that are lemon cakes but are'nt even close to that cake of steff 's cake but this one I like till I have her secret recipe.This recipe I find too easy to follow all in one type cake. If and when i've made this cake no matter what size cake it is it just finishes with the same day. It always too little in size for the likes of my house hope its the same for you when you try it. Enjoy in good health..:)


  • 175g Self Raising Flour

  • 175g Sugar

  • 175g Butter

  • 1tsp Baking Powder

  • 3 Eggs

  • 2 Tbsp Milk

  • Finely Grated Rind Of 1 Lemon

  • Grated Rind Of 2 Oranges


  • Juice Of 2 Lemons/1 Orange

  • 115g Caster Sugar


  1. Pre-heat oven at 180 deg C, gas mark 4.

  2. Grease your tin prefereably a 9" one.

  3. Seive the flour and baking powder in a bowl.

  4. Add all other ingredients in it and mix well but don't over do it.

  5. Bake for 45 to 50 mins or until cooked well.

  6. Till the cake is baked in a small pan add sugar and lemon/orange juice and warm it till the sugar melts, but make sure it does not boil.

  7. Once the cake is bake and out turn it over and drizzle the syrup straight away.

Over mixing a cake batter lets all the air out of it and your cake may not rise enough and similarly cooking too long makes your cakes texture to be more crumbs like then it feels like you're have a thick cookie so don't be tempted to leave the cake in for over cooking it. I don't like too much sour taste so I use orange juice for the syrup but you can use either of the citrus fruit they are both equally good.

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Few days back I was on the phone with an old friend, who's visiting Switzerland for a few months. The chicken that she was getting there was with it's skin on and she was unsure of how to cook it so she was spending hours skinning it. As I've lived a good part of my life in the U.A.E I've always had chicken curries and chicken roasts with its skin on and really miss it sometimes. I find the skin has most flavour in it and also makes the chicken meat more moist. I told her I would put up a special recipe for her and here I am writing it.
I found this recipe in a book that I've had for ages now, but as I love to experiment this recipe is quite different from the original recipe in the book just the idea is same, also some ingredients are a bit different then the original recipe. This book is called quick and easy cookery and it has inspired me to create my own recipes for almost ten to twelve years, found this book in an exhibition outside Karachi Marriott hotel where one can get big original books for a pound or two and if you know the bargaining skills well you can perhaps get it for even cheaper than that.
This dish is a good blend of Mediterranean and western baked dishes. It's also a good dish prepare in advance if you're making this for friends comming over and do the final stage just 2 hours before you have to serve roughly. I always make this dish and freeze it a day or two before the party this helps one being calm for the day and you can enjoy getting ready for the get together, also helps in giving the lady of the house to do the final touches for the dining table or setting the room up with last minute touches. when planning a party of 4 or 8 people its OK not to prepare this in advance but if there are more people comming than it becomes very chaotic because its not only the main dish to prepare for the evening, you of course have the appetizers,and deserts to deal with specially if they are the individual serving kinds, again my advice would be to do one big serving that saves you from panicking at last minute.
I love people having my food but also the fact that it gives them comfort inspires me more. For me when hosting a party of as little as two people or as many as fifty people they should all feel that they are special and that they are ,at home. I like to add up simple touches to the table, there are no rules to it just have a focal point and color on your table that would enhance all your dishes and that's the trick to setting the table well. enjoy your party and food in good health..:)

  • Bunch of fresh basil preferably other wise 1-2 tsp dried
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Whole Chicken quartered (4 pieces)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 green bell pepper in big cubes or slices
  • 1 red bell pepper or yellow cut in big cubes or slices
  • 2 cups mushrooms sliced
  • 1 1/2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup olives or as many as you like ( I used the green olives but you can try any olives it tastes equally good with other types too)
  • 1 tub double cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flat leaf parsley
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 350 F
  2. Heat butter and oil in a heavy based pan.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and fry until brown all over.
  4. Remove from pan and leave aside.
  5. In the same pan add onions and garlic,fry till the onion softens then add the bell peppers and half the mushrooms, cook for 2-3 minutes.

  6. Add tomatoes,basil , olives and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  7. In a baking tray layer olives and half of the mushrooms saved earlier.
  8. Layer the chicken on top of this and cover with the onions and vegetables mix.
  9. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 50Min's
  10. Once you feel the chicken is done add the cream to the baking dish.
  11. Return the dish to oven and bake another 10-15 Min's.

This is a great eaten with samoli buns or rather well known as hot dog buns. But since this dish is originally an Italian dish its eaten with plain boiled pasta. I've tried this roast with plain boiled rice too and that also is a nice option. This recipe is certainly not for those on a diet has loads of calories yet you can either single cream or anything that has less calories to it or you can eat it without add the cream at all. In my case I like to eat everything in moderation because that's the key to life for me and once in a while it's not bad to have something with so many calories or cream in it. In the end hoping that when you make it you enjoy this with your family and friends with all the comfort in the world.enjoy..:)

Friday, 12 February 2010


Brownies personally I was never a great fan of it, yes I know I must be crazy, but I've come to a conclusion that I really didn't have a good brownie ever before I used this recipe. This is my favourite recipe for brownies. It shall not be wrong if I said its so divine as soon as its in the mouth it melts like butter with a crispy top giving it the crunchy touch of freshness. Every time I make these I gather loads of praises meaning it works every time the same way by saying this I'm emphasising the fact that some recipes do taste different every time you make them.

I think the key with this recipe is its timing other than that you can increase or decrease the quantities or chocolate, cocoa powder and eggs as for your liking. They say in the books and online recipe sites that's baking comes with precision that's all I think its practice and right timing. When I started to bake it's true i wasted a lot of of ingredients because my cakes came out flat,burnt, not risen enough to my liking or by worst tasted like flour. But that's because i started baking at the age when a kid hardly knows the difference between plain flour and wheat flour. As a Pakistani households have wheat flour in there house as ration or the month so did we and so no on really noticed the flour disappearing from the store. But with time i learnt it was the wrong thing to be used for baking cakes. When you want to make the right kind of cakes or bake anything its all the right stuff that you should know that goes in and be precise about the time you have to bake that particular thing. As a guide i always say don't misjudge your baking if it does not look like the picture I that magazine or on a website. Those pics and websites bring in their recipes from chefs and well practiced people and if you're doing it for the first time don't panic is the most essential key keep your calm and you will end up with the best cake you ever baked.
I've had this recipe for the last four years and every time make it, it vanishes in minutes no matter what the occasion is it will always get you praises and lots of appreciation even though you'll just spend making these brownies only about fifteen minutes of so but the impression your guests will have is that you've been in the kitchen for hours. It's great for having it as a birthday cake or bite sized heart shapes, or just simple squares they all did wonders for me all these years and I'm sure it will do the same for you and your guests...healthy eating...:)

  • 3 Squares milk chocolate approx 90-100g
  • 115g unsalted butter,cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cups or 150 ml light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cups or 125ml golden granulated sugar
  • 1Tbsp cocoa powder2 large egg or use 3 medium ones
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or any oil with no smell in it.
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150 ml or 2/3 cups plain flour


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F/180 deg C.
  2. Prepare your baking dish with baking paper.
  3. In a bowl heat chocolate and butter if doing in a microwave do it at 50 % power until the chocolate is just melted roughly about 2 and 1/2 Min's.
  4. Stir with a spatula until smooth, and leave aside.
  5. In another bowl add brown sugar and with the end of the whisk break any lumps.
  6. To this add golden sugar,cocoa powder,eggs,oil and vanilla and mix well.
  7. Now add the chocolate and butter mixture.
  8. Once mixed well add plain flour 2 spoons full at a time and mix well.
  9. Pour the mixture in the baking dish and bake for 25 Min's.
  10. Once cooled sprinkle cofectioners sugar or icing sugar.

In this recipe, like I said you can you can change a few ingredients and use the ones you like better. For example instead of brown sugar try using dark brown muscavado sugar, or try normal sugar instead of golden brown sugar. I have even tried using olive oil once instead of normal vegetable oil. I like my brownies to be really dark so i use a little bit more cocoa powder and dark brown sugar. It can't be more simple than this recipe and give you yummy results if you keep it in the oven only 25 Min's and not min more otherwise if you over bake it it'll become crumbly and not gooey the taste will be same but it'll be a bit dry. hope you will enjoy this recipe and you,your family and friends and kids fall in love with it as much as we have...:)