Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ramadan Get-Together

My husband and I are quite determined not to break our fast alone during the weekends of Ramadan. It all started when on the first day of Ramadan, which was on a Saturday last weekend, when we had our iftar (breaking fast as dusk) at a friend's place in Slough after they kindly gave us some complimentary tickets to go to Legoland. We spent the day with them at Legoland and later they invited us for iftar at their place which we accepted (after much persuasion on my husband's part) and my husband and I have decided that it is indeed lovely to spend time with friends and eat in a group with lively conversation as opposed to our normal routine of eating alone, just the two of us in our kitchen back in London, with one ear always alert, listening to the children playing in the living area.

And so we decided at the last minute yesterday to ask some friends to come over for iftar today at our place. Oh, I could never cook so much food in such short notice and with very little planning so we decided that it would be potluck - 'just bring whatever you're having for berbuka at home' because really, it was just an excuse for us to meet up with our close friends.

My menu was my Chicken Milano, those scrumptious Cinnamon Rolls which I baked just 30 minutes before the first guest arrival and some cream puffs, which was a first attempt for me. My friends' menus were more elaborate and traditional. They brought nasi putih, a delightful and delicious Pais Ikan Seabass, Mee Rebus, Popia, Roti Paratha, Kari Arab, Paceri Nenas, Chocolate Cake, Sweet and Sour Fish and Masak Lemak Kobis. As usual, I was huffing and puffing in the kitchen until the first guests have already arrived and their food already on my table and I had to rush upstairs to put on something more presentable not before almost all the guests have seen me with my worn and stained apron and slipping track bottoms and not to mentioned my not-so-gorgeous state of hair. Sigh.

Nevertheless, it was overall a success.

I told you that pasta recipe was good - all my guests complimented me for that one and all my other presentations except for the cinnamon rolls - which I baked in 2 batches - were gone by the time everyone decided to go home. Indeed, after all those compliments and happy smiles and full bellies, what housewife wouldn't be happy and satisfied?

I have included the Cream Puff recipe that I used for my first attempt at choux pastry - I think cream puffs are easy to make as long as you remember to poke a hole in each puff as soon as it is done and leave it in the oven for a few minutes with the oven door a little ajar - for the purpose of 'drying' the inside of the puffs. I piped the puff mixture onto the baking tray using a pastry bag and put the cream in by slitting the puff at the side with a knife and using a teaspoon to put the cream in. The result was more than acceptable, I think.


Cream Puffs

INGREDIENTS:
2 (196g) packages instant vanilla/white choclate pudding mix
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk (or a little less)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

DIRECTIONS:
Mix together vanilla instant pudding mix, cream and milk. Cover and refrigerate to set.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Poke a small hole in each and leave the oven door a little ajar for a few minutes before taking them out. Centers should be dry.
When the shells are cool, either split and fill them with the pudding mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the pudding into the shells.
(If you want recipes for other fillings for the cream puff, you can go to my friend's recipe blog and also this blog.)

This is food to impress, especially if you drizzle some melted chocolate or icing sugar on top of the puffs for a nice last touch before serving. Try this one out with your friends. You can pipe them just like I did to make cream puffs (profiteroles) or you can pipe them in long strips to make chocolate eclairs and tantalize the children. Good luck.

5 comments:

fadli said...

Ibah oooiiiiiiiii
sampai hati buat makan makan tak ajak Fadli..
how ??
takkan call aku bila nak mintak career advice je kut ?...hehehe
Anyway, hopefully we can get together for iftar one of these days. You guys have my number and mobile. Sudi sudilah kiranya call.
I am in London till the end of the year.

halwafy said...

Fadli,

Sorry my friend - it was really a small affair and we invited 3 families who are living nearby - semua org dah beranak pinak or soon to beranak pinak, therefore kalau kau datang mesti kau lost. Anyway, I wasn't aware that you were around in London...insh next time ye...

Anonymous said...

hey snab, looks like you're on a roll!! hee hee... this one looks yummy, will definitely give it a try when i have the time. check tis out.. http://cupcakeblog.com/. the choc cupcakes are delish!!

eddy

(i lead a boring life hence no blog!)

jujuqtpie said...

Halfawy, here I am salivating as I copy your mouth watering recipe only to come to point where I write vanilla pudding mix. Vanilla pudding mix? And I stop. Dang! Where I am going to get that? And so there bursts the bubble of me eating cinnamon rolls that day. So I thought, I'll make cream puffs instead and it's that pudding mix again. What brand exactly is this pudding mix? Maybe I still have a chance.
Anyway, Halwafy, if I can cook and bake half as good as you, I think I'm blessed already. I have made cinnamon rolls in the past, ever since I got married, not once did they rise. Boo hoo. Do you have another recipe which might work?

halwafy said...

jujuqtpie,

Try looking for the pudding mix at TMC in Bangsar or Cold Storage..Or you can try this recipe without that pudding mix - I hear that it still works... BUT when you try making any sort of bread next time, try to get your husband to knead for you or anybody stronger - read on how to knead properly if you haven't. I suspect you have my problem - we're not strong enough to knead properly...that's why I ask for help when it comes to kneading the dough. You can also try using a mixer, a bread maker to prepare the dough for u or a very good blender....how? Cuba lah..would like to know the result..