Tira-Mi-Su with Fresh Raspberries

 

Preparation time: 45 minutes + 40 minutes cooking + chilling
Serves 6

Use a strong brew if a medium-roast coffee, prepared in a cafeteria or filter machine. You call prepare this either in a bowl or in a square dish, in which case you can serve it in slices. Raspberries complement the tira-mi-su beautifully, but use whatever is at its best and in season.

  • 175 ml (6 fI oz) cold strong black coffee
  • 6 tablespoons Kahlua or Tia Maria
  • 25 g (1 oz) caster sugar
  • 25 g (1 oz) vanilla sugar (page 9)
  • 3 large eggs (size 2), separated
  • 250 g (8 oz) mascarpone
  • 250 g (8 oz) 8%-fat natural fromage frais
  • 200 g (7 oz) savoiardi (sponge fingers)
  • Cocoa for dusting
  • Crème de framboise to taste
  • 375 g (12 oz) fresh raspberries
  • Icing sugar

Combine the coffee and coffee liqueur in a shallow bowl. Whisk the sugars and egg yolks together, and then beat in the mascarpone and fromage frais until smooth. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mascarpone mixture.

Spread a little of the mousse on the base of a serving bowl or dish. Dip the sponge fingers, one at a time, into the coffee mixture, until the sponge just starts to yield between your fingers. Cover the mousse with a single layer of sponge fingers and then smooth some more of the mascarpone mousse on top. Repeat the layering to give three layers each of sponge and of mousse, and then smooth the surface with a palette knife. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. Dust the tira-mi-su with sieved cocoa just before serving.

Meanwhile, sprinkle a little framboise over the raspberries, sweeten to taste with sieved icing sugar and set aside for 30 minutes. Serve the rasp- berries with the tira-mi-su.

Petits Pots au Chocolat

 

Preparation and cooking time: 15-20 minutes + chilling
Serves 6

  • 4 large egg yolks (size 2)
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz) double cream
  • 175 ml (6 fl oz) milk
  • 75 g (3 oz) milk chocolate
  • 150 g (5 oz) dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons Tia Maria
  • 125 g (4 oz) 8%-fat natural fromage frais

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Bring the cream and the milk to the boil in a saucepan, and blend into the egg yolks to form thin custard. Strain the custard through a sieve into a clean bowl, cover the surface with cling film and cool to room temperature.

Chop the milk and dark chocolate into pieces and place in a double-boiler or a bowl over simmering water until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally and removing it from the heat periodically. Blend half of the custard with the melted chocolate, and then add the rest. Stir in the Tia Maria, and then fold in the fromage frais. Spoon into small coffee cups, cover with cling- film and chill in the refrigerator until set.

White Chocolate and Lime Mousse

 

Preparation time: 15 minutes + overnight setting
Serves 4

White chocolate and lime is an inspired combination. Serve this with the dessert biscuits. 

  • 175 g (6 oz) white chocolate
  • 3 teaspoons gelatine (3/4 x 11 g/O.4 oz sachet)
  • 175 g (6 oz) 8%-fat natural fromage frais
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 3 dessertspoons lime juice
  • 4 large egg whites (size 2)

Heat 1 cm (1/2 inch) water in the bottom half of a double boiler, break the chocolate into pieces and place in the top half of the boiler and melt. Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatine on to 3 tablespoons of boiling water, leave for 3-4 minutes for it to dissolve, and then stir to make sure it has dissolved completely. If the gelatine has not completely dissolved, stand the bowl in a saucepan of just-boiled water until it has dissolved.

Beat the fromage frais into the melted chocolate. Mix 2 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture into the gelatine, then combine this with the rest of the chocolate cream. Stir in the lime zest and juice. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and gradually fold them into the mousse. Spoon the mousse into glasses, small bowls or one large bowl. Cover and leave in the refrigerator overnight to set.

 

Caramelized Cream Rice

 

Preparation time: 45 minutes + 40 minutes cooking + overnight chilling
Serves 6

Do not be alarmed by the amount of sugar used for the caramel, most remains in the dish, just a fine film of it actually coats the rice.

For the caramel:

  • 175 g (6 oz) caster sugar

For the rice:

  • 150 g (5 oz) risotto rice
  • 450 ml (3/  pint) semi-skimmed milk
  • 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey

For the custard:

  • 3 large egg yolks (size 2)
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey
  • 25 g (1 oz) vanilla sugar (page 9)
  • 330 ml (11 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
  • 6 tablespoons double cream
  • 125 g (4 oz) 8%-fat natural fromage frais
  • 3 teaspoons gelatine (3/4 x 11 g/0 4 oz sachet)

Method

To make the caramel, place the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and cook for about 7-8 minutes to a deep golden caramel swirling the mixture from time to time, Pour this on to the base of a 23 cm (8-inch) soufflé dish and leave it to harden.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the rice, cook for 5 minutes, and then drain it.  Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7/200°C (fan oven)/210°C (electric oven)  In a flameproof casserole on top of the stove, bring the milk, butter and honey to the boil, and then stir in the rice  Bring it back to a simmer, and then cover the rice with a circle of non-stick baking parchment and then the casserole lid  Place the rice in the oven, immediately turn the temperature down to Gas Mark 1/130°C (fan oven)/140°C (electric oven) and cook for 40 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the milk  Allow the rice to cool.

Meanwhile, make the custard. Beat the egg yolks, honey and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is pale yellow. Bring the milk to the boil, beat it into the egg yolk mixture and return it to the saucepan. Cook the custard over a very low heat until the mixture thickens and just coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow it to boil. Strain the custard into a large bowl, cover the surface with cling film and allow it to cool. Whip the cream to soft peaks then fold in the frornagc frais. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatine on to 3 tablespoons of boiling water, leave for 3 minutes and then stir to dissolve. If the gelatine has not completely dissolved, stand the bowl in a saucepan of just-boiled water until it has dissolved Mix a little of the custard into the gelatine, and then mix this back into the custard.

Add the rice to the custard and stir in the cream and fromage frais. Pour this mixture on top of the caramel, cover with cling film and leave it to set in the refrigerator overnight. To serve, run a knife round the edge of the mould and invert it on to a plate.

Sweet Shortcrust Tart Case

 

Preparation time: 10 minutes + chilling
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes (part-baked); 25-30 minutes (fully baked)
Makes a 23 cm (9-ineh) tart case
Select a 23 (9-inch) tart tin with sides 2.5 W/ (1-inch) deep,
and a removable base.

Ingredients

  1. 75 g (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 75 g (3 oz) caster sugar
  3. 1 egg (size 5)
  4. 200 g (7 oz) plain flour, sifted

Method

20 g (3/4 oz) ground almonds Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl with a wooden spoon until soft and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well combined. Gradually add the flour and ground almonds and bring the dough together. Wrap it in cling film and chill for at least an hour, preferably several: the dough will keep covered and chilled for several days. A food processor does this very quickly.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/180°C (fan oven)/190°C (electric oven). Allow the dough to come to room temperature for a few minutes, and then knead it until pliable. Butter the tart tin. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 3 mm (1/8-inch) thickness (it’s important not to make it any thicker) and use to line the base and sides of the tin, trimming the excess pastry from the top of the tart tin; reserve the trimmings (you will have about 175 g/6 oz) to patch any cracks once the case is cooked.

Line the case with baking parchment and dried beans. For a part-baked case, bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until starting to color removing the paper and beans 5 minutes before the end. For a fully baked case bake for 25-30 minutes and then remove the baking paper and beans. Allow the pastry case to cool before filling. If the tart is to be baked further with a liquid filling, fill any cracks with the reserved pastry trimmings first.

The Second Best

Mahrukh was standing in her graduation gown and cap with the tassel grazing the side of her face every now and then as if congratulating her upon receiving her degree. It was Graduation Day and the ceremony of conferring degrees on the graduates was over, soon to be followed by refreshments. The decorations were as grand as the day itself with the stage designed tastefully in bright shades of scarlet and gold and a big Convocation banner draped in the background. Beautiful flower bouquets were pinned all over the stage, making it appear like a ballroom in a royal palace. But to Mahrukh the most beautiful of all was the gold medal she held in her hands. Her gold medal, her most prized possession that was awarded to her upon securing first position. She stood proud, happy and satisfied. Every time the medal shone it brought a smile to her face that took her down memory lane to that fateful day three years ago. How time flies, she thought.

“What? No!” Mahrukh had exclaimed in utter disbelief when she had stared at the admission list displayed outside the gates of the university she had applied for admission. It said in clear big bold letters ,

Name: Mahrukh Rizvi- Department: English’ She had set her eyes on studying psychology. While filling up the admission form, there were five departments one could choose from. After selecting psychology as her first choice, she didn’t know what other subjects to jot down because firstly, there was nothing else she was interested r’,’ in and secondly she knew that her chances of admission in the psy- chology department were good. So in her second option she put down Literature in jest. But the list in front of her showed that the joke was not so funny after all.

Her world shook and everything seemed to buzz. Her vision had blurred with the tears that welled up in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks as she had begun weep- ing vociferously after seeing her dream shattering. There was just one thing she wanted to do then and that was to run away from all the grief, shock and horror.

“Are you OK?” a girl standing next to her had asked. But Mahrukh, too upset to talk had simply begun running at full speed, leaving behind a crowd watching her in surprise. But she hadn’t cared. She couldn’t worry about creating a scene when her boat was sinking. She kept lamenting for days, even weeks’ How could this happen?”, she had asked herself and those around her countless times.

“Find out if there’s been a mistake, try talking to the administration”, her older brother consoled, and for once in several days Mahrukh felt a little better because she could see some light at the end of the dark tunnel.

But to her utter dismay, she found out that was not possible as she was two percent short of the marks needed to make it into the psychology department. She was simply dejected. There was no other word for it. Life was so unfair. And devastated, Mahrukh stepped inside the classroom full of merry and excited students on the first day of class.

“How can you read that stuff? Does it make any sense?” Mahrukh had asked a classmate skeptically, wrinkling her nose, one day.

“Don’t knock it till you try it”, the girl, who went on to become Mahrukh’s best friend, had replied.

And sure enough, the more Mahrukh read and tried to understand the more she got engrossed. What did Shakespeare mean when he said “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, thou art more lovely and temperate”? As she understood the underlying meanings, with each passing day, she came closer to understanding life and this universe and what it was all about seeing it through the eyes of those who had the ability to see beyond the obvious. And soon enough, no one could explain what was in the books better than Mahrukh. Today she stood respected and admired by those around her and planned to join the university as a lecturer.

Now as she looked at the gold medal in her hands again she learnt one of the biggest lessons of her life that we should accept gratefully what God has decided for us as it is Him who knows what’s best for all of us and leave the rest to Him.

“Don’t stare at the medal as if you are going to eat it!” said her brother jokingly, pulling Mahrukh out of her thoughts.

Mahrukh joined her family and friends for refreshments. Both Mahrukh and her brother agreed on one thing that day: don’t settle for second best but sometimes it is the best, after all.

 By Samreen  Razi

I still remember the day we met

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I still remember the day we met

By Ushna Arshad Khan

I still remember the day we met,
You said, ‘Ushna be my friend’,
It was 26th of September the day we met,
We were best friends,
We had our fights but our good times too,
I just wish now that I would go back in time to be with you,
We always used to fight over Selena and Miley,
This made me smile,
Now I just wish that you were my best friend again,
And I hope this works as my apology.

 

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