Perad or Guava Cheese … made with Canned Guavas

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Guava Cheese or Perad is a quintessential Goan sweet that makes an appearance at Christmas time. Its flavourful and lightly chewy like a Guava gummy candy.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!

 
Christmas decorations have started going up all over the place, Christmas merchandise is in every store. And it’s probably just me, but when I see this, my mind starts to wander towards Christmas sweets (mind you that doesn’t take much). Yup, before we know it, Christmas will be upon us. I must admit, this is my absolute favorite time of the year. 
 
Let’s talk sweets now, shall we? What’s your favorite? Me, I love them all. Old school, traditional Kuswar, new age desserts and sweets, the whole lot. But of all of them I think that my favorite is the Goan Guava Cheese (almost like Guava gummies or candy, but better) known as Perad. I have previously posted a perad recipe using fresh guavas here. But here, in Sydney, I haven’t been able to get my hands on any fresh guavas, especially this time of the year. So imagine my joy when I came across this on one of my weekly grocery shops at my local Supermarket.
 
 
Ofcourse, I grabbed a couple of tins and knew that I had to try making Perad with them. (I have also used the “Koo” brand with the same great results.) I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be like using fresh guavas, but how different could it really be? So I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit and crossed my fingers while the perad cooked and set. To my delight, this was the best Perad I had ever made or eaten. So it’s safe to say from now on, while I can get my hands on these canned guavas, I’m going to stick to using it for my Perad.
 
 
 
 
Place some of the ghee on a large metal cookie sheet / baking pan and spread on the bottom and sides and keep this aside.

 

Drain the guava halves and reserve the syrup.

Scoop out the seeds and set aside.
 
Puree the halves till smooth and put the puree in a heavy bottomed vessel. Now Goan sweets are notorious for taking ages to cook, but I have found if you use a wider vessel, its cooks a lot faster because of the increased surface area. So I use a stainless steel 12″ Kitchenaid Skillet for all my sweets and it drastically reduces the cooking time.

 

Now place all the seeds, that were previously scooped out, in a strainer, add a couple of spoons of the reserved syrup from the cans and stir through the strainer to extract all the guava puree from the centres. You may need to do this a couple of times adding a tiny bit of syrup each time to extract all the guava. Add the extract to the pan and now discard the seeds.

I usually end up with about 370g pulp from the halves and about 250g from the centres. In all about 620g of guava pulp. Other recipes call for a lot more sugar, but since these are canned guavas in syrup they are sweeter than the fresh ones, so I’ve cut down on the amount of added sugar in the recipe.

Add the cloves and the sugar to the pan.

Place the pan on medium heat and stir continuously using a wooden spoon with a long handle. The guava mix tends to sputter and spit while cooking and the long handle will prevent the mix splashing on your arms. Make sure that when you stir, the spoon gets to the edges of the pan to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. If the mix sputters too much, lower the the heat and continue cooking.

When the mix thickens, extract the cloves carefully and discard. Continue cooking till it leaves the sides of the pan. Keep stirring.

Test to see if done. (Use water test – Place some icy cold water in a small bowl and drop a teaspoon of the sweet on it. If it firms up on cooling it is done. If it is still very soft or too sticky, it needs more cooking). 

When done, pour the mix into the greased pan. Using the back of a large spoon that has been greased with some ghee spread the mix to form an even slab and set aside to cool.

When it has cooled down a bit, using a knife that has been greased with some ghee, cut into cubes. You may need to grease the knife a couple of times while cutting to prevent it sticking.

When it has completely cooled, store in an air tight container. If you are making this ahead of time, or if it summer like in our part of the world, refrigerate till you are ready to use.

Enjoy!!!

 

Rocky Road Crunch Bars

A quick look at my blog posts for this year revealed something fascinating. I haven’t had too many dessert / candy kind of recipes make an appearance this year. I owe that to what used to be a very demanding job. Now that I’m taking some time off, I actually have the time to breathe, to stop and smell the roses, so to say. And one of the first orders of business is to rectify that. I decided that the 2-ingredient Almond Rocks was a good way to start and I needed another rocking recipe. And out of nowhere, I realized I hadn’t make any Rocky Road bars in ages. Turns out, I had all the ingredients needed to make some Rocky Road. So with a few minutes of prep and some time to set in the fridge, I now have a delicious batch of Rocky Road.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can switch it up so many different ways. You prefer a sweeter chocolate, use milk chocolate. If like me, you prefer a dark chocolate, use a darker variant. I used a 70% dark chocolate. I know to many of you, it may seem like it is a little too dark, but considering the recipe also uses marshmallows, biscuits and glace cherries, it balances out nicely. If however you need something in between, use 2 parts dark to 1 part milk chocolate of half of each, to suit your taste. This time around I used almonds but I have also made them with cashew nuts in the past and they work well. I think peanuts would be really nice too. So feel free to switch things up. 
Just before serving these bars, lightly dust them with some icing sugar. I put about a spoonful of icing sugar into a small sieve and lightly tap it over the bars. This gives it a lovely snow-like effect. These bars would be perfect to serve up as dessert for your Christmas or Holiday Parties or it could just as well hit the spot as a little treat as well. They would look really good on your Christmas platter too. 
Rocky Road Crunch Bars
Yields: 16 pieces

200g chocolate (I used dark chocolate. Feel free to use milk or part dark and part milk chocolate)
85g butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp golden syrup
100g Maria biscuits (Marie biscuits or any other Tea biscuits)
75g almonds
75g glace cherries
60g mini marshmallows
1 tsp icing sugar
Roughly chop the chocolate up into little pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will melt.
Place it in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the butter and golden syrup and place it on a low heat. Stir it every now and then to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan. 
When it has mostly melted, stir well and turn off the heat. You will get a silky syrupy consistency like this.
Roughly chop up the almonds and biscuits and set aside. It doesn’t need to be uniform in size.
Tip in all the add ins like the marshmallows, biscuits, almonds and cherries into a large mixing bowl.
Pour the molten chocolate over the ingredients.
Stir well to make sure everything is coated with the chocolate.
Line an 8 inch square cake tin with foil.
Pour the mix into the lined tin and flatten it out as best as you can using the back of a spoon.
Refrigerate for about 2 hours. 
When you are ready to cut, carefully peel of the foil. It is easier to do this now rather than after you cut it up.
Cut into pieces. I got 16 squares of about 2 inches each.
Just before serving, lightly dust with some icing sugar passed through a sieve. 
Enjoy!!!

Oreo Truffles

I have a little confession. A few years ago, I used to not like Oreo biscuits very much. There!!! I said it. But wait, I must also say this. A few months ago, I sorta flipped a switch. I happened to try one again, and I must say, I didn’t mind it at all. Don’t ask me what happened or how it did, but I can now say I actually like Oreo biscuits. So it was time that I reworked what was originally a recipe that used Oreos, which, when I first made, I actually substituted with another biscuit. But recently, I made them again using the real thing.

Sometime in August, we were celebrating a couple of birthdays at work and I decided I was going to bring a batch of these to the celebration. I was a little skeptical of how they would be received, but I shouldn’t have been. They disappeared. Not everyone had an opportunity to grab one, but some clever ones managed to get seconds, maybe thirds 😉 Those that had a chance to try them out, absolutely loved them. So turns out I didn’t have to worry about these at all. I’ve had a few people ask me for the recipe more than once. So I’m actually doing another post for it.

This is one of the easier treats I’ve made and if you have to take something sweet to a potluck, may I recommend making these. They will be an instant hit. Be warned, they are really moreish. You wont be able to stop at one.

Oreo Truffles
(Makes 1 dozen)

200g Oreo cookies (each packet is 137g, I just used 2 packets)
60g cream cheese
200g chocolate (I used 100g milk chocolate and 100g dark chocolate but you could use all milk or all dark or any ratio you prefer)
1/4 cup Candy melts (I used Yellow melts)

Blitz the cookies in a food processor till it reaches a fine crumb state. (If you don’t have a food processor, place the cookies in a ziplock bag and pound on them using a rolling pin.)

Stir in the cream cheese and mix thoroughly.

Roll them into balls. Refrigerate them for an hour so that the firm up.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds and stir. Then as needed microwave in 30 second increments stirring inbetween till the chocolate melts. The stirring helps the chocolate melt.

Line a cookie sheet tray with parchment paper.

Dip the cookie balls in the melted chocolate. Using a fork, let the excess chocolate drip off and leave them to set on the parchment lined tray. You can serve them up as they are or decorate them with sprinkles or chocolate then do that at this stage and leave it to set.

If you want to use sprinkles to decorate them, sprinkle them on the truffles just after you dip them in chocolate.

If you want to drizzle some chocolate or candy melts over, microwave them in a microwave safe bowl according to the package instructions. Pour it into an icing bag or a small ziplock bag, snip off the tip of the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the truffles. Leave to set.

Enjoy!!!

SRC – Holiday Treats: Cayenne Truffles

This month the fun gang at the Secret Recipe Club have decided to do a themed reveal in the run up to Christmas – yup we’re rounding up some amazing holiday treats. I almost missed out on this fun little event, but Sarah – our super awesome leader, kindly let me join in. I was assigned Camilla’s blog – Culinary Adventures with Camilla. I’ve known Camilla as a blogger for a few years now – lovely lady with an amazing blog. She has two wonderful little helpers that make an appearance from time to time.

I decided to try out her Cayenne Truffles for this weeks reveal. It is a simple recipe to make with some stunning results. But if you live in Australia, be warned, do not make it on the hottest day of the season, like I did. I had a little trouble forming them because of the weather, so they may not look as good as her’s did, but they were so tasty. The cayenne is not overpowering, but subtle and best of all, I was really pleased that I can now say I’ve made truffles at home. Thanks Camilla for a lovely recipe.

Cayenne Truffles
Yields: Approx 2.5-3 dozen truffles

8oz good quality bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1-2 pinches of cayenne powder
Unsweetened cocoa powder, to roll the truffles in

Chop the chocolate into small pieces.

In a small heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer.

Take off the heat, add the chocolate and the cayenne pepper to the pan and let it sit for about a minute or so and then stir together till everything has melted and mixed well.

Pour into a shallow bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Scoop out small truffle sized balls and place them on a plate and refrigerate till they firm up, about 15 minutes.

Take about 2-3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder in a little plate.

Roll the truffle mix into balls and toss them in the cocoa powder and ensure they cover the truffles well.

Refrigerate and enjoy!!!

Week 1 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats: Hokey Pokey or Homemade Honeycomb

Yay …. its another delicious edition of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (12WOCT). I look forward to this linky party every year. And each year, the participants come up with such fabulous treats, it never ceases to amaze me. I know, you’re wondering “why on earth is she talking about Christmas, its barely the end of September!” Trust me, before you know it, it will be the week before Christmas and I’d like to have a collection of yummy treats and ideas handy for you to try out, whether you choose to start whipping them up early on or not.

I was seriously doubting if I’d be able to participate in this years 12WOCT party. As you know, I’ve only just moved to Sydney and am just about getting settled in. More importantly, I don’t have an oven at my disposal. Can you imagine that? I’m feeling a little lost without one at the moment. But I decided to prove to myself that I can have an equally delicious Christmas platter with just a microwave and a stovetop. This year, look out for easy, quick and fun options that you can belt out, even if all you have is a little kitchenette, like I do. Every week for the next 12 Weeks I’ll post something yummy that should give you a few options for your own Christmas platter. If you don’t want to miss out on the fun, you can follow my blog on Bloglovin’ (button on the right),  and yeah, we’re on Facebook too, you can follow us here.

This week, I decided to kick-off the festivities with some home made Honeycomb. It’s a Nigella Lawson recipe which she refers to as Hokey Pokey. Whatever you decide to call it, you have to give this a try. And you know why? It will take you less than 30 minutes from start to finish to whip up a batch of this deliciousness. Also, you don’t need any fancy ingredients or equipment to make it. With just 3 ingredients and a stovetop, you’ll end up with some really delicious, golden Hokey Pokey. This will be a sure hit for folks who like their candy really sweet. It was a little sweet for my liking, but I know a few people who would devour the whole lot. I think this Hokey Pokey would be great crushed over some ice cream or dipped in some dark chocolate. I gotta try that soon. If this lasts, this candy is best stored in an airtight container.

This batch turned out a little darker that it should have and hence had a slight bitter touch to it, but we like a darker caramel anyway, so it worked out well for us. However, when I make my next batch, I will take it off the heat a little earlier.

Hokey Pokey
Recipe by: Nigella Lawson


1/2 cup caster sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 heaped tsp baking soda

Put the sugar and syrup in a saucepan an stir lightly to combine, before you can put in on the heat.

Do not stir once it is on the heat, or it’ll turn gritty and grainy, and you don’t want that to happen.

Place on the heat and let it melt and turn to a caramel-like gooey consistency.

You may swirl the pan if you’d like but please don’t stir.

Once the sugar has melted completely, take the pan off the heat and add the baking soda and quickly whisk it in.

Immediately turn it out onto some baking paper and leave it to set for about 15-20 minutes. (It may take longer depending on the temperature.) You can also pop it into the fridge once it has cooled down, to finish setting up.

Once it has set, roughly break it up into pieces, and there you go. You have some delicious homemade Honeycomb.

Don’t forget to stop by and check out what the other have whipped up this week. Also, if you’d like to participate in this 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats edition, stop by our lovely host, Brenda’s blog, Meal Planning Magic and fill out the form available here.

SRC: Caramel Popcorn

Hey, I’m back with SRC this month. After last months technical goof-up ended up with me having to sit out, I can’t tell you how happy I was to receive this months assignment. I can tell you this much, once you’ve been with SRC this long, having to sit out even for a month while the others play on can be a little bit of a dampener. It however was a lot of fun visiting the others. Thank you Jane for making it happen for us month after month here in Group A.

To check out my previous SRC assignments, click here.

Anyway, on to this month’s assignment. This was the first time ever I’ve been assigned an Australian blog, actually, I think its probably the first time I’ve spent this much time on one. My assignment this month was Leigh’s Chit Chat Chomp. What a fun name! And what a beautiful blog. Hi Leigh! I really enjoyed looking through your blog space this month. Leigh is from Melbourne and loves travelling and food. Her travelogues are very interesting. Though I didn’t have the time to go through them all, with Easter prep and stuff, I’ve bookmarked them to read through later. I think I could plan a lovely trip to Australia with tips from this lovely blog. Go on and visit her! You’ll have fun!!! Not to mention you’ll be drooling over her lovely food clicks and recipes. It was fun having so many lovely options to choose from. Oh did I mention that Leigh has a little weekend catering venture that she runs. I have a more than a few recipes I want to try out and I’m sure once you head on over there you’ll be in the same boat with me 🙂

For my assignment this month, I was on the lookout for some feel good food. I just got back from a 3-day weekend trip to Panchgani. More on that later. But coming back to the city had me down with a severe case of the blues. So when I saw Leigh’s caramel popcorn, I knew I was going to make it. Popcorn and caramel – two of my favorite things in one. Its tried and tested comfort food that makes you feel better instantly. Who am I to disagree?  Its simple and quick to put together and I enjoyed every bit of it. I halved the recipe this time around since I knew I’d have no problem polishing off the whole lot and didn’t want to be faced with that kind of temptation. And I was right to do so! What a treat this caramel popcorn is! I had to try really hard to keep myself from finishing it off. Lovely caramel flavor, with a tiny hint of honey! I’m so glad I now have a recipe like this in my arsenal. This will be perfect for parties and around Christmas!

Caramel Popcorn


40g popcorn kernels (I used a pack of Act II – classic salted)
1 tbsp butter
1/8 cup honey
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Cook the popcorn according to the manufacturers instructions.

For the caramel sauce, place the butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir it till the butter melts down.

Turn up the heat to a medium and bring the mixture to a boil for 3-4 minutes or until it turns golden and has thickened.

Take off the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda and stir well to combine.

Pour the sauce over the popcorn, mix to coat the kernels well and spoon onto a lightly greased baking tray to set.

Break into pieces and serve.

Check out these little chunks of deliciousness!!!

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Week 3 of 12WOCT: Candied Popcorn

Would you believe how time has flown by? We’re already at week 3 of our 12 week series where a group of wonderful bloggers posts about some yummy treat they would like to add to their Christmas platter of goodies or use as gifts etc. This week I am a little late, however I have a super quick, super easy and super yum treat to share with you. I came across this post while researching Raina’s blog for my last month’s assignment for the Secret Recipe Club. I was itching to try it out and it worked out wonderfully well that 12WOCT gave me an opportunity to do just that. I made it in typical Christmas colors – Red and Green, but you could simply use whatever color you’d like and use little packets of these as party favors as well. With a little pretty packing, ribbons and some embellishment, they’d made a pretty addition to a gift basket. Let’s talk about the taste, shall we? Its a lovely slightly salty popcorn flavor coupled with the sweetness of the sugary coating. So yes, it is sweet but it is hard to stop munching on them. So what are you waiting for? Go on then, and fix yourself a batch of candied popcorn. You’ll be enjoying them in about all of 15 minutes, 10 minutes if you have no patience and don’t mind trying them out while they’re still hot (like me 😉 ). Yes, they’re that quick to put together.

Candied Popcorn
Recipe from: Connor’s Cooking

1/2 cup popcorn kernels, unpopped
Salt, to taste
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp food color of your choice

Pop the popcorn kernels, salt to taste and set aside.

In a pan large enough to fit the popcorn and toss them, place the sugar, butter, vanilla, water and food color and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring continuously.

Cook for 1 minute at a rolling boil and remove from the heat. Add the popcorn to the pan and toss using a spoon to coat well.

Leave to set for about 10 minutes.

Serve or pack and store.

If you’d like to be a part of our 12 WOCT series, drop by our hostess Brenda’s blog, Meal Planning Magic and fill out this form and she’ll send you the details you need.

Don’t forget to check out what the others cooked up.

How to make Marzipan from scratch!!!

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve received numerous requests from readers for my marzipan recipe used for my Easter goodies. Its taken me this long to post it as I’ve got it scribbled on a tiny piece of paper and I haven’t had much time to hunt for it or type it out. But I finally managed to track it down and type it out. That too, just in time for Easter. So this post is for all of you who’ve waited so patiently for it.

This Easter, why don’t you try making some goodies at home. Marzipan is a little finicky to get right but I’ve used this recipe that specifies exact time for cooking it. That makes it easier to handle. I’ve used this for years now and find it easier compared to some of the other recipes. I know that traditionally marzipan calls for almonds to be used, however, cashew nuts are more abundant here than almonds are so this recipe uses cashew nuts. 
Marzipan

200gms Cashew nuts, ground to a powder
400gms Sugar
150ml Water
½ tsp Almond Extract
Melt sugar in the water over the fire on high heat.
After the sugar melts, add the powdered cashew nuts and stir on low
heat for exactly 7 minutes.
Remove on a flat dish and add the almond essence.
Allow it to cool by stirring with a spoon or spatula.
Bind into a dough, color and use as desired.
Note:

 – If the marzipan turns too dry add a couple of drops of rose water and knead till it reaches desired consistency.
 – If the marzipan is slightly moister than you’d like, knead with some icing sugar till it reaches the desired consistency.
 – If the dough is too moist, put in back on the fire for a minute or so and stir. This step is usually not needed. I had to do this just once when using a different stovetop and the lowest flame was way to low than what you’d find on a regular stove top.




Week 4 of 12WOCC – Chocolate Toffee Cracker Bars

This week I bring to you a treat like none I’ve ever tasted before. I’ve heard of love at first sight, but for me this was love at first bite, literally. The only thing I remember thinking as I savored every bite of this was “OH MY GOODNESS!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! And you know what, it wasn’t me. I wasn’t going crazy. My husband also thought this was one of the best treats we’d eaten ever. That is the highest honor and treat can every get in my home. And mind you, these little devious treats are addictive. For the fist time in a very long time, I found myself thinking of these bars every now and then and it took massive restraint to keep from wolfing these down.

I can’t really decide whether this is a cracker or a candy, but what I know is that this recipe is going to be treasured. I was really excited while making these bars because I got to use my new toy – the candy thermometer. Yes, I arrived at the decision that I had gone without one for too long. There were just so many wonderful delights out in blog land that called for a candy thermometer and I was done passing them by. So stay tuned and see what else I use this little magic wand of the sugar world for.
The Chocolate Toffee Cracker Bars are really quick and easy to put together. The most difficult part of this recipe was waiting for it to cool. By now you know, if there’s one thing I always struggle with, its the waiting 😉
Chocolate Toffee Cracker Bars
Adapted from: Baking with Lisa
Makes 35 bars
1 1/4 cups butter
35 Saltine crackers
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 can condensed milk (14 oz.)
350g semisweet chocolate chips (I used a bar, chopped into small pieces)
1 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Line a 10″x15″ Jelly Roll pan with aluminium foil, shiny side up.
Melt 1/4 cup butter and brush the foil thoroughly with this melted butter. I didn’t need all of it though.
Line the pan with the crackers.
Combine the remaining butter and the sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Boil the mixture till it registers 248ºF on the candy thermometer. 
Remove from the heat immediately and carefully whisk in condensed milk. Once the condensed milk has been incorporated well, pour it over the crackers, making sure they are all covered. 
Bake for 10 minutes. The top should be all brown and bubbly.
Scatter the chocolate all over the top and pop it bake into the oven for 5 minutes. 
Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon spread the melted chocolate to make sure it covers the surface completely.
Sprinkle the coarsely chopped nuts all over and gently press down into the chocolate to make sure they stick.
Cool down and then refrigerate till the chocolate sets.
Invert the pan on a clean surface, peel back the foil and cut into bars. Keep refrigerated.
Cutting options – 
1) Cut along the cracker edges for generous cracker sized bars.
2) Cut into quarters for little bites
3) Cut in half for fingers

This recipe is also linked to –
Friday Potluck
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets For A Saturday

Here’s what the others have brought to the table this week –