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Sunday, September 29, 2002
What's Cooking

Instant gratification!
Geetu

WITH a promise of fast and nutritious cooking microwave ovens are fast replacing conventional ovens in several households. Still several homemakers hesitate to use microwave ovens for daily cooking purposes as several friends complain that their microwaves were good only for baking an occasional cake or for heating up food and thus were not being fully utilised. Cooking in microwave is quick and fuss-free if certain precautions are observed. This week we have some easy to make dishes that you can try in your microwave/convection oven.

Walnut tarts

Ingredients

Flour 3 1/2 cups

Sugar 1/2 cup

Lemon rind 1 1/2 tsp

Butter 180 gm

Brandy 1 tbsp

Water

 


For filling

Sugar 1 cups

Water 1/4 cups

Walnuts (chopped) 2 cups

Butter 60 gm

Thick cream 2/3 cup

Honey 2 tbsp

Brandy 1 tbsp

Topping

Egg yolk 1

Thick cream 1 tbsp

Icing sugar 1 tbsp

Method: Pre-heat oven to 230C. Combine flour, sugar, lemon rind and butter in mixer and process till the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. Add egg yolks and brandy to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll two-thirds of the dough into a 20 cm circle. Press into a greased 20 cm metal flan dish. Prick pastry several times with fork. Cook on high for 2 minutes and then on convection at 220C for 5 minutes.

For filling: Combine sugar and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes till sugar is dissolved, stir. Cook on high for 6-8 minutes or till the mixture is a light caramel colour. Stir in walnuts, butter and cream. Mix well and cook on medium for 5 minutes. Stir in honey and brandy. Spoon filling into pastry base. Roll remaining dough into strips and arrange over filling in a criss cross pattern. Combine egg yolk and cream and brush over lattice. Cook on high for 1 minute.

Choux pastry with mushrooms

The mushroom filling makes choux pastry more mouth-watering
The mushroom filling makes choux pastry more mouth-watering

Ingredients

Water 1 cup

Butter 40 gm

Flour 1 cup

Eggs 4

For filling

Mushrooms 350 gm

Butter 20 gm

Flour 3 tbsp

Chicken stock 1 cup

Tomato sauce 2 tbsp

Black pepper and salt

 
Method:
Combine water and butter in a microwave-safe jug. Cook on high for 3 minutes or till water boils. Using a wooden spoon beat in flour. Cook on high for 3 minutes. With an electric beater beat in eggs one at a time. Beat till the mixture is smooth and shiny.

Pre-heat convection oven to 230C. Place six large spoonfuls of mixture on a greased pizza tray. Cook on convection at 200C for 15 minutes. Cook further for a minute on 180 C. Make 2-3 cm slit horizontally in the side of each puff. Return to hot, turned off oven for 10 minutes. Place mushrooms and butter in a microwave-safe dish and cook on high for 3 minutes. Mix in flour add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes or till the mixture thickens. Cut a lid off each puff and fill with mushroom filling and replace lid.

Cauliflower in sauce

Ingredients

Cauliflower 500 gm

Cheese (grated) 1/2 cup

Oil 1 tbsp

Garlic 1 clove

Onion 1

Tomatoes 450 gm

A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Worcestershire sauce 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Method: Clean and cut cauliflower into flowerets and put in a shallow dish. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 minutes.

Make sauce by combining oil, garlic and onion. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Puree tomatoes and stir in these along with a pinch of dried marjoram. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Pour sauce over cauliflower and sprinkle cheese. Cook on high for one minute. Check seasoning and serve hot.

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Tips
for microwave cooking

  • Always cover food when reheating.

  • Less evaporation occurs in microwave so do not add extra liquid.

  • Do not grease plastic microwave cookware.

  • Always cook vegetables covered and add less water to preserve nutrients.

  • Pierce eggs and vegetables with membranes as these tend to burst in microwave oven.

  • Do not let metal tins or trays touch oven walls.

  • Glass or micro/convection safe plastic cookware take less cooking time.

  • Plastic wraps made from polyethylene or vinyidene chloride are safe to use in microwave. Do not use ordinary plastic or sandwich wraps.

  • Foil can be used to slow down cooking process. Foil is also good for preventing overcooking of uneven food pieces.

  • Excess air will toughen vegetables so use a right-sized container.

  • Do not add salt until the cooking process is complete as it will toughen vegetables.

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