Monday, June 18, 2012

Tumeshiba At Ashibe :)

First of all, apologies for the very very long hiatus! I had lost my appetite both for food and writing and was waiting for my taste buds to get tantalized again. And tantalized in Tanzania they were at the new Japanese restaurant 'Ashibe'!

A friend and I went there for dinner last week and were pleasantly surprised. A very non assuming entrance led into warm cozy interiors with the cutest dividers you ever saw! The mouth watering aromas that smacked our senses as soon as we entered promised a delightfully delicious evening, and I'm pleased to say, we weren't disappointed. 

 We were seated in one the enclosures by a very attentive waiter and given the menu. There were many strange and unusual dishes tempting us and some, adventurous though I be, were a bit too much out of my comfort range to even attempt! :)

 We gave our order of a cold chicken roll appetizer, braised pork belly, and chicken wing skewers and sushi as our mains. Over drinks we discussed life, work and love in Dar and found ourselves thoroughly relaxed. The meal came in good time and our ever attentive and we found very knowledgable waiter was extremely efficient.

 The cold chicken roll was delicious! Chicken wrapped in spring onion served with the most gorgeous sweet sauce and various accompaniments. The side salad was extremely refreshing and the braised pork belly an unexpected delight of flavours and textures. The pork melted in the mouth and was accompanied by a delightful sauce! The chicken wings were also cooked to perfection, with the crispy skin crackling in the mouth and offering a wonderful contrast to the rest of the meal. I found that the sushi was not as good as our previous sushi experience at Kempinski (another post to follow later), but perfectly passable. The egg roll sushi was an interesting experience.

 The sauce accompanying the chicken roll was soooo scrumptious that I have no hesitation is admitting that I licked my fingers as I thoroughly cleaned the last drops off the plate and asked for more. Unluckily my request was turned down as they only had enough sauce for mains. :( All in all, a delicious evening and definately a place I shall be visiting more often.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Easy Peasy Something Like Cheesecake Recipe!

We all know there are thousands of cheesecake recipes out there. So I figured one more wouldn't hurt. :) In particular when it's something like cheesecake and not cheesecake! But as I say a rose by any other name would smell as sweet... And boy does this taste sweet!!!

So here goes: I had a nearly full tub of mascarpone cream in the fridge, (missing just one extremely large tablespoon from a naughty night of sneakily eating a large bowl of strawberries & cream). 

I also found the most gorgeous fresh in season strawberries at my neighborhood farmers shop and I bought a packet of vanilla sugar which I had no idea what I was going to do with. I made the usual biscuit base by crushing digestive biscuits and mixinng in melted butter to form a crumbly mixture. I layered this at the bottom of these adorable little glass jars that I picked up from Milimani a few weeks ago. I let the base chill in the fridge as I set about making the filling. 

 I chopped the strawberries into large pieces (I like the chunky texture of strawberry pieces, if you prefer a smoother feel, chop the strawberries very fine or you can even blend them later to create a sauce). I added the vanilla sugar to the strawberries in a pan and set it on low heat, stirring all the time. I added some caster sugar for added sweetness. Keep doing taste checks. 

 I cooked the berry mixture for about 10-15 minutes keeping an eye on the consistency all the time. When I felt that the strawberries were soft but not completely pulpy, I turned off the heat and let the mixture cool. When it was cool, I slowly added the liquid from the mixture & some strawberry pieces to the mascarpone cream and beat very gently. Be careful not to overbeat as the cream will split. I kept adding the liquid and stirring. The cream turned a lovely crimson blush colour. I also added some lemon juice as I like the tang of lemon against the sweetness of the cream. Keep tasting to make sure you have enough flavor and a good balance of sweet and sour. The worst thing I find with cheesecakes is a really bland center! 

 I proceeded to gently layer the cream filling on the biscuit base, topped with the rest of the strawberries. I then poured on the remaining liquid and set to chill in the fridge. The result was a creamy, tangy berry delight! Easy to make and sure to impress. Like my guest kept repeating 'are you sure you didn't buy this at the shops???'. I assured him that you cannot get these in Dar and anyhow there's just something a little more special to home made desserts. N'est pas? :D