Khalva

A rich pudding Khalva (khal-vah) is adapted from a traditional Russian recipe. It be served in small quantities at dinner and followed by cheese and biscuits . If you wish, other nuts may be used with, or substituted for, the walnuts.

12 fl. oz. milk

10 fl. oz. single cream

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornflour

½ teaspoon mixed spice or ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

6 oz. walnuts, halved

3 oz. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to warm 325 °F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C).

Pour the milk and cream into a medium-sized saucepan, reserving

3 tablespoons of the cream. Add the sugar and place the pan over moderate heat. Scald the mixture (bring to just below boiling point), stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cornflour and the reserved cream together until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Pour the scalded milk and cream mixture on to the cornflour mixture, stirring constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place the pan over moderate heat. Cook the custard, stirring constantly, until it comes to the boil, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the mixed spice or allspice, cinnamon and vanilla essence. Cover the pan and set aside.

Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with the melted butter. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake, turning the nuts occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until they are dark brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.

Place the nuts in a 1 1/2-pint ovenproof dish and pour over the custard. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the custard is thick and lightly browned on top.

Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately.

Kheema

Kheema (khee-mah) is curried minced meat. In India the meat is usually mutton, but beef is sometimes used. The Kheema is often combined with a vegetable and the name alters accordingly. For example, minced meat with peas is Kheema Matar and with cabbage is Kheema Gobi. If you prefer a fairly mild curry, use less chilli powder.

2 fl. oz. vegetable oil

4 medium-sized onions, thinly sliced

1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon hot chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 ½ lb. minced lamb or beef

1 teaspoon salt

3 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

In a large, deep frying-pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions, ginger and garlic. Reduce the heat to moderately low and, stirring frequently, fry the mixture for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Stir in the turmeric, chilli powder and ground coriander and fry, stirring occasionally, for a further 3 minutes.

Add the meat, increase the heat to moderate and, stirring frequently, fry for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the meat is well browned.

Add the salt and the tomatoes. Stir well, reduce the heat to moderately low, cover the pan and cook the kheema for 10 minutes.

Uncover the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste the kheema and add more salt if necessary.

Spoon the kheema into a heated serving dish. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and serve at once.

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