Oman dining: Let’s celebrate love with food

Lifestyle Monday 13/February/2017 20:30 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman dining: Let’s celebrate love with food

This triple layer red velvet cheesecake starts with a simple boxed cake mix and has a cheesecake layer in the middle. Mouth-watering cream cheese frosting covers the outside. Just the dessert for you and your valentine to end the evening with.

• 1 box red velvet cake mix, 16.25 ounces
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 cup butter softened
• 1 cup milk

For cheesecake:
• 32 ounces cream cheese softened
• 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
• 4 eggs room temperature
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For frosting:
• 8 ounces cream cheese softened
• 3/4 cup butter softened
• 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the dry cake mix, eggs, butter and milk. Mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Spray two 10 1/4” cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and then flour the pans. (If your cake pans are not the same size as your pan, you can use the pan to bake your cake layers so the layers come out to be the same size). Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and turn them onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you’d like to top your cheesecake with red velvet cake crumbles as I did, you can cut just the very top of the cake off the part that has domed slightly. You won’t need very much and no one will know the difference.
Once they cool completely, you can wrap the layers in plastic wrap and freeze them so the cake is easy to assemble and ice.

For cheesecake: In a stand mixer bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until completely smooth, which will be about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or so after each egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly mixed.
Spray a 10 1/4” baking pan with cooking spray. Wrap the sides and bottom of the pan in two layers of aluminium foil. Pour the batter into the pan. Place the spring form pan into a larger pan. Boil 1-2 quarters of water. Pour the boiling water into the larger pan until the water comes about halfway up the side of the foil covered pan.
Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees for about 45-55 minutes. The edges should be set, but the middle will still jiggle a bit. Turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour.
When the cheesecake is done baking, remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place the pan on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature. Then put the cheesecake in the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least 4-6 hours.
After the cheesecake has cooled, assemble the cake. Place a red velvet cake layer on a plate. If you’d like, level the cakes with a large serrated knife.

For frosting: Using an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, until it is thoroughly mixed. Add the vanilla and beat the frosting on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, cover the sides and top of the cake in frosting. Refrigerate the cake overnight, then store the cake in the refrigerator.

A refreshing, welcome drink that will set the mood for a perfect Valentine evening.

• 300ml pomegranate juice, freshly squeezed
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
• Juice from 2 lemons
• 10 to 12 ice cubes
• Pomegranate seeds for garnish
• Salt for rimming the glass

Keep all the ingredients ready. If you are using a store-bought pomegranate juice then you might want to check the concentration before you add the required quantity. Next step, combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until frothy and well combined. Keep the salt and the seeds for garnish aside, as salt will be required to rim the glass. Do this only when you are ready to serve the drink.
To rim your glasses with salt, pour the regular salt on a flat plate. Wet the glasses with some lemon juice using lemon wedges, then dip the rim of the glass on the salt and press it in, so the salt sticks all around. Pour the drink into the glasses and serve, garnished with pomegranate seeds.

The Spicy Mexican Salsa is a spicy and delicious dip that is made from blanched tomatoes, chopped jalapenos/ green chillies and tabasco sauce. It’s an appetising dip when served along with Tortillas chips or nachos. The perfect starter to kickstart a perfect Valentine evening.

• 6 blanched tomatoes,finely chopped
• 3 jalapenos
• 1 onion,finely chopped
• 2 green chillies,finely chopped
• 1/2 cup of coloured bell peppers, finely chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder(roasted and ground to a powder)
• 1 sprig coriander leaves
• 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
• 1 lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Salt to taste and a bit of sugar
• Tortilla or nachos to serve

To begin making the Mexican Salsa recipe, first blanch the tomatoes and remove the skin. Once the tomatoes are blanched, half them and remove excess seeds. You can keep some, as the pulp is important for the salsa.
Next, chop the tomatoes and place it in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining chopped ingredients into a large bowl. Squeeze in juice from half a lemon, add in some salt and a bit of sugar, some roasted cumin powder, generous drops of the tabasco sauce. Stir all the ingredients to combine. Finally add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and stir.
Transfer the Mexican Salsa to a chip and dip bowl and the salsa is now ready to be served along with tortillas chips.

A Valentine Day’s dinner doesn’t get much easier and delicious than this. Boil a pot of pasta, toss with a special, home made pepper sauce and spoon into a baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until bubbly, then serve with a tossed green salad and toasted bread.

• 1 packet of penne pasta
• 1 cup roasted red peppers
• 1/2 cup grated parmesan
• 2 teaspoons honey
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 250g mince meat
• 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
To make the red pepper sauce, combine red peppers, parmesan, honey and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add 2 tablespoons olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add mince and cook until browned, about 5 minutes and cook till mince is well done.Stir in pasta and red pepper mixture until well combined.
Add pasta to prepared baking dish and top with mozzarella. Place into oven and bake until cheese has melted, about 5-10 minutes.
Serve immediately.