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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Flavor of Holi on my plate- A Refreshing sinful new Taste in sweet

A Fantastic New Recipe for Holi- Coconut Mawa Kismis Khasta Kachori in Orange Coconut Milk Rabri sauce with Golden Spun Sugar  

As the spring vanishes into the waves of summer, the colors of Holi still remind you: it is still spring in the air. Today is Dol aka Holi and outside my home groups of children have gone crazy with colors, I hear their animated voices, their faces completely turned into color palettes, walking with their friends with color balloons n pichkari n perhaps coloring everyone who is coming their way-including the dogs perhaps-well that’s Holi my friends. 

Tomorrow is also Holi, today is celebrated as Dol amongst the Bengali people as today is gonna be the full moon night-Dol Purnima, Purnima means the full moon. I tell you these groups of children won’t settle anytime soon before 2 in the afternoon when their mothers will finally reach their end of patience- and why would they settle! It is so much fun putting colors over others and it comes once in a year where you have the freedom to go crazy with colors with your whole bunch of friends and that group increases as you put colors on strangers. I know what they have in their stock of colors-they have powdered colors of yellow, green, red, pink, violet, orange, they have water balloons filled with colored waters and apart from that they have a special color-which is the craziest one because when they put it on you it won’t get washed away easily until 4/5 days which is totally insane, if your face has been painted with that stupid color which is either deep purple pretending to be black or a horrible shade of green, you are like wasted for the next 4 days, but that’s also the crazy fun for the children who want to do it, so they like to carry the after marks.

The flavors are different in adults, the same spirit as with the children minus the innocence. One thing that is very popular is the use of Bhang- which is an edible thing made from the leaves n buds of Cannabis and it is the official drink of Holi and I tell you it makes people go crazy. It kinda frees up your mind, releases your anxiety and therefore you can enjoy more. With an overdose a lot of different things can happen in the level of craziness- like some people starts laughing like mad cows and they can’t stop until hours, while some starts crying and they can’t stop raining, while some women keeps on chopping all the vegetables she can lay her hands on and still thinks it’s not enough while a man can’t ride on a train in the station because the minute gap between the train n the station seems like a feet long gap…the list is really impressive.

So now I will talk about food, Holi is famous for fun, tough it is religious in its basic structure, that structure is munched away with the crispy snacks, sweets. A lot of different things are popular in Holi-the emphasis is more on bite foods, snacks – so crispy sweets n savory things make the air smell delicious, Gujiya is very popular which is a crispy friend dumpling filled with coconut n milk solids..Chicken is also popular but mostly in the dinnertime.

I love a ‘Mawa kachori’ – a crispy dumpling filled with concentrated milk solids mixed with powdered almonds/ cashew nuts/pistachios with cardamom, it is deep fried in vegetable oil or ghee, then it is soaked in a thick sugar syrup just so that it gets a coating n shine, and that crazy good to eat. So in my version of Holi sweet I wanted to play with it n push the flavors.

So in my version I have introduced the flavors of dry coconut n fresh coconut together, and the flavors of raisins/kismis and khoya/mawa- the use of raisins give that intense rich sweet flavor of the dry grapes with a slight tang to balance all that sweetness and the coconut takes it to a whole different level.

A very refreshing milk sauce provides flavor n moisture for the crispy dry kachoris, the milk is reduced to one third by simmering it slowly- so it almost reaches ‘Rabri’ but not quite, to that I added the fresh aroma of oranges in the form of orange zest and it makes the whole milk sauce sing. Finally I added coconut milk to that sauce to give a subtle depth of flavor and it’s really nice.

The golden embrace from the spun sugar makes it look unbelievable- the superfine caramel threads shine n glisten in the sun hugging the kachori and it makes it look so very special-a golden hug. When we bite into it we get the crispy sweet warm kachori, the chilled milk sauce and the crunchy subtle caramel- oh my god- it is really good an experience to eat that n you have take my word for it. 

I think you should make it so here is the recipe.

For The Recipe: you will need
For the Mawa Kismis Coconut Kachori:
Makes 6/7

For the shell:
All purpose flour- 200 gm
Ghee- 2 tbsp+ vegetable oil-1 tbsp (it can be total ghee or oil also)
Salt- a pinch
Water- close to ¾ Th cup, it varies
Vegetable oil to deep fry- 5 cups

For the stuffing:
Mawa/Khoya- 100 gm
Dry coconut- 1/2 a small dry coconut, cut into strips n brown skin removed, then almost powdered in a blender
Fresh coconut-1/4 Th fresh coconut flesh grated, then blended till smooth in blender
Kismis- 50 gm, soaked in water for 1 hour, then blended till coarse smooth
Sugar- 1 tbsp, powdered

For the Orange Coconut milk Rabri Sauce:
Milk- 500 ml, full-fat, simmered in medium low flame till 1/3 rd remains
Orange zest/peel- ½ orange
Coconut milk- obtained from ¼ fresh coconut, if using from cans use ½ cup
Sugar- 3-4tbsp
Salt- a pinch

For the Sugar Syrup to coat:
Sugar- 100 gm
Water- 50 gm
Green cardamom- 1 crushed slightly

For the spun sugar:
Sugar- 3 tbsp
Palette knife is needed to prepare the fine threads

1.  First let’s make the milk sauce, take full-fat milk  in a heavy bottom wide vessel/kadai/wok and make it come to a boil, then reduce heat n simmer, with a metal spatula or big spoon scratch the sides n bottom of the wok so that nothing sticks to the bottom n side, incorporate the scratched milk solids into the sauce, scratch every 2 minutes, reduce until one third remains in the wok which will take about 25-30 minutes, it is important to use a wide open wok and not a narrow saucepan because in that evaporating the milk will take much longer.
Grate fresh coconut, make 1/3 cup water come to a boil, then soak the coconut in that water for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes pick up and press the coconut as hard as you can to squeeze out as much milk as you can.
When the milk has been reduced to one third add the coconut milk and the orange zest or strips of orange peel cut really thin with a sharp knife which has no white parts, and simmer for 5 minutes, then add sugar, then take it off the heat, when it attains room temp. Chill it in the freeze for an hour.
2. We will make the crispy pastry now, add the ghee n oil to the flour, add the salt and distribute the fat by rubbing with your hands into the flour until the whole things goes lumpy  which will take about 2 minutes, after that add a little water and make the dough come together, add a little more n do the same, add a little more until the dough comfortably comes together, not a tight dough but softer than that, so as the dough just comes together add another 1 tbsp/2 tbsp little more,  because we want the dough to be slightly softer than that, then knead the dough for 2 minutes n it will just begin to go smooth, stop at this point, we don’t want to knead the dough any more , we don’t want to develop the gluten anymore, so cover the dough n rest for 15/20 minutes.
3. In a frying pan on low heat add the mawa and crumble it with your hands, give it 4 minutes on low heat and it will start to get slight brown color, stir the mawa in between, when the mawa has slightly brown bits, add the kismis paste and stir for 1 minute, then add the fresh coconut n give it 1 minute, then add the dry coconut powder and mix well, give it 2 minutes on low heat, the mixture will be slightly wet at this stage, only slightly wet, that’s fine, when this will cool it will dry more, take it off the heat on a plate and let it cool, when cooled add the powdered sugar to make it a little more sweet, don’t make it very sweet, the mixture is already sweet from mawa, kismis, coconut , so add a little sugar about 1 tbsp or less to increase the sweetness.
4. Get back to the dough and divide the dough into 7 equal balls, take one ball n place on a flat surface n press it with your palm to flatten it slightly, pick up n flatten it again in another direction, then pick up and make a depression in the middle with your thumb , then go on expanding that depression as you turn the dough around within your fingers and increasing the depth of the depression as you rotate, we want to give it the shape of a small cup shape where it will hold the stuffing, so when the depression has a diameter of 2/2 ½ inches, take 1 ½ tbsp of the stuffing and slightly press it in that depression , then bring the opposite two sides of the dough cup together n seal them by pressing, then do the same to one side to bring the ends together, then on the other side, then hold all the edges together to completely cover the stuffing and press gently , then rotate to seal  it well, then press the sealed point lightly on the dumpling itself, then place the sealed side down on the flat surface and press gently to flatten it a bit. Prepare all the dumplings like this.
5. Heat the 5 cups of oil in a deep wok to medium hot, the oil should not be very hot but only slightly hot, when you place a little ball of dough in the oil it should drown n begins to sizzle after some 6/7 seconds, the kachoris need to fried at a low temperature to get them crispy and it will take 10 minutes for the whole process, when the oil is ready, take one kachori and place it on your palm then by the side of your other palm flatten it gently, pick, rotate n press again all around, work gently and flatten n increase the size of the kachori gently, you can also pick n press all around within your fingers, the final kachori will have a diameter of 3 to 3 ½ inches, drop the kachori gently one by one, at one time you will be able to fry about 3 /4 kachoris.
The kachori will drown first in the oil, in a minute it will start to float up on the surface, give each side about 5 minute, with a slotted spoon brush the top sides with the hot oil gently as the kachori floats up in the oil, we want each side to be light brown, so when one side is light brown, flip n let the other side attain the same, then drain on a plate. Finish all the kachoris like this.
6. For the sugar syrup, place the sugar n water n cardamom  in a wok and let the sugar dissolve, then bring it to a boil n boil it until it gets to a consistency like honey, which will take about 8-10 minutes, when you place a drop of the syrup on a plate n then you taste it between your fingers it will form one string, it is ready, switch off the flame, place the fried kachoris into the syrup and coat on both sides, then drain n place them on a plate.
7. For making the spun sugar we need to make caramel, so take 3 tbsp of sugar n same amount of water and let it come to a boil n reach caramel stage, we want dark caramel, so when it reaches dark caramel remove from heat and dip the tip of the palette knife into that, drip off the first few drops and flick it quickly over a plate and you will see long hair like caramel thread are forming, flick it really fast.
In each plate place some orange coconut milk rabri sauce; place a kachori on it, then with the spatula produce the spun sugar to coat each plate completely with that. When the caramel solidifies, you again take that back to heat to liquefy, then come back n work quickly with the spatula, flick fast to coat the kachoris on the plate, then pick up all the threads by hand and shape them the way you want. 

Oh my god…you did it…its ready…. they look stunning, don’t they just look so cool? And now after all this hard work achieving this beauty, it is time to taste, with a spoon break one kachori, take some sauce with the kachori and taste it…
Bon appétit. Subho Dol Yatra n Happy Holi.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Bold N the Beautiful –Chicken Schnitzel

The Charm of a Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with lime zest, Cardamom, Cinnamon with Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce and Wasabi Yogurt Raita 

Let’s utter the truth in the first sentence- a chicken schnitzel is intoxicating, exciting, amazing. If you have never tried this before, it can change the way you eat chicken after you eat this, let me assure you that. It will make you fall in love with it from the first bite, it will take control of your mind and make you cook this again n again- well fair enough-especially when it tastes this good n rather easy to cook, just remember the magic sequence- flour-egg-breadcrumbs.

The chicken schnitzel is a chicken cutlet, schnitzel is the German word for cutlet, the term is applied to chicken or meat that is coated in bread n fried until crispy and there lies the magic apart from the flavor- it is the crispy texture of the food that is so appealing to us, the bread coating with the egg beneath it- gets crispy n flavorsome in the process of frying and the chicken inside stays soft n juicy- this is the kind of food which makes my eyes closed when I’m eating them- you know what I mean…bliss.

Now you know me, I love to incorporate flavor in my food n I have not got very straight hands even when cooking a traditional recipe, I will eventually modify it. Thankfully there is no set recipe for chicken schnitzel, I mean there is but it’s flexible and almost in every country we will find food in this structure. Here in this part of India I grew up eating chicken culet n chicken Kobiraji cutlet all the time, so it is kinda in my genes. By the way let me tell you that chicken Kobiraji cutlet is a cutlet covered with crispy egg all around it n it is total fried heaven.

So talking about flavor, I begin by marinating the chicken breast overnight with lime juice, minced ginger n garlic, dry rosemary, sliced red chili, a touch of salt n sugar, if you have skipped overnight marination, give it 2-3 hours. Marination does help in two ways, first it incorporates flavor into the flesh, second it makes the chicken soft because the lime juice is an acid so it starts breaking down the protein molecules slowly, and as the result of marination the chicken breast stays soft n juicy n flavorful when being fried. So I would normally never skip marination but if you have got no time at all… you can skip it.

The second stage of flavors come after I make the chicken breast go thin with a meat hammer, you need a meat hammer to beat the chicken breast until it goes quite thin like 1/2 cm in thickness or a little more, you can also do this with a heavy rolling pin, you have to place the chicken breast inside a zip lock bag or between two plastic sheets or like I do it-directly over my chopping board.

Once the breast have been flattened to uniform thickness I sprinkle the roasted black pepper, green cardamom, cinnamon powder over it and it is ready for getting coated in breadcrumbs.

It is a very good idea to make your own breadcrumbs; the flavors are far more better than if you use store-bought breadcrumbs. I take a day or two old white bread, on a flat thick pan I toast the bread over medium low heat until it gets light brown, then take them off the heat n then blend them in a blender or food processor until it is crumbly n I don’t make it go smooth, neither will you.

I love raita, the tang of the yogurt goes well with the crispy rich schnitzel, in my raita I have introduced the sweet pungency of Japanese Wasabi- it gives raita a new flavor dimension, in the raita you can also add chopped cucumber along with red onion n tomatoes.

Another sauce that is just so good to eat with the schnitzel is the sweet chili garlic sauce, the heat from the red chili, the sweetness, the touch of vinegar- I tell you it’s mouth-watering with the schnitzel n it takes just 7 minutes to make it, that’s all.

But let’s just say you don’t wanna make any sauce, you know what! Tomato ketchup…oh yes, break apart your schnitzel n dip them in the thick tomato sauce n I don’t know what to say again. The schnitzel is just very good on its own, I love it hot n cold equally, and so will you, I love to carry these kinda food to your workplace or on a journey, so now I will take you to the recipe.

For The Recipe: You will need

For the Schnitzel:
Chicken Breast- 1 about 250 gm, made boneless
Egg-1 big
Breadcrumb- made from 2 big slices of white bread which is about 1 cup
Flour- 3-5 tbsp
Garlic-1 small clove
Ginger- ½ inch
Lime juice-juice from ½ a lime
Lime zest- from 1 lime
Rosemary- A pinch
Green cardamom-1, slightly roasted n powdered
Cinnamon-1 inch piece, slightly roasted n powdered
Black pepper- ½ tbsp, slightly roasted n powdered
Red chili powder- a pinch
Salt –to taste
Sugar- a pinch
Vegetable oil- soybean/sunflower oil to shallow fry, about 1 ½ cup

For the Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce:
Red chili fresh-1
Red chili dry-1
Garlic clove- 2, finely chopped
Rice Vinegar- 4 tbsp
Sugar- 1 tbsp
Water- 4 tbsp
Salt- a pinch

For the Wasabi Raita :
Yogurt- 5 tbsp
Red onion- ½ medium, chopped
Tomato- ½, chopped
Green chili-1 sliced
Curry leaves- leaves from 1 stalk
Mustard seeds- ½ tsp
Wasabi paste- ½ tbsp
Sugar- ¼ tsp
Salt –to taste
Pink rock salt- a pinch

1. First of all take a boneless chicken breast and marinate it with lime juice, lime zest, minced garlic n ginger, dry rosemary, a pinch of salt n a pinch of sugar, keep it overnight, covered in a plastic container preferably n not in a metal container, if you have forgotten to do it before give it 3 hours to marinate.
2. For making the breadcrumbs, place the bread on a flat tawa/pan on medium low heat, and  make them go light brown in color which will take about 6/8 minutes on medium low flame, then put them off the pan, after they cool down a bit, tear them n place them in a blender n blend them until they get uniformly crumbled n small in size, we don’t want a smooth powder, so work carefully, we still want small size granules of bread in the final texture.
3. To make the sweet chili garlic sauce, place all the ingredients in a pan over medium low heat n simmer for about 8-10 minutes until it thickens a bit, that’s all.
4. To make the wasabi raita, whisk the yogurt until it is smooth, season with salt, sugar, pink rock salt, then add onion, tomato n green chili n wasabi paste, mix well. In a frying pan take 1 tsp of oil n when the oil is hot add the mustard seeds, as they pop add the curry leaves and remove from fire, add this whole thing into the yogurt n mix well, set aside.
5. After marinating place the breast on a chopping board or between two plastic sheets and with a meat hammer or heavy rolling pin beat the breast to flatten n thin it uniformly, so start beating first in the middle portion where the breast is thick and work outwards. Don’t beat it fiercely though but firmly, have a look while you are beating at which parts are getting thinner quickly, so you need to avoid those places so that it stays uniformly thick, finally the breast will tenderize n expand in size, you want a thickness of ½ cm all across.
6. Season the flat breast with salt n the powdered cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, pinch of red chili on both sides. Tale 3 flat plates, in one sprinkle the flour uniformly over the plate, in the 2nd beat the egg uniformly, in the 3rd spread the breadcrumbs uniformly.
7. Place the flat breast first on flour, press n flip for the other side to coat, now see the areas which are still not coated, coat both the sides carefully until it is coated all over, then shake off excess flour. Then place the breast in egg mixture n coat uniformly on both sides, drip off excess egg then place it on top of the breadcrumbs, press lightly, then flip n coat it on this side, Keep it on a dry place for a minute, then pick it n coat it in egg again, then place it in the breadcrumbs again n press well, flip n do the same, press lightly so the breadcrumbs stick to the breast uniformly, finally place it on the dry plate.
8. In a shallow flat frying pan heat the vegetable oil on medium heat, the oil should be moderately hot, to test drop a piece of bread in the oil n it should begin to sizzle with bubbles n in about 15 sec it will go brown, if the oil is too hot the outside layer of bread will go brown while the chicken won’t be cooked inside, so when the oil is medium hot place the chicken cutlet carefully in the oil, it should begin to sizzle, increase the flame to high for 7 seconds then turn the flame to minimum, check with a fork after 2 minutes lifting up the cutlet how much browning has happened, it should be light brown, give it another 2-3 minutes, we don’t want the cutlet to be very dark brown, so when the lower side is well browned, flip it carefully n give it another 4-6 minutes, until that side also gets well browned. When you achieve this take it out on a plate on paper napkins to soak the extra oil, don’t cover the schnitzel.

Wow and its ready! Time to taste, first look at the crispy schnitzel and touch it to feel the texture, smell it n then take your first bite without any sauce, I can hear the sound of crunch as you munch on, crunchy heaven….so  good isn’t it? Go on munching…Bon Appétit.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Cakey Kiss of an Orange with a touch of Dark Chocolate n Fennel

An intense Orange Cake with layered Orange Curd, fennel flavored whipped cream on top n Dark Chocolate shavings 

The goodbye of the winter comes with the disappearance of fresh oranges slowly from the local market n I never wanna say goodbye to oranges, partly because citrus are one my favorite flavors n aroma and because oranges are oranges n I just love the color orange. In fact my favorite color is yellowish orange which reminds me of the sun at dusk n dawn n fire n off course the oranges themselves. So before the oranges say goodbye I captured them in this cake-hoping this recipe would last forever n please us time n time again.

I have memories of making orange cake before, possibly last year I made them in my sister’s home-orange cupcakes n I have memories of reading about orange cakes from one of my favorite cookbooks-Recipes from a Provencal Kitchen by Michel Biehn n Bernard Touillon n I used to imagine the aroma reading that recipe n the description. But my cake comes from my experience of flavors that go well with orange, in my cake I have used fennel seeds known as ‘Mouri’, ‘Saunf’ in Bengali n Hindi respectively, this spice is aromatic with a soft aniseed flavor n it goes well with both orange n chocolate.

So the cake formed itself in my mind and I was looking for an opportunity to incorporate these flavors into the cake, so I slightly roasted the fennel seeds n pounded them until smooth n I mixed them into the cake batter and later on I used the same powdered form into the whipped cream. I was also looking for opportunities to produce a real soft light cake –that will mean incorporating air into the batter in many ways so the cake comes out light as a dream.

So there are many ways to incorporate air into a cake batter- we can use leaveners, we can use whipped egg whites to give more air, we can use more sugar while creaming the butter n sugar together, we can use heat while beating the eggs to stabilize them holding more air-so in this cake I whip the egg whites to almost stiff peak and then folded them into the batter. I creamed the sugar n butter very well for a good 7 minutes until it became really light n pale.

 I used fresh orange juice in the cake which is an acidic ingredient, so I used Baking Soda to react with that acid n produce air bubbles n therefore making the cake light, I also used Baking powder which reacts in 2 parts, once as it comes in contact with water, second when it goes inside the oven-the heat initiates another reaction producing more air bubbles.

I wanted the cake to speak of orange mainly with background flavors of fennel n dark chocolate, for that I used the orange zest because that has the essential oil n fragrance of orange which is so very beautiful, and how will I make a good orange cake without either the orange zest n the fresh orange juice!

And there is more, the two layers of the cake hold a sweet secret- a beautiful delicious orange curd, rich with egg n butter n orange. It kicks the orange flavor to a new height; at the same flavor it provides moisture.

When you bite into the cake you get this amazing orange flavor, then in the background you experience this subtle flavor from fennel seed and once in a while a little dark chocolate comes n seduces you but you never lose your focus from orange…it’s a beautiful bite-every flavor is in harmony n married to each other.

So now I will take you to the recipe.

For The Recipe: You will need

For the Cake Batter:
Orange juice- 2 medium sized, peeled, seeded n juice extracted
Orange zest- zest of 3 oranges grated on a grater/zester
Butter- 150 gm, at room temperature, unsalted
Cake Flour/All purpose flour-150 gm, sifted
Caster Sugar/Powdered sugar- 150 gm
Eggs- 3 at room temperature, yolk n white separated
Lime juice- ½ tsp
Baking Soda- ½ tbsp
Baking Powder- 1 tbsp
Fennel seed- 1 tbsp, slightly roasted n powdered
Salt- 2/3 pinches, skip salt if butter is already salted

For the Orange Curd:
Orange juice- from 1 orange
Orange zest- from 1 orange
Eggs- 2 medium eggs
Sugar powdered- 30 gm
Butter- 50 gm, at room temperature

For the Fennel Whipping Cream:
Whipping cream Dairy/Soy- 300 gm
Fennel seed- 1 tbsp, slightly roasted n powdered to smooth
Sugar- 40 gm superfine sugar, skip sugar if your cream is already sweetened

Pre-heat your oven at 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit
You will also need Dark chocolate shavings- you can do this with a big Chinese chopper, cutting the bar really thin n the stripes roll themselves as you slice them really thin or with a sharp knife scrape along the bar and you will see rolled up shavings coming out.

1. Begin by lightly buttering your 8 inch cake tin n layering the cake tin with baking parchment paper n also butter it, in a big bowl cream together the powdered sugar n soft butter with a big whisk or electric hand mixer or stand mixer, do it for a good 6/7 minutes and the mixture will go light n pale, we are trying to incorporate as much air as we can at this stage.
2. After that add egg yolk no.1 n beat it in really well until the mixture is uniform, then add yolk no.2 n do the same, then add yolk no. 3 n do the same. After that add the oranges zest and mix it in well, then add half of the orange juice and slowly whisk it in until the batter becomes smooth again, then add the rest half and do the same.
3. In a big clean airy bowl take the 3 egg whites n add the fresh lime juice into it, then start beating it with a wire whisk or electric hand whisk or stand mixer with whisk attachment, first it will go to ribbon stage , then it will form soft peaks, then it will go towards stiff peak, when the egg white is at soft peak stage that is when you lift them with the whisk they don’t stand straight , add 1 tbsp of powdered sugar and whisk on, after 1 minute add another tbsp of sugar and whisk, soon they will reach to stiff peak when they will just begin to hold their shape, stop at this stage. We don’t want to reach full on stiff peak stage because after that the egg whites will have no more capacity to expand any more when they go inside the oven. We want our egg-whites to expand further in the heat of the oven, so we will stop just as it reaches stiff peak, just there- this is important.
4. Take the creamy sugar, butter, egg yolk mixture- sift the flour and the baking powder together and mix with the whisk until it becomes a uniform mixture, don’t do it for a long time, just as the batter becomes uniform it is done, add the powdered fennel seed powder and mix it in, then take 1/3 of the egg white and vigorously beat it in the cake mixture to loosen it up for30 sec, then take a silicone spatula and take another 1/3 of the egg white n softly carefully fold it in by going in a rotating motion from the outside of the bowl towards the centre, lifting up the mixture and cutting through when you go in again, rotate the bowl with every lift, do the same with the remaining portion of the egg white. Finally sift the baking soda over the batter, spreading it everywhere as you sift and again mix it well. Then pour the batter in the cake tin, place the tin on a baking tray and put it into the hot oven for about 35-40 minutes.  Every oven behaves in a different way, so keep an eye on the cake, after 35 minutes the top of my cake had no color, so I put the top grill on and I gave it 2-3 minutes more and the top became golden brown, test it with a skewer by inserting it into the cake n it should come out clean, when you touch the cake it will spring back and you will see the sides of the cake shrinking from the metal tin.
This is one of the characteristic of cakes done with folded egg white that when done the cake shrinks from the side of the pan. So now put the cake pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then take the cake out and place it on the wire rack to cool down. The cake needs to cook completely so that we can slice it, once cool the cake needs to go into the refrigeration to firm up for 4/6 hours so that we can slice it in 2 parts.
5. For the orange curd, prepare a water bath, pour water in deep bowl n make it come to simmer, then mix the orange zest n the sugar together in a medium bowl, then add the orange juice n mix well, then whisk the eggs in another bowl then add to the orange mixture n mix well, add the room temperature butter to the mixture and place this mixture  over the simmering water bowl making sure this bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water, whisk constantly for the first five minutes, then whisk every 1 minute so that eggs don’t scramble, if the heat if becoming too high you feel lift up the bowl n control the temperature, then bring it back n stir often, after 20 minutes this mixture will thicken n go pale, this is orange curd, pour it into a bowl n let it cool.
6. Now we will whip the chilled cream, the cream needs to be chilled so that we can whip it to its full volume, so chill the cream in the fridge for 12 hours before you whip it and chill the bowl n the whisk for 2 hours if you are using dairy cream, if using soy cream you can skip it, so whip the cream until it begins to hold shape which is stiff peaks, then add the fennel powder and whisk it in, set aside in the refrigerator.
7. Now we will assemble the cake, take the cold cake out of the refrigerator, with a sharp big knife give light cut marks along the perimeter of the cake first to devide it in half, then as you rotate the cake cut a little into the cake, in this way you will get a smooth slice of the cake , carefully lift up the top layer and then take the orange curd and smear it generously over the bottom layer with a palette knife, then place the top layer carefully over it, then take the whipped cream and smear it over the surface with the palette knife and then put some of the cream in a piping bag and pipe over the cake into a beautiful pattern-just the way you like it,
Take the dark chocolate shaving and arrange it over the surface-in between the piped designs or just the way you like it, then drop some of the remaining orange curd over the piped cream, finally slice some orange cloves and open them up and place them over the cake and hey there! It seems you are done.

Now you can eat the cake but I will suggest you place the cake in the refrigerator for 1 hour, so after an hour take the beauty out and first show it to everyone, create the anticipation, then gather everyone and keep a sharp knife ready, slice through the beauty with uttermost love and then it approaches your lips...the moment, let it kiss you and then you get the taste, you get the aroma. Sooooo good right! Bon Appétit.