Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
20g plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75g butter, cut or grated into small pieces and softened
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Enough chilled water to make a dough
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I start this post by sending out my sincerest wishes for the safety and welfare of the citizens of Christchurch, New Zealand, a beautiful English-style city that was badly damaged yesterday lunchtime by an earthquake, and unfortunately people were killed and injured in the process. Please pray for the people of Christchurch.
I received some really good feedback recently on my post about pancetta green beans, with one comment that there are not enough side dishes posted about. In that vein, this post is about another side dish that beetroot lovers everywhere will adore - salt roasted beetroots with orange and ginger sauce. I came across this recipe via Jonathan at Around Britain with a Paunch, who found it on an Amazon book review for chef Marcus Samuelsson's book, Acquavit.
As the name of the dish suggests, you roast up beetroots on a bed of salt, with a head of garlic:
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Here is my scone spread with Nuttelex - for work, I split the scones in half and spread them with sour cherry jam.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I am attracted by the unusual - something a little different from the norm that strikes my fancy. Recently in my pilates class, one of the girls was talking about her in-laws making dumplings with fresh apricots, sugar cubes, potato dough and breadcrumbs. I immediately knew I wanted to make these dumplings, so off I went to Google to do a search, and found this recipe for Austrian apricot dumplings. I only made a half batch for the purposes of this experiment.
Making these dumplings is a really cool process, and I have never seen anything like it before. First, you slice open an apricot 2/3 of the way round and remove the stone, then replace it with a sugar cube:
In the meantime, you boil up some potatoes, mash them well, and make a dough with the mashed potato. (I had to use a lot more flour than suggested to get a dough that I could work with.) You then wrap the dough around the apricots to form balls:
I only managed three dumplings out of my half batch of dough. Oh well.
You then boil these rather large balls for 10 minutes in salted water, then let them drain on paper towels before sprinkling them with fried breadcrumbs and sugar.
During the boiling process, the sugar cube in the centre of the apricots melts, so that the dumpling is savoury on the outside and sweet in the middle.
These were definitely different. I enjoyed them for a change (though I can only manage one at a time - they are huge), but now that I have satisfied my curiosity, I probably wouldn't make them again other than as part of an Austrian themed dinner.
Have a great week.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 stems lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped
3 crushed cloves garlic
4 birds eye chillies, finely chopped (I used two ordinary chillis)
300g skinless pork neck cut into 2cm cubes
(optional: fresh coriander and sliced cucumber to serve)
Friday, February 18, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon rosewater (I used vanilla)
pink food colouring
1 1/4 cups dessicated coconut
Friday, February 11, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Remember the coconut ice that I posted about earlier this week? Well, in keeping with my pink lolly theme, I also made Racquel some musk sticks.
Musk sticks are little sticks of sugar flavoured with edible musk oil and coloured pink, although there are certain "fruit sticks" out there (with no fruit actually included). Some bloggers who have not grown up with musk sticks and their cousin, musk lifesavers, think musk sticks smell and taste like grandma's handbag. However, I have grown up with them and I love them.
Since Frankie published a recipe for musk sticks in its Sweet Treats last year, they have been popping up all over the blogosphere. If you are tempted to make your own musk sticks, you can find the recipe here. This recipe makes musk sticks that are crisper than the chewy commercial version, but provided that you use musk flavouring, they taste the same.
The musk sticks are displayed in my Queen Elizabeth II 80th birthday mug that I purchased at Windsor Castle the last time I was in England - it's been a while!
I have also been honoured by being awarded the "Stylish Blogger" award by Elaine of California Living, Steph of Jumping Off the Cliff, Michelle of Flourchild and Natasha of Mmmm Home Cooking. Thanks guys! The rules of the award (after thanking the person who bestowed it on you) are:
Share 7 facts about yourself:
- I cannot stand the cold - I would rather it be 40 degrees Celsius than 8 degrees Celsius.
- I love Pascall marshmallows, and can unfortunately eat them by the bag. No poor imitations will do.
- I still have not unpacked all the boxes from when I moved 8 months ago - the task seems beyond me.
- I am a bit of a hoarder, and save all kinds of things for a "rainy day" - the trouble is, how do you store it all?
- I am a huge fan of The Beatles, despite the fact that they split up before I was even born. They currently provide the soundtrack to my life.
- I adore 1930's and 1960's fashion - they are poles apart from each other, but both embody gorgeous colours, shapes and patterns.
- My favourite TV show of the moment (aside from cooking shows, of course!) is Mad Men. The cool elegance of the sets and clothes, combined with the complex plots and seriously flawed characters leaves me wanting more after every episode.
Pass this award onto 15 bloggers that you think deserve this award and let them know about it.
Here is a list of some of the stylish blogs that I visit, in no particular order:
- Grandma's Kitchen Table
- Jill's Blog
- Gourmet Green Giraffe
- Hold the Beef
- Of Muses and Meringues
- Nutmeg Nanny
- Barbara Bakes
- Lethally Delicious
- Mary Mary Culinary
- Effort to Deliciousness
- Visions of a Sugar Plum
- Darjeeling Dreams
- The Caked Crusader
- Yummy Chunklet
- Canela Kitchen
Hope you enjoy checking out these blogs!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe, chosen by Sharon of Simply Southern, was Bourbon Bread Pudding - which gave me the perfect opportunity to use up the remainder of my stollen from Christmas. (After all, it is now February - I don't want stollen living in my freezer for the rest of the year.)
This bread pudding is made pretty much like any other bread pudding, with chopped up bread soaked in custard before being baked 'til golden brown. Dorie added bourbon to the custard - I gave my bread pudding a Scottish twist and used Glenfiddich instead.
I ate a slice warm, and as Dorie suggested it would, it was fantastic served as is:
I did find the custard rather "eggy", but this was not a drawback for me - I quite like egg custard.
To check out how the other TWD members went with this pudding, check out the TWD blogroll.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
A couple of jobs back, I had the most most amazing experience of working with a group of 25 or so people who all did different back office functions, but who for the most part got on exceptionally well together. Once a quarter, we'd go on a big social outing which, for most of my time there, was paid for by the company. We'd always do something fun but low stress, like lawn bowls, a river cruise, visiting a brewery or ten pin bowling and karaoke. We also often went to lunch at a nearby pub or cafe, a favourite being The Prince Albert or "PAs" as it was fondly known, with the grumpy old man behind the bar. When PAs closed for renovations, we tried venues further afield, including The Swan (a kind of sports pub) and The Richmond Hotel (which was seriously damaged by fire a week after we dined in its 1970s chic surroundings).
During that time, we worked with a wonderful lady called Racquel, who was our boss's personal assistant (also coincidentally known as a "PA", but not to be confused with The Prince Albert). More than anyone, Racquel was responsible for bringing our motley crew together and instilling a sense of fun. She is a fabulous lady, and I am so grateful for the two and a half years that I was in that job and had the pleasure of working with Racquel and the other people in our team.
Racquel turned 40 years young this year, and celebrated her birthday with a belated party on Saturday night. I was delighted to attend, and had a marvellous night catching up with a host of familiar faces and sharing in Racquel's celebration with her family and friends.
To zhoozh up the present I gave Racquel, I packed it with a variety of homemade sweets. Out of the four types of sweets that I made, only one (the Turkish Delight) failed. The rest turned out really well ( much to my relief).
One of the sweets that I made Racquel was coconut ice. For the uninitiated, coconut ice is a firm to hard pink and white sweet based on dessicated coconut, and is tooth-achingly sweet. I have three little books dedicated to sweet making, and each of them contains a different recipe for coconut ice (and indeed all of the sweets that I made). I chose a coconut ice recipe from Hope and Greenwood's Life is Sweet for which I had all the ingredients in the house, as I was running short of time and could not go out to buy anything. The coconut ice that I am familiar with uses Copha (vegetable shortening), but the Hope and Greenwood version is based on condensed milk. It therefore tastes significantly different to the version of coconut ice that I am used to, and has a chewy, soft texture rather than shattering into firm, melt-in-your-mouth shards like the Copha version, but is still delicious and distinctly coconut flavoured.
To make your own coconut ice, you will need:
500g icing (confectioners) sugar
2 x 400g tins of condensed milk
400g dessicated coconut
Pink or red food colouring
Line an 8 inch square cake tin with cling film.
Place the sifted icing sugar and condensed milk into a large bowl, and stir until well combined. Use your hands if the mixture becomes too stiff to stir. Add the coconut in 2-3 equal portions, combining one portion before adding the next. The mixture will become very stiff, and using your hands to knead in the coconut will be helpful at this stage.
Divide the mixture into two equal portions and colour one half pink. Put one half into your lined cake tin, and press down firmly and evenly. Place the second half of the mixture on top of the first in small pieces so that you can easily spread it out to cover the bottom layer without mixing the two. I found the back of a spoon useful to help me to spread out the second layer, as the mixture stuck to my hands. Place the coconut ice into the fridge to set overnight.
Once the coconut ice is set, cut it into squares (~20 pieces).
Enjoy - just don't tell your dentist!
I am sending this post to Lisa of Sweet As Sugar Cookies for Sweets for a Saturday #3.
Friday, February 4, 2011
This week's French Friday with Dorie recipe is a Basque Potato Tortilla. Now this confused me a little, as to me, a tortilla is a flat bread filled with spicy mince from a Mexican restaurant. However, this type of tortilla is really a large, thick potato omelette.
The tortilla is quite simple to make, and contains shallow fried potato and onions, rosemary, garlic, eggs and salt and pepper. I also added some diced bacon pieces to make it a more complete meal.
I used dried rosemary and kept it in (as opposed to fresh which is later discarded, as Dorie suggested), which I think added depth of flavour to the tortilla.
You can see in cross section how thick the tortilla is, even though I halved the recipe and could not find an especially small pan:
As Laurie has suggested on the FFwD website, I think this tortilla would be perfect for a weekend brekky. It was surprisingly good, even though I was not initially enthused about making it.
To check out some more tortillas, visit the LYL link at the FFwD website.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Fruit and grains sounds healthy, right? Well, I am convincing myself that they are, as this week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe contains both of them. Christine of Happy Tummy chose Dorie's Great Grain Muffins, and these contain three sorts of grain - wheat, corn and oats (or in my case, wheat, oats and rye), as well as fruit (I used dates).
These muffins were easy to put together, as they did not require an electric mixer, and baked fairly rapidly - in around 20 minutes.
They also taste really good - despite not having that much sugar in them, the sweetness from the fruit and maple syrup buoyed these muffins into the arena of sweet treats.
Here's a peek inside:
Thanks to Christine for this week's pick - she will have the recipe, and of course, it is contained in Baking - From My Home To Yours. To see what everyone else thought of these muffins, visit the TWD blogroll.