Sunday, March 30, 2008
I decided to follow the recipe exactly first. I had a birthday to bake for and this was the perfect opportunity. I made the delicious lemon cake, and the lemon buttercream and used a lingonberry jam from IKEA. I'm glad I used a really tart jam, as I found the buttercream extremely sweet to my taste. The cake is just the most wonderful I've ever tasted. Its not too spongy, not too dense and wonderfully creamy and light with the buttercream.
The second time I tried a bit of a twist on the original recipe. I made an orange cake, subbing orange zest for lemon, and adding orange essence. I used the blood orange marmalade instead of jam, then substituted chocolate ganache for some of the butter in the buttercream. I decorated with chocolate shavings and orange segments.
I took this second version to bookclub and most of it disappeared very quickly, everyone kept going back for more. It was delicious with the orange and chocolate combination!
The buttercream caused me a bit of a headache as it curdled a little, and never seemed to come together. I found that this didn't really seem to matter when I put it on the cake, it wasn't visibly separated, but I think I should have made ganache with the butter instead of cream as that was just too much water. Tastewise I much preferred it, the bittersweet chocolate toned down the sweetness.
Its a long recipe, so I'll link to one of the other daring bakers, Rosa if you'd like to see a really beautiful version! Or buy Dorie's book, its jolly good.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Unfortunately we've been dealing with repeated occurances of fleas and worms. Apparently fleas carry the worms, so this time we're starting by trying to kill the fleas then we'll deal with the worms in a couple of days. Oh dear. How gross. And princess tina is not happy about the flea stuff, as you can tell! Hopefully she'll keep away from us as we're not really that interested in hanging out until the visitors have gone.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I saw some wonderful blood oranges at a market recently and I thought it would be great to make a beautiful pink marmalade with them. Unfortunately I took my eyes away from the bubbling cauldron for just a minute and it became very dark and welded to the bottom. I was careful not to stir after I burned it, so I salvaged most of the marmalade, but it certainly wasn't a pretty pink.
I think madam Delia was a little off with the timing, I don't think it took 2 1/2 hours to reach the setting point, more like 45 mins. I think one of my mistakes was to use a pan that had a bottom that wasn't thick enough.
I'd say you'd want to do this while you're pottering about in the kitchen, check every 5 minutes or so and give it a stir.
The recipe is made over a couple of days, and be warned, you'll end up very sticky! Its very rewarding though, and a wonderful gift for friends.
I'm putting a recipe, but I think this is one of those things that you kind of play by ear. I didn't discard any of the water that I boiled the oranges in, and I reduced the sugar significantly, as I was using much sweeter oranges.
Marmalade, adapted from Delia Online
Makes around 7 500ml jars
3lb Oranges, scrubbed
1.Take the fruit, cover with water and boil in a large saucepan for around 3 hours. Cool until ready to handle.
2. Cut each of the fruits in half and scoop the flesh into a medium saucepan. Discard the lemon peel. Boil the flesh with the remaining water for around 10 mins (I boiled a little longer to reduce the liquid down)
3. Meanwhile, slice the peel of the oranges thinly.
4. Place some gauze over a nylon sieve and pour the fruit into it to strain. Leave for a while, then gather up the fabric and squeeze all the important pectin out.
5. Combine all the peels and the strained fruit and leave overnight in a large saucepan
6. The next day add the sugar and then slowly heat until the sugar has all dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil and stir occasionally. This is the tricky part. You want to bring the stuff to a jam without completely ruining it and your saucepan, and you dont want to stop too soon and have runny syrup instead of marmalade. Delia says check every 15 minutes, but I say that after 30 mins you should keep a fairly close eye.
You know when its done because when you put a bit on a plate and push your finger through it, it stays completely separated.
7. Meanwhile, sterilize the jars. I usually put a teaspoon in them and pour boiling water in them and leave for a few minutes.
8. Leave for a few minutes to cool, this will ensure that the peel is well distributed, then pour into jars.
Monday, March 24, 2008
We were brought little lemon sorbets, which we loved, it made us feel like giants again and provoked much giggling.
For main course I had the tart de jour, which was delicious, with perfect pastry, and the boys had veal cheeks on a bed of a lentil type legume. They were blown away with it.
Dessert was also just wonderful. A delicious nutty almond and cherry rice pudding, and a sweet creme brulee with maple syrup. I really enjoyed this creme brulee, it was very sweet but the texture was just perfection, smooth and silky as I feel it should be.
Our second foodie trip was to check out Eclipse Chocolate. We had paninis, and they were both excellent, especially the beef one. I enjoyed a lavender truffle with salt on top. I've never had rock salt on top of chocolate like that before and it was truly amazing. I didnt really taste the soapy lavender much. I think it was more an infusion in the salt, which worked much better than other lavender things I've tasted.
Sorry, no piccies, I'm a bad blogger!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Kedgeree-adapted from Jamie Oliver-Naked Chef
Serves 2 hungry people or 3 with a salad!
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp curry powder
8 oz cooked rice
1 tsp better than bouillon in 1/3 cup boiling water
1 smoked salmon fillet
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Handful of raisins (optional!)
Chopped cilantro to taste
Slowly sautee the onions for 5 mins in the butter, adding the garlic for the last minute. Add the curry powder and stir, then add the cooked rice and stock. Mix carefully, ensuring the rice grains get separated, add the salmon and warm through, then the rest of the ingredients. Mix together and serve with a salad or warm veggies.
I've had fun hearing about her adventures in the garden, her trials and tribulations with the squirrels and enjoy seeing her fabulous outfits.
When I read the news yesterday morning, I had a little cry, and tina came over to see me. I later remembered about Upsie, and Tina came and sat on the arm of the sofa and put her chin on my arm. She always knows when I'm upset and comes over and comforts me. I'm sure Upsie has done her fair share of being a comforting presence in everyone's lives she's come into.
Hopefully the new cat at 'What did you eat' is going to bring just as much happiness into Sher's life. As far as I'm concerned, as a brit, a black cat is always good luck and little Laura is just adorable.
This is the first time anything on anyones blog has affected me this much. I'm so sad for my favourite virtual cat.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Everything was really cheap and great quality. I made off with an enormous bag of produce for only $19.
They had a selection of delicious looking nuts and dried fruit too. I'd highly recommend stopping off here.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Decadent and delicious, with a nice crunch of peanut and lovely creamy chocolate chips. I'm not a huge peanut butter fan, but I do like these, the chocolate cuts through the peanuts and balances things out.
I made a slight change to the recipe in that I used peanuts instead of peanut chips, which just seemed a bit gross, and I added white choc chips for more sweetness. They do break easily so I was glad I didnt flatten them out on the pan as they were small and sturdy like this.
Double Chocolate Double Peanut Cookies -Gourmet March 1994
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (6 ounces) roughly chopped peanuts
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
reheat oven to 350°F.
In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. In another bowl with an electric mixer cream butter, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture and stir in chocolate chips and peanut-butter chips.
Drop dough by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto buttered baking sheets and bake cookies in batches in middle of oven 10 minutes. Flatten slightly before baking. Cool cookies on racks.
Cookies keep in airtight containers 5 days, or freeze well.