25 March 2019

Crepes for Waffle Day

Once again it is time for pancakes on Waffle Day. Last year I did some research and found this recipe, which seemed rather good. I even started a post about it. But last year was very unproductive, I've started crocheting and knitting again, after many years' break and as with the early years of the food blog, it has become a bit of an obsession, especially when there are so many beautiful yarns to buy.

2019-03-25_crepes

I've decided to try and do more cooking again and I thought I'd go back to last year's recipe. But I couldn't find it, because the post never got finished. So another search and I found another recipe, which also seemed rather good. Plus I wanted to try out my new crepe making tool, which I got for Christmas.

I originally thought that I should halve it, since it's just the two of us. The recipe didn't mention the number of pancakes it would give and last year, I froze the remaining pancakes for future desserts, which worked very well. So here is the full recipe in metric:

Ingredients
Makes 14, at diameter of 20 cm

3 dl semi-skimmed milk
3 large eggs
30 ml oil
3 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
115 g plain flour

oil for frying

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and quickly whizz with a hand blender to get a very thin batter, almost like water.
  2. Leave to stand for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer, like overnight.
  3. Heat up a flat frying pan of about 20 cm inner diameter to medium-high heat and brush with a little oil.
  4. When it has heated up fully, stir through the batter and pour ½ dl into the pan, then swirl around to get the batter to spread across the whole pan. If you have a crepe making tool, this is when it should be used to spread the batter quickly and evenly.
  5. It shouldn't take too long for the crepe surface to go dry and then using a spatula, loosen carefully around the edges.
  6. By now the edges will have started to go brown a bit, so carefully lift the edge, slide the spatula under and turn the crepe over.
  7. Let fry on the second side for 10 - 15 seconds, then remove onto a large plate. If the pan looks dry, brush with a little oil again, stir through the batter and repeat the procedure with the next crepe.

As it turned out, in my "greed", I'd picked a crepe making tool that was a bit too large for my frying pan, so I couldn't use it and had to swirl to spread the batter. Still the crepes turned out reasonably thin and delicate, no toughness anywhere and I only tore a couple as I rushed to insert the spatula under them for the turning.

Sadly I can't remember my thoughts last year when I made the first recipe now, but this second one was good and easy. I will try to make them with butter next time, I think that will add a richer flavour. I'll see if I can find a smaller crepe making tool, so I can get the crepes really nice and thin.

I have no comment from Lundulph, but he happily put away 5 of the crepes, two savoury ones, with lovely Hungarian salami and baked beans, and for dessert, two with marshmallow fluff, milk chocolate crumbs and desiccated coconut and one with fig jam. I had two, though I probably should have stopped after the first one, it was surprisingly filling. The remaining seven crepes are now folded and frozen.

What I can say is that the batter turned out so thin, I was worried it wouldn't work at all, but it did!

16 February 2019

Coffee Masala Cake once again

It's time for Brother-in-Law Roger's birthday once more and I was asked to make a cake.

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I had originally planed to bake one for my younger niece Falbala, but she put in a killer shift at her work place on her birthday and spent most of the next day sleeping, so I didn't. I'd planned a really elaborate cake for her, and I'll have to make it at some point. But as I had to make a cake for Roger, I decided to try and stick to the same theme as Falbala's cake, just simplify it, since I had to make it during the working week.

Thus came about the idea of making a cake sponge which was coffee flavoured and almost black to be covered with lovely white chocolate, a bit like a latte in cake form basically. And I had a coffee cake recipe which needed to be sorted out. Noting that I found the recipe and made it back in 2008, I've come a long way since and learned loads about baking and there is absolutely no surprise at all on why this failed at the time. But it also meant I couldn't use the full recipe for Roger's cake.

Instead I did what I usually do and google and go for the pretty picture or a baker that I can trust. This time it was Mary Berry's easy chocolate cake. With modifications to incorporate the coffee masala elements.

Ingredients

some butter and flour for preparing the cake tin
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground mace or nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp instant coffee
110 g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
115 g unsalted butter at room temperature
115 g dark muscovado sugar
1 dl golden syrup
2 large eggs
25 g cocoa powder

Method

  1. Place the spices and the instant coffee in a mortar and pestle and grind down as finely as possible.
  2. Butter and dust a 20 cm cake tin with flour. Pre-heat the oven to 160 °C fan.
  3. Sift together the flour and baking powder.
  4. Put all ingredients together and beat with an electric whisk for a couple of minutes until well combined and homogeneous.
  5. Transfer the batter into the cake tin and level out with a spatula or a spoon. Make a shallow well in the middle to prevent it from bulging into a volcano.
  6. Bake for an hour until a skewer stuck in the middle of it comes out dry.
  7. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a drying rack and allow to cool down completely.
  8. Slice in two just before decorating, so it doesn't dry out.

Filling

221 g white chocolate
98 g double cream at 47.5% fat

Method

  1. Chop the white chocolate finely and carefully melt in the microwave in 10 second intervals and stirring between each.
  2. Scald the cream, then pour into the chocolate mixture and stir well, then leave to set for about an hour or for 30 minutes in the fridge to speed things up.
  3. Use some of this ganache to spread a 1 cm thick layer between the two parts of the cake sponge.
  4. Use the remaining ganache as a crumb layer to cover the whole cake and stop any crumbs coming through to the glazing.
  5. Place the cake onto a roasting rack, which is on top of a baking tray.

Glaze

200 g white chocolate
1 tsp of Mycryo freeze-dried cocoa butter
100 g double cream at 47.5% fat
white chocolate buttons

Method

  1. Chop the chocolate finely, place in a plastic bowl and melt in the microwave in 10 second intervals and stir between each burst.
  2. Check the chocolate temperature, it should be between 40 and 45 °C.
  3. Keep stirring carefully and measure the temperature until it has reached 33 - 34 °C. Stir in the Mycryo to temper the chocolate.
  4. Scald the cream, then let it cool down to 33 - 34 ° as well, before stirring into the tempered chocolate.
  5. As soon as the tempered ganache has come together, pour it over the cake and make sure it runs smoothly over the sides and covers the whole cake.
  6. Leave on the rack to set completely, then carefully prize off the rack and transfer to the display plate.
  7. If the edge still isn't smooth, cover with a row of small white chocolate buttons.

IMG_5729

The cake sponge tasted quite strongly of coffee, not sweet at all, but combined with the white chocolate, this balanced quite well and the whole cake disappeared quite quickly, Roger grabbed the last piece for his drive home.

20 January 2019

Warm Salad With Brussels Sprouts and Curly Kale

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For decades now, my Mum has been subscribing to a ladies' weekly magazine. And for as long as she has been doing that, I've loved to do the crossword section. But since I met Lundulph and got interested in cooking again, I've also become quite partial to the food section too and as it happens, both of these are in the middle of the magazine, so that they can be torn out and saved. My Mum save these for me and whenever we visit Sweden, we bring back batches of these.

This year, I asked my Dad to scan some of the recipes, rather than dragging home a bundle of paper and I think this is the way forward, because I'm a lot more likely to try some of these out, like this warm salad with Brussels sprouts. It really jumped out at me because Lundulph always complains about Brussels sprouts. He does eat them once per year for Christmas dinner. He says it's like taking a regular sized cabbage and shrinking it to the size of a walnut, so the flavour is too intense for him. I disagree, regular cabbage tastes quite differently to Brussels sprouts and to date, I've not come across any member of the cabbage family that I don't like.

I made this salad to go with green masala chicken and steamed potatoes.

Ingredients
Serves 4

250 g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and washed
250 g curly kale, thick stalk removed and washed
1 dl walnuts
2 - 3 tbsp butter
1 large clove of garlic
2 tbsp honey
salt ½ dl dried cranberries

Method

  1. Quarter the Brussels sprouts and shred the curly kale coarsely. Peel the garlic and roughly chop the walnuts.
  2. Heat up the butter in a deep pan, then press in the garlic and sauté the Brussels sprouts for 5 - 6 minutes until the go soft.
  3. Add the curly kale, salt and honey and stir through. Fry for a few more minutes to soften the curly kale a little.
  4. Add the walnuts and cranberries, stir in to mix and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, before the kale goes soggy.

When I read the recipe, it seemed really good. When I was making it, I started having doubts, but it turned out rather nice. I had set honey and I ended up cooking everything longer than I should have and the kale went a bit soggy and limp. I think the runny honey can't be replaced here, as it needs to spread evenly across the salad and the set honey just stayed in a big lump. But there is a trick - heat up the set honey in the microwave to make it more fluid.

Lundulph thought it had too much butter in it, so I might do 50-50 butter and oil next time, though I thought it was nice. Possibly I might reduce the amount of honey a bit, as the cranberries turned out to be sweetened as well and it was perhaps a bit on the sweet side overall. Lundulph wasn't too keen on the walnuts either. I didn't mind, but I might swap for pine kernels, they tend to be a bit more savoury in flavour.

So overall, I was quite pleased with this salad.