Monday, May 31, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I wanted to bake something reasonably healthy to have for morning tea during the week so decided on bran muffins. A Treasury of New Zealand Baking has three bran muffin recipes to choose from and I settled on this one as I had all the ingredients handy including just enough walnuts for the topping.
The recipe has very little added sugar and fat and lots of fibre from the the bran. You could make these muffins without the topping if you wanted to cut down on sugar but I think the topping makes the muffins.
I halved the recipe as I didn't want to be eating them for two weeks and they worked just fine, though I added a couple of tablespoons of milk as the mixture was too dry but as I type this up I realise it's because I added too much flour!
Banana bran muffins - week nine (Fiona Smith)
1 1/2 cups bran
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)
1/4 cup long thread coconut
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup natural yoghurt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup oil
2 bananas, mashed
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Grease a 12-hole muffin pan.
Mix the bran and boiling water together in a bowl and leave to cool.
In a seperate bowl, mix half the sugar with the nuts, cinnamon and coconut. Set aside.
Add the yoghurt, egg, oil and banana to the bran and water. Mix well. Sift the flour, remaining sugar and baking soda together and fold into the bran mixture. Spoon into the prepared muffin pan, then sprinkle with the sugar and nut mix.
Bake for 20 minutes. Loosen in the tin and cool, then rest on a wire rack for awhile.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I hadn't heard of parkin until I came across this recipe on the Guardian website. Parkin is a gingerbread cake traditionally made with oats and molasses that originates in Northern England. The recipe I used didn't have molasses in it, just lots of brown sugar, golden syrup and a little bit of treacle. I didn't use treacle as I didn't want to buy a whole tin of the stuff for one recipe so just used extra golden syrup and a bit of dark muscovado sugar.
I was very tempted to buy an ice cream maker just so I could make the accompanying rhubarb ripple ice cream. But instead I served the parkin with vanilla ice cream and roasted rhubarb. Tart rhubarb is just what this dessert needs: with all that golden syrup it's very sweet. I'll try making the ice cream with Bec's deluxe ice cream maker when in Christchurch sometime.
I also improvised with the "hot spiced treacle" and melted a little bit of golden syrup and added a couple of pinches of mixed spice.
The parkin had an interesting texture - dense and quite chewy. It wasn't as moist as I expected but apparently it gets better with age. The recipe says for the best flavour, keep in an airtight container for three weeks so I will report back on its keeping qualities in a few weeks!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
At the other, more high-brow end of the culinary spectrum, I was precociously attracted to quite complex recipes with intriguing ingredient combinations and elaborate garnishing. Hence the appeal of the - exotic sounding at the time - Cheese Crusted Apple Tart. This recipe featured in an AWW book titled 'Easy Entertaining'.
Our lifestyles seem to have changed quite a lot since this book was printed in the 1980's, as these days making pastry, chilling, rolling and blind baking it, meanwhile peeling, chopping and cooking the apple filling, preparing the crumble topping, followed by more cooking of the assembled tart (not to mention whipping and piping the cream garnish) wouldn't really cut it in the easy entertaining stakes!
However, despite the labour intensive process this dessert became a family favourite. I decided to make it recently for nostalgic reasons - piped cream, sprinkled cinnamon and all - and we found it to be just as delicious as ever. The cheese pastry is really tasty, and a nice contrast to the sweet filling. it would also make a delicious, crispy pastry for savoury tart.
Cheese-crusted Apple Tart
1 c flour, 1/2 c self raising flour, 2 tbsp castor sugar, 125g butter, 1/2c grated tasty cheese
1/2 c water, approx
Monday, May 17, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The recipe makes 2 huge loaves, so enjoy one now and perhaps pop one in the freezer for winter when you are missing feijoas...
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The 'no knead' bread concept has been taking the world by storm for the last couple of years. By letting the dough rest in the fridge, it allows time for the gluten to develop slowly, instead of requiring the usual kneading to do this job, making bread baking super easy. The book 'Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day' is where I have adapted these master recipes from, and if you google no knead bread you will be presented with loads of other recipe options. For a fabulous no knead ciabatta recipe check out Tina's blog for Karyn's recipe.
I use Edmonds instant yeast, which comes in sachets of around 8g.
1 tbsp instant yeast
Combine water, yeast and salt. Add flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until the flour is combined, it will be quite sticky still. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 3-4 hours, until the dough rises up then collapses.
Place in the fridge and keep chilled at least overnight but for up to 14 days. The longer time the dough rests in the fridge the more the bread will develop delicious sourdough like flavours. It may go a little grey on top but that's ok, it's just the yeast doing its thing...
1 c warm water
3 1/2 c flour
Friday, May 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Apricot & prune cake was popular with mum and her friends in the 90s and I remember quite liking it too! This is the first time I've made this cake myself and it tasted so deliciously familiar. Given how much I love dried fruit (especially prunes) this is definitely a cake I'll make again.
The recipe says to bake the cake in a ring tin but any cake tin would do. I used a bundt tin, partly because the weighty cast-aluminum tin helps my inadequate oven to evenly distribute heat, but also because mum always made this recipe in a bundt tin and it always worked well. I didn't sprinkle the second half of the cinnamon mix on top (because the top of a bundt cake becomes the bottom) - I saved it for my next apricot and prune cake.
It's worth thinking ahead and soaking the dried fruit in tea - without this step, the cake becomes quite dry after a day or so. Not that it lasted that long anyway... we had it for afternoon tea on a Sunday and then I took the rest into work for morning tea the following day.
Apricot & Prune Cake - week six (Annabelle White)
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
water or cold tea
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups standard flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Cover the dried fruit with tea or cold water. Leave for a few hours.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease a 25cm ring tin.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Follow with the dry ingredients and milk. Lastly drain the fruit and fold through gently.
Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon mix.
Place half the cake mixture in the greased tin and sprinkle with half the cinnamon mix. Place the remaining batter into the tin and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon mix (unless you're making a bundt cake like me!)
Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes.
This cake will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
Delicious served with cream and a dusting of icing sugar.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Becs: I love anything pastry and/or custard-related, and these 'beestings' from one of the baking stalls at the Christchurch Farmers Market are a real favourite. The dough is similar to a doughnut, and it is baked with a crunchy, almondy frangipane-style topping, and filled with the most delicious creme patisserie. There is not too much dough, providing a perfect ratio to the custard filling. They are enormous, so a quarter is plenty but a half is also easily managed! The beestings appear at the market on a rather haphazard basis, which perhaps makes me like them even more...
Libby: There are lots of cheap Malaysian restaurants in Wellington but my favourite is Roti Chenai. I visit reasonably regularly but only ever order one of two things - chicken chilli masala or chicken dosai because they are what Roti Chenai does best. On my most recent visit I ordered the chicken dosai - a crispy rice flour pancake filled with spiced chicken and served with a side of curry (or dahl if you choose) and a couple of condiments (I've never figured out exactly what they are). I noticed they'd given the place a bit of a makeover with a new counter area studded with brightly coloured gemstones but you don't go to Roti Chenai for the decor (interesting as it is), you go for the food!