I realised I don’t have searchable recipe for chilled cheesecake. It’s hidden on an old page that was part of v1.0 of the website and no longer linked. And it’s so old it’s in ounces, so I need to update it. I’ve also based the new recipe on the packaging of ingredients available to me; the recipe converts to 350g cream cheese, but cream cheese packets are 200g, so I used 2 packets.
400g cream cheese
75g caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
gelatine — about 1 tbsp in 3 tbsp hot water, this is powdered
250ml double cream
3 egg whites
1 punnet blueberries, or other fruit
- make base using butter and digestives, chill until set
- break up cheese, add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice
- dissolve gelatine in water, add to cheese mixture
- add fruit
- whisk cream until soft peaks, fold into mixture
- whisk egg whites until firm peaks, fold into mixture
- pour mixture over base and chill till set
Mum felt like onion soup so she bought a ton of onions. I don’t like onions so I usually relegate it to a flavouring as a component in mirepoix. Although IIRC I never made onion soup, I don’t think it’s something that requires a recipe. I mean, cook the onions, add liquid and simmer, right?
There’s a good discussion about the various methods for making onion soup. The type of onions to use, how long to caramelise the onions (from Michel Roux Jr’s 30-40mins to Thomas Keller’s 5 hours), the type of stock, additional seasoning (balsamic) and even what alcohol to add (cider, brandy).
Here’s what I did. I chopped 6 large onions and cooked them in butter for about 1.5hrs. I stirred like crazy towards the end, and left the lid off to reduce the liquid and break down the onion further. Most recipes call for beef stock which I didn’t have, I compromised by adding about 100g total of cubed beef with the onions.
After 1.5hrs the onions were soft and mushy and turned a nice medium brown. I then added vegetable stock I had in the freezer. Brought the whole lot to a boil and kept at a rolling boil for 20mins. Seasoned with s&p, thyme, worcestershire sauce, a dash of balsamic and soy sauce. Recipes tend not to include worcestershire or soy sauce, but they are my secret ingredients for adding umami to soups.
The cheese toast was made from baguette and shredded cheese. Proper cheeses like gruyere or comteé are simply too expensive and difficult to find so I used processed, sigh. I toasted the croutons on both sides before melting the cheese on top. Sprinkled more cheese onto the soup.
I was fairly pleased with the results. A tad too watery, I could have done with another 10-15mins reduction at the end, or taken half the soup and blitzed it. Still not a fan of onions.
Pikelets are ANZ pancakes that are small like drop scones
150g SR flour
pinch of salt
1 punnet blueberries
Make a well in the dry ingredients, add egg and milk. Whisk slightly until no lumps, add blueberries. Drop 1 dessertspoon of the batter into olive oil/butter and cook till bubbles appear on top, flip and continue cooking till golden. Serve with blueberries and maple syrup.
Makes around 25 pikelets around 6cm (2.5in) in diameter.
This banana bread recipe from the Mary Berry era is so old that the measurements are in oz. It is so tried and tested that I didn’t convert to grams—113g butter sounds funny.
2 large eggs
8oz plain flour
3 bananas, crushed
handful dried cranberries
1 vanilla pod
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Add bananas, cranberries and scrape vanilla beans from pod. Fold in flour, bp, add a splash of milk to loosen the mixture. Bake at 180°C for 45-50mins until a skewer comes out clean.
Traditionally it’s banana & walnut bread but I’ve never used walnuts because I don’t like them. For a slightly modern twist I added a handful of dried cranberries, taking inspiration from chocolat et zucchini—if Ms Dusoulier can do it, so can I. The cranberries added a tart taste and made the whole thing less stodgy.
We had it straight out of the oven so it was extra nice. Everybody liked it because it wasn’t too sweet.
So we were watching MKR4 repeat and I decided to try the double chocolate tart one team made, because it looked so indulgent.
for the pastry:
150g cold butter
185g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
50g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
for the filling:
50g brown sugar
2 eggs + 4 egg yolks
Sift the flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a large bowl, mix butter until resembling breadcrumbs. Put the mixture back in the fridge for 5mins to cool, then added the egg yolk. Combine and knead into a dough. Chill dough in fridge for 30mins.
Roll out dough to a tart tin. Cool the pastry in the fridge for 5mins, then blind bake at 180°C for 15mins with baking beans, followed by 10mins without.
While the baked pastry case cools, make the filling. Melt chocolate and cream in a bain marie. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar until frothy. Combine with melted chocolate carefully then pour into pastry case. Bake at 160°C for 30mins. Cool at room temperature, then in fridge until set.
The pastry was quite short, may be a tad too short, but I like it. The filling was rich and, yes, indulgent. Should have served it with strawberries or raspberries but didn’t have it. Added to the richness by pouring a little cream over. I’ll have to buy a proper tart tin, it’s one of those desserts I’m going to add to my repertoire.
I had some cream in the fridge I needed to use up, so I made pannacotta. Four ingredients: 500ml double cream, heated with 50g sugar and the seeds from one vanilla pod. When almost boiling, remove from heat and add to 2tsp gelatin powder already soaking in 3tbsp water.
A little too set, due to unfamiliar gelatin. But so rich, and so vanilla-y, can see all the seeds in the dessert. There was some discussion on a Paul Hollywood Pies & Puds program about the colour of pannacotta, whether it should be white or yellow. The chefs say white, but he had guest dairy farmers who brought in the richest, creamiest clotted cream from Devon and the pannacotta he made was yellow. It depends on the cream. The cream I used was good double cream, and the result was defiantly creamy yellow.
Ideally I would have liked to serve it with mixed berries or at the very least strawberries. Alas, the strawberries at the market were expensive and looked terrible. So mum opened a can of peaches.
This salted caramel truffle came from an Edd Kimber recipe. In case people are not aware who is Edd Kimber, he was the winner of the first Great British Bake-off. I used 1/3rd of his recipe, to get about 20 truffles.
100g 70% chocolate
100g caster sugar
7g light brown sugar — probably not needed
100ml double or whipping cream
- break the chocolate into a large bowl, set aside
- in a heavy saucepan, slowly melt the white sugar, gently moving the pan until all the sugar has melted
- add half the cream and the recipe says brown sugar but I don’t think it’s needed
- the mixture will bubble madly, remove from heat if it gets too violent
- when the bubbling has subsided, add the rest of the cream, butter and salt
- pour over chocolate and stir until all chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy
- cover and set overnight. Roll into balls with hands, coat with cocoa powder (or icing sugar or chocolate shell), decorate with a crystal of rock salt
Very nice. I added more salt, it contasted well with the sweetness of the caramel.
I saw diced lamb flap at the supermarket the other day. Lamb flap is belly, or sometimes called breast. It’s not a cut of meat I see very often—lamb comes in leg, shank or shoulder, occasionally neck fillet. Looks very much like any other belly cut—layers of meat and fat with some bones. Cheaper than shank and looks perfect for braising.
I used the standard braising method and ingredients. Brown the meat, remove. Sweat mirepoix in browning juices, return meat to pan. Add chopped tomatoes, red wine and seasoning. I splashed out and got fresh rosemary this time.
Instead of braising for 3hrs in the oven, I used my dad’s thermal pot. This is a device that is made up of an inner cooking pot and an outer insulated container. The idea is a vacuum is created around the cooking pot, keeping it hot and the food slow cooking for a long time. Apart from the initial heating no other energy source is needed. A good video demo by one of the manufacturers showing how to cook lamb shanks:
I brought everything to a rolling boil for 20mins. Then it was simply a matter of leaving the stew overnight, total around 15hrs. It was still hot when I took it out, apparently the food can be kept at around 60˚C for 12hrs. I returned it to the hob, brought it to boiling for about 10mins to reduce the gravy a little. Cooking in a sealed device meant no evaporation.
Served the braised lamb flap with grilled okra and rosemary flatbread. Everything homemade and economical. Success all round.
I’ve been baking since I was 11 or 12, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve made bread. I’ve been watching too many GBBO and masterchef episodes and I want to have a bread recipe I can master and keep in my back pocket. This is based on a jamie recipe.
500g strong bread flour
15g (or 1.5 packet) yeast
1/2 tbsp salt
Mix the dry ingredients with about half the water, add more water to get to a sticky consistency. Knead until a silky, elastic dough is formed. Leave in a covered bowl for 30mins to prove, until doubled in size.
Knock the air out and knead a little more. Tear off chunks of the dough, add fresh rosemary leaves and roll into small balls. Pat between palms into flat shapes about 0.5cm thick.
Pan fry in olive oil until golden. Sprinkle sea salt and drizzle rosemary & oil.
I’m very pleased with the results. A little yeasty, I think I added too much yeast. They fluffed up nicely during cooking and had a wonderful golden brown colour. Slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I’ll definitely make them again.
My scales broke, or rather, the scales I had at parents’ place broke and I can’t be bothered to a) go get the ones at my place or b) go buy new ones. Sales start in november, so I want to wait a few weeks. That said, for some reason I felt like making chocolate cake. So I did some random googling and found a recipe that uses cup measurements.
First of, I know many, many, many bakers use cup measurements — all American recipes are in cups as well as some NZ and Aussie recipes. But I’m uncomfortable with it, as we can see from the results. The recipe didn’t specify what type of cup so I used a proper ones from a professional cooking shop.
3 cups SR flour — that looked like A LOT! Must be something like 300-400g
2 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar — I used less, about 1.75 cups
3/4 cup cocoa powder — I used a combo of cocoa powder and chocolate pieces
2 eggs — didn’t seem enough
1 cup oil — I used a combo of soft butter and canola oil
1 cup milk
1 cup hot water
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, add wet ingredients and mix well.
That’s it. No creaming, no beating, no getting lots of air into the mixture.
Bake at 180˚C for 45mins. The recipe said 200˚C but I was slow cooking ribs in the oven so I couldn’t bring the temp that high. The rib roasting tray also meant I had room for a rectangular cake tin as opposed to a regular round cake tin. I had enough mixture for 2 cakes—I thought that was a lot of flour and sugar.
The result was, surprisingly, good. We liked the reduced sugar, so it’s not sickly sweet. Light and fluffy inside (bicarb+SR flour?), perhaps a tad too crumbly and a really nice crust outside. I normally don’t go for the end bits but this time I was super glad I did.
So, using a cup to gram conversion table:
350g SR flour
2 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
2 eggs — I still think it’s not enough, may be increase to 3 eggs
250ml hot water
Or half for just one cake.
250g dark chocolate
250ml double cream
knob of butter
Break chocolate into small pieces in a bowl. Heat cream and butter until almost boiling, then pour onto the chocolate pieces. Stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Leave in fridge overnight to set.
Use a small spoon and hands to shape gently then roll in cocoa powder or chopped nuts. I also made a small batch that had a splash of highland park added. It was quite strong. Made around 30 truffles in total.
When I was in Chicago during the summer, I walked past a Williams-Sonoma, couldn’t help but go inside and ended up buying a couple of zoku ice cream makers. I don’t have space for an ice cream maker, so this small bowl seemed to be a great idea — no churning, and it claims to make ice cream in 10mins.
I’ve watched enough cookery competition programs to know that the best ice cream is made from a custard base. The recipe I used is from david liebovitz, one of the few american cookery writers who give metric measurements. I used half his recipe.
125ml milk — I used hi-calcium 2% milk, because that’s what I have in my fridge
75g sugar — I think this is too much, next time I’ll start with 50g
3 egg yolks — I splurged and bought best quality organic “intense flavour” eggs from japan
250ml whipping cream
1 vanilla pod — if I halved the recipe I should have used half a pod, but I used a whole one anyway, I scraped the seeds out and the pod is now soaking in bourbon to make vanilla extract
Gently heat milk, sugar and vanilla seeds until sugar has melted. Slowly add to egg yolks, whisk and return to pan. Heat very slowly, stirring constantly to make the custard, it will be ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Cool.
In a separate bowl, cool the cream in an ice bath. Add the custard, stir and whisk until thickened and cold. The mixture can be kept in the fridge until ready to make the ice cream.
The instructions for the zoku is to chill the inner bowl in the freezer for 12hrs. The bowl is made of an inner metallic bowl and an outer ceramic bowl with coolant inside. At room temperature I can shake the bowl and feel the fluid sloshing inside. When frozen the coolant feels solid.
To make the ice cream, add a portion of the custard mixture to the frozen bowl, no more than half full. Then stir, fold and scrape for about 10mins until the mixture turns from a thick liquid to frozen ice cream. It really works!
Because all the ingredients are fresh and of good quality, and because I used real cream and a whole vanilla pod, the ice cream tasted unbelievable. Smooth and rich and creamy and simply irrestible.
One of the classics in tv cooking history was Jacques Pepin deboning a whole chicken, stuffing it and making a galantine, a truly amazing demonstration of butchery and cooking skills. Nowadays I see chefs on masterchef and cookery competition programs making ballotine of chicken, duck, veal or another meat. There are many names: Pepin’s galantine, Americans favour roulade and ballotine seems to be used in the UK and commonwealth. It all comes down to the same concept: meat swiss roll with some stuffing (meat, vegetables or a combination) rolled up in an outer layer of meat.
This is a recipe I worked out myself, inspired by bonappetit. Serves 4 with sides, or 2 very hungry adults:
- pan fry 2 chicken thighs, season and dice to small bite-size pieces
- dice mushroom into small pieces, cook with chopped reconstituted dried porcini and sun-dried tomato, season
- combine thigh with mushroom mixture to make the filling and leave to cool
- butterfly 2 chicken breasts, cover with clingfilm and flatten slightly — not as flat as an escalope, around 1cm thick, season with s&p
- layer jamon, fresh basil, emmental slices on top of the chicken breast — jamon because the packet I bought was from spain, I was initially aiming for prosciutto; emmental because that’s what I found in the fridge, mozzarella or provolone will work just as well
- spoon on filling and roll carefully, secure with toothpick if necessary — it was difficult to roll so I used another slice of jamon on the outside
- sear in a pan until golden brown
- transfer to oven and bake at 180°C for 10mins
- rest for 5mins then slice
Served the ballotine with roast potatoes, mushroom and cherry tomato. I made some sauce by combining the mushroom cooking liquid with the water from the porcini and sun-dried tomato. It tasted really good, I only cooked the chicken breast for 10mins so it was still juicy.
Yes, it’s quintessentially American, but the recipe I trusted was from bbc good food because: a) hob nobs!! and b) grams not cups.
300g hob nobs
3 egg yolks (I used 4 because the eggs were small)
1 can (397g) condensed milk
zest and juice from 4 limes (these were tiny limes so I used 5)
Make the base from crushed hob nobs and melted butter. Allow to cool. Whisk egg yolks for about 1min, add the condensed milk and whisk for 3mins. Add lime zest and juice, whisk for another 3mins. Pour over base, bake at 160°C for 15-20mins. Leave in tin to cool overnight in fridge.
I tried to make candied lime peel. Blanched lime slices in hot water then simmered in a simple syrup made from equal quantities of sugar and water for 15mins. Was still quite bitter (from peel, not pith) so I didn’t use it to decorate. Instead I whipped up some cream and used strawberries. Couldn’t be bothered to break out the piping bag so I just quenelled the cream.
This is a recipe for no-bake blueberry truffle tart that has been bookmarked for a while. I made some adjustments, mainly in the ingredients and making of the base. The idea remains the same, make a biscuit base, make a ganache, top with blueberries.
225g crushed biscuits — I used half oreos and half hob-nobs, the recipe used just oreos
225g dark chocolate
250ml cream — should be 300ml but the carton was 250ml
1 punnet blueberries
Crush the biscuits, I put them in a ziploc bag and whacked them with a pestle but a rolling pin or food processor will work. Melt butter in pan, add biscuit crumbs and transfer to lined tin. The recipe used individual fairy cake tins but mum didn’t have that tin so I improvised and used a square tin. Allow to set in fridge (around 20-30mins).
Melt the chocolate on a bain marie and stir in the cream. Can do it the other way round, heat cream and pour over chocolate. Either way, stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture glossy and smooth.
I sprinkled half the punnet of blueberries on the biscuit base and added the ganache. Set in fridge for about 10mins, then sprinkle the rest on top. Return to fridge so the ganache sets. I left mine overnight.
Usually we combine chocolate with raspberries or strawberries but blueberries work very well too. The ganache was extremely rich, and the fruitiness of the blueberries in every bite was a good contrast. A small slice is more than enough.
The first time I heard of skordalia was when Torode cooked it on masterchef. It seemed to be an interesting alternative to mashed potato, a good source of starch for a dish. Based on the recipe I found at the guardian.
Roughly chopped 4 potatoes and boiled until soft. I don’t have a potato ricer so I passed the cooked potato pieces through a sieve, which proved harder to do than I expected. Made a paste of 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper and mixed into the potato. Added olive oil, juice of 1/2 a lemon and further seasoning. Topped with crushed peanut for decoration.
It sort of looked like a cross between mashed potato and hummus, erring to the side of potatoes. At first I didn’t add enough olive oil and the bitter-sourness of the lemon juice was too overwhelming. It was better when I added more oil and more seasoning. Although it’s described as a dip, I served it with braised lamb shanks. Some I left overnight in the fridge which turned out to be more dip-like.
Very common in Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of SE Asia is food flavoured with pandan leaves. It imparts a bright green colour and a gentle coconuty fragrant. They use it mainly with desserts and curries.
You can get pandan cake even at Singapore airport. The shop is right next to the departure gate so you check your luggage, go get your cake and then go through immigration. Easy peasy.
Pandan cake is basically a chiffon cake flavoured with pandan. I spotted a packet of pandan sugar at an indonesian store the other day and thought i should give it a try. They have a recipe at the back, although not completely clear (they don’t tell people to whisk the egg white and no oven time or temperature specified).
5 eggs, separated
2 tbsp cooking oil — i used grapeseed
4 tbsp coconut milk
150g SR flour
120g pandan sugar
Mix egg yolks with half the sugar until thick. Normally the mixture turns pale but with the green sugar I had to use texture and experience—took about 10mins vigorous hand beating. Add ccoking oil, coconut milk and fold in flour.
Beat egg whites until soft peak stage, add rest of sugar and beat until stiff. Fold into egg yolk mixture.
Bake at 180°C for about 1hr until a skewer comes out clean.
Very light, fluffy and the pandan flavour was subtle. Some people may be put off by the strange green colour but it really was very good.
I was making honey soy chicken wings (strictly speaking, also a new recipe — marinade chicken wings in soy sauce, honey, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard, olive oil and roast at 180°C for 30mins) and was looking in the fridge for vegetables. Found a small cabbage, perfect. Normally I’d be boring and just boil it, but anyone who has ever suffered school lunches will have dire recollections of overboiled cabbage and brussels sprouts. Speaking of brussels sprouts, my favourite method is to roast them at high heat with olive oil and lots of salt so the edges of the leaves are almost charred. I was sure this method also works for cabbage.
Yep. Recipe from thekitchn, who recommended roasting cabbage wedges with bacon. They were positively gushing about the end result,
the high-heat roasting gets rid of any cabbage funk and makes the cabbage sweet and flavorful — all that bacon grease certainly adds to the irresistible aroma. The bacon pieces were crispy and chewy, and the bacon fat seeped into the cabbage, making it tender and juicy in the middle and crispy and browned on the outside
Wash cabbage and remove any outer leaves that have wilted. Cut the whole cabbage in to quarters, remove some of the core and cut in half again, ending up with 8 wedges. Roughly cut up 4 bacon rashers and sprinkle on cabbage wedges. Drizzle olive oil and season with pepper and mixed herbs (no salt). Roast at 180°C for about 30mins until slightly charred.
I now know the reason behind the gushing. It was crunchy on the outside and sweet on the inside, none of the boiled cabbage smell or flavour. The bacon was a perfect accompaniment — the bacon I found in the fridge wasn’t crispy American bacon or meaty British back bacon but something in between that is ham-like and didn’t render a lot of fat — still worked okay with the dish.
I don’t think I’ll ever make boiled cabbage again, roasting was so simple and so delicious. Served it with the equally successful chicken wings and some cheese grits I found in the cupboard.
The actual recipe for making roast belly pork is straightforward, it’s the execution that is difficult. This is sort of based on a jamie recipe.
Score the skin of the belly in a criss-cross pattern. Dry vigorously with kitchen towel, I actually went as far as blow drying it. Rub in lots of garlic salt, some thyme, a few peppercorns and about 2 tbsp olive oil. Place on top of sliced garlic, carrot and celery pieces.
Preheat oven to its highest setting, in this case it was 240°C. Supposed to blast the skin in the hot oven for 10-15mins until it starts to blister and turn golden brown. After 25mins, mine turned golden brown with just a little bubbling. Pretty pathetic. I turned the oven down to 170°C and roasted for 1hr. After 1hr, time to some liquid for the slow cooking. The recipe uses white wine, I used some bitter beer that we reserve for cooking because it’s a bit undrinkable. Continue slow cooking for 1.5hrs.
Supposed to turn the oven back up for the last 30mins to finish the crackling. I did that, but no crackling. Disappointing.
I ended up having to take off the skin and fry in a frying pan to finally get crackling. It gave a satisfying crunch all right. The meat was tender and easy to pull apart. Next time, take the skin off and poach the whole joint in milk or cider.
I usually make chilled cheesecake rather than baked, but after this one I think I’ll switch to baked. Recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course. I used blueberries instead of his raspberries.
500g cream cheese
2 tbsp flour
zest of 1 lemon
Mix cream cheese and sugar, add eggs a little at at time, then flour and the lemon zest. The mixture looked a bit thick at that point so I added the juice of 1/2 lemon. Stir in the blueberries and transfer to baking tin. Tap firmly to get rid of air bubbles and distribute blueberries. Bake at 180°C for about 45mins-1hr.
Like I said, I don’t usually make baked cheesecake. I forgot that you’re supposed to let it cool completely in the tin before removing, so when I took the outer ring off like I would do with cake, I ended up with Michelin man cheesecake that had bulged in the middle like belly fat. Argh. Put the ring back on immediately and let it cool overnight in the fridge.
That said, it was delicious. Rich, good taste and texture. The recipe doesn’t have a biscuit base, and I don’t think it needs it.
Although I have a big alcohol collection, it’s mainly wine, whisky and some beer, hardly conducive to making cocktails. The best candidate for cocktails would be the whiskies, particularly the bourbons so I was on the lookout for whiskey cocktail ideas. This one of bourbon sweet tea looks good, and uses ingredients that I can get readily. I halved the recipe and converted to metric.
1.5 cup (350ml) water
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 tea bag — I used earl grey
1/2 cup (120ml) bourbon
Dissolve sugar in boiling water and let tea bag seep for 5-10mins. Remove tea bag, add sliced lemon, lime and orange and bourbon. I have a bottle of Wild Turkey 101 open which at 55% is a bit stronger, so I only used 100ml. Chill in fridge or serve over ice.
Quite strong, both in bourbon and tea taste. Easy to make and easy to drink, good with steak or sweet dessert.
I’ve made yule log before, and it is a sort of family tradition. I wanted to find a recipe that was less sweet, and was pleased that bbc goodfood came through again. I made some adjustments to the recipe, taking out some more sugar, substituting honey for golden syrup and using the chocolate cream for both filling and icing.
for the sponge:
85g plain flour
1/2 tsp bp
2 tbsp cocoa powder
for the filling:
150g dark toblerone
250ml carton + 5tbsp whipping cream
1 tbsp honey
Whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift flour, bp, cocoa and fold into egg mixture. Bake in a swiss roll tray for 10-12mins at 200°C. Remove from oven, roll in the greaseproof paper and leave to cool.
Melt the butter and chocolate on a bain marie, cool. Add honey and 5tbsp cream. Whip the carton of cream until soft peaks then fold in the chocolate mixture.
Unroll sponge and spread filling generously. Roll carefully into log shape. Cut off one end as the branch. Ice with rest of chocolate cream.
We didn’t have icing sugar so I sieved some caster sugar over as the snow. I like this chocolate cream filling much better than using butter icing. It was very rich, I cut a thickish slice and divided it into three for me and parents, it was enough.
Task #49 in 101 task in 1001 days challenge: 1 of 10 new recipes.
Lebkuchen are German gingerbread-like biscuits that are traditionally made at christmas. We bought some at my niece’s school fair, loved them and I decided to try my hand at making them. This recipe is from bbc goodfood, which was hands down the easiest.
250g plain flour
1 tsp bp
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g ground almonds
1tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
a pinch each of ground cloves, grated nutmeg and black pepper
200ml clear honey
- sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl
- heat the butter and honey until the butter has melted and add to the dry ingredients
- mix well, cool mixture to room temperature
- roll the dough into 30 balls, flatten on baking sheet, bake at 180°C for 12-15mins
- cool on wire rack, pretend to be Jamie Oliver by flicking melted chocolate haphazardly over biscuits
I very nearly burnt the first batch of 15, another minute and they would have to go into the bin. Luckily the second batch were okay. I think they were too small, next time I’ll make 20 instead of 30.
I think the jury is still out on the rorschach style of decoration, which I saw on a Jamie Oliver christmas program the other day. That’s all he seemed to be doing nowadays, either piling food on a platter or wooden board and then flicking whatever sauce or dressing all over the place.
I wouldn’t say this recipe was 100% successful. It tasted quite nice, I like using honey instead of sugar and having lots of spices made the whole kitchen smell of christmas. Because they were so small, they weren’t as chewy as I’d like. Next time I’ll also grate in a little ginger to give it more of a ginger taste.
Based on Nigella’s recipe for snow-flecked brownies. Half the recipe quantity was perfect for the square tin.
melt 190g chocolate + 190g butter over bain marie, cool
whisk 160g sugar and 2 large eggs until pale and thick
combine chocolate and egg mixtures
add 50g mixed nuts
fold in 115g plain flour
bake at 180°C for 30mins until top is dry
The recipe uses 100g white chocolate buttons, when I first made it I used dark chocolate but this time I just used nuts, and a smaller quantity because I didn’t want the brownie to be overwhelmed by nuts. We had peanuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews in a snack jar so that was what I used. Although I cut it into 3x3 squares for presentation, 4x4 squares is probably a more reasonable serving size.
There is a debate about whether brownies should be cakey, gooey or fudgy. These were somewhere in between gooey and fudgy. The tops were crispy and the inside quite dense without being too sticky. The rich chocolate taste came through, which is always important.
The kitchn described panna cotta as the perfect dessert because it’s easy to make, using standard ingredients. It is also incredibly versatile: substituting ingredients or reducing the sugar level doesn’t seem to bother the recipe at all. Last time I made it, it was a little too firm. Tasted good, but it was like cream flavoured jelly.
This is a slightly healthier version of the traditional panna cotta, with less sugar and uses yogurt instead of a lot of the cream. Recipe from smitten kitchen and all credit goes to Deb Perelman for converting her American measurements to metric.
- 475ml mixture of milk and cream — use as much or as little of each, even 100% milk or 100% cream, using just a little cream will make it so much richer; I used 200ml whipping cream and the rest was reduced fat milk
- 450g yogurt — most recipes use greek yogurt, it just happened that mum made natural yogurt which worked equally well
- 75g sugar — recipe says between 50-100g
- 4 tbsp water
- 2.5 tsp gelatin powder
- 2 tbsp lime juice — recipe says lemon juice but we ran out of lemons so I substituted lime
Dissolve the gelatin in water, set aside
Combine the yogurt with half the milk+cream
Slowly heat sugar and the remaining milk+cream to a gentle simmer, then pour onto the dissolved gelatin
Add the milk+cream mixture to the yogurt mixture, whisk until smooth
Add lime juice
Pour into oiled containers and set in fridge
There was richness from the cream, tartness from the yogurt and the texture was suitably wobbly and creamy. Strawberries and other berries are expensive recently so mum suggesting using nutella. I tried to do a little fancy decoration with the thick spread and some museli crumbs. The chocolate and crumbs actually went well with the panna cotta.
Another request from mum. Recipe from bbc goodfood.
200g SR flour
pinch of salt
knob of butter, melted
Sift flour, bp and salt into a large bowl. Lightly whisk egg and add to milk. Create a hole in the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet ingredients, mixing to get a thick smooth batter. Add melted butter and 100g blueberries.
Drop a large tablespoonful of the batter into a hot pan and cook until bubbles form on top, then flip and continue cooking till browned. Serve with remaining blueberries and maple syrup.
We didn’t have syrup (golden or maple) so we substituted honey and the lemon curd I made earlier. Recipe says it makes 10, I got 12 out of it.
Based on a bbc recipe. Lemon and blueberries go so well together.
200g SR flour
100g greek yogurt
2 tbsp lemon curd
zest & juice of 1 lemon
punnet of blueberries (around 100g)
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs. Add yogurt, lemon curd, lemon zest & juice. Fold in flour.
Spoon half the mixture into tin, sprinkle half the blueberries. Add the other half of the mixture, and the rest of the blueberries.
Bake at 180°C for about 45mins. Serve with more lemon curd and blueberries.
Mise en place to me isn’t just weighing out and prepping the ingredients, it’s the process and equipment too. To prepare homemade preserves like jams and marmalade, the first thing to do is to sterilise the containers. I washed them very thoroughly in soapy water, then placed the jars in an oven at 150°C. The lids I put in a pot of boiling water.
The lemon curd recipe itself is from bbc and very straightforward:
- zest and juice 5 medium lemons (recipe was for 4 large lemons) — I measured the juice, I had 175ml
- mix the zest, juice with 100g butter and 180-200g sugar in a bowl over a bain marie — the jar lids were still boiling away in the main pot
- lightly whisk 4 eggs and add slowly to the lemon butter mixture
- cook for 15-20mins over the bain marie, stirring constantly, until thick and coated the back of a spoon
I’d used slightly less sugar than the recipe, measured out 180g and added about an extra tablespoon when I was tasting at the end. The resultant lemon curd was really wonderful — lovely and smooth and glossy, still a little tangy because of the reduced sugar, it will become a favourite I hope.
First attempt at chocolate fondant, recipe from the guardian.
60g dark chocolate
30g sugar — recipe says 60g, I didn’t think we need so much
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp plain flour
Melt chocolate and butter over bain marie and set aside to cool. Whisk egg, egg yolk and sugar until pale and thick, around 5-10mins or the time it takes for the chocolate to melt. Combine chocolate and egg mixtures. Fold in flour, pour into greased tins. Bake at 200°C for 10mins, until the top is just set.
Leave in tin for 30-60 seconds then turn out.
Probably a little tiny bit overdone. The recipe says 12mins, I took them out at 10mins, may be that was even a minute too late.
The recipe for regular chocolate mousse is very rich, almost 500ml of cream total. So we wanted to find a less fattening alternative, and Mum found a chocolate yogurt mousse recipe that uses greek yogurt. I bought her a yogurt maker a long long time ago, and she’s been making her own yogurt occasionally.
We didn’t exactly follow the recipe, skipped the coffee and there was a step with boiling water that didn’t work. Skipped the sugar too.
85g chocolate — we used 100g, a whole dark toblerone
1tbsp cocoa — not even sure it’s necessary, will skip next time
2 egg whites, whisked to soft peaks stage
50g greek yogurt — that’s not a lot, we added an extra tablespoon
Melt the chocolate over a bain marie, add cocoa powder. At this point the recipe said add a couple of tablespoons of boiling water to soften the chocolate. Argh! Adding water to melted chocolate makes it lumpy and solid. I had to rescue it using vegetable oil and a bit of egg yolk.
Add yogurt to chocolate mixture. Fold in egg whites. We tasted at this point and decided no sugar was needed. Leave in fridge to set.
The end result is definitely light, although still very chocolate-y. Can taste the slight sourness of the yogurt, in a pleasant but not overpowering way. Quite soft and doesn’t hold its shape that well — it’s fine in a glass but spooning it out on a plate for presentation will end up being chocolate milkshake. To make it more solid, may be add the egg yolks or whisk the egg whites to stiffer peaks? I want to add more yogurt but it’ll make it too sour. Hmm, more research needed.