Spoonful of Sugar

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

I was a good girl at the dentist last week so I bought myself the above book as a treat..
First bakes from it happened today -
Blueberry cake (minus the pecans) and Snickerdoodles as a gift for our nursery manager who is going on maternity leave..

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Celebration meals

Not the big party sort, but the treat yourself sort.
Other half came back from a working away so dinner was prefaced by a cocktail (or two) and there was steak involved.
As he brought back a bottle of Absolut Raspberri (gotta love Duty Free) I found a recipe for a Koi Yellow
4 Parts Raspberri Vodka
2 parts Lemon Juice
1 part Simple Syrup
1 part Triple Sec
Shake with ice, strain and serve.

For dinner we had another Jamie 30 minuter.. Ribeye Steak with Dan Dan noodles..
The usual chaos ensued:
 but the result was definitely worth it!

Lemon and Ricotta Cake

I found a "just about to go off" pot of ricotta at the back of my fridge the other day.
I'm not really one for spinach and ricotta pasta and as my other half was away, I certainly wasn't up for eating an entire pot of it myself in any format. So I made a cake.
This cake..

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Food of love

Milk and Dark Smashed Honeycomb Bars


Chocolate coated pretzels

Fougasse bread

Brown butter biscuits
 We went visiting this weekend, so I took homemade treats with me as a gift, made with love.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

I'm so excited...

..bread is definitely my new mission.
Whilst I love cake, dearly, it's a bit of a treat and therefore I can't always bring myself to make it, or to try something new just for the sake of it. I know. Call myself a foodie.
Bread though, well, it's bread isn't it!

I got a copy of Robert Bertinet's Dough today. Wow. Wow wow wow. I definitely want to go on his course now but in the meantime the book and dvd will have to do.

I want to make this...

...and these...

..and these...(specially that spiky l'il bugger)

..and these...

..and this...

..and this...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Progress Update

Sea Bass and Crispy Pancetta - Done!


I love bread. More than Chocolate. Possibly more than potatoes and all their permutations.
I'd happily give up on baking cakes if I could get better at baking bread.
I want to go on a course.. and learn, and practise.
Sourdough is something I definitely want to try and make more of, I've tried in the past with varying success.
It intrigues me!
French style baguettes with that crispy crunchy outside and soft white interior are also a bit of a dream of mine. I need to invest in some kit though and do more research so they too will have to wait for now.

Granary "light" dough
Easy White Bread
Half n Half rolls
No Knead Hazlenut and nutella bread

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Let me entertain you..

No, not with my writing. My subject is Entertaining.
I've got visitors for the next few days. Ones with dietary requirements but that's by the by.

We have a bit of a problem in this house when it comes to cooking for visitors. In a previous post I talked about my hate of people lurking about in my kitchen as it stands now. I can't cook round people and there's nowhere for them to lurk that isn't in the way.
I view having guests round as an opportunity to cook something special, to push the boat out. I relish the excuse to buy ingredients I can't normally justify and experiment with something new.

Here's the thing though - That all takes time, and then both my other half and the visitors, pretty much without exception, tell me to stop spending so much time in the kitchen. I get berated for feeding them well.
I also get a bit scared that it might go wrong and be awful, so sometimes I wimp out to stick to something I know. That then seems like a bit of a waste.

And the cost. Because boy does it cost! My online shop that is coming tomorrow is heart stopping. It'll be freezer leftovers for the rest of the month, that's for sure. It's only the 9th. Don't expect great things of the blog for the rest of March!

That all said, this time I've planned and think I know what I'm making, so

Thursday - Jamie's 30 min - Seabass & crispy pancetta
Friday - Visitors are eating out, so HM Pizza for us at home
Saturday Lunch - Ricotta, tomato and spinach frittata with salad
Saturday Dinner - Jamie 30 min - Green curry with crispy chicken followed by Baked Lemon Cheesecake
Sunday Lunch - Slow cooked shoulder of lamb & Potato gratin followed by Flourless chocolate and pear cake and homemade vanilla ice cream

I'm hoping to make nibbles of Raspberry and White Chocolate Macaroons and Florentines

Obviously this all depends on how much time I'm allowed to spend in the kitchen.
I'll let you know what happens...!

Friday, 4 March 2011

The advantage of living somewhere as against the middle of nowhere...

One of the highlights of a weekend away with my other half a couple of weeks ago was wandering through Chinatown on a Sunday morning and finding a grocery store that was open. Luckily he's similarly inclined when it comes to these things, so was happy to spend a reasonable proportion of our "LOOK! No Kids!" time mooching about in there.
I needed to get my hands on some Gochujang  for the Korean Keema.
I don't speak any kind of oriental language, so I assumed that what I got was about right, tho the funny chap on the front worries me a little.

Whilst in there we stocked up on things like five spice and chilli dipping sauce and cursed the fact that we were going on the train so couldn't carry loads and didn't have a freezer bag to take home hundreds of pancakes for duck. We did however spot these little lovelies...

HOW COOL!? (I'm so easily pleased...)
Have cooked some up tonight to go with a mostly freezer dinner (Chinese ready meal snacks we didn't eat at New Year, whoopsied chinese ribs) and some homemade chicken satay..

Happy Friday everyone x

Bara Brith and Brioche Part 1....

... 2-day long baking. You've got to love it.
Whilst it does require a modicum of forward planning, it also means you are morally obliged to bake on day 2 as you've already started. Result.
So today I soaked fruit in tea with which to make Bara Brith (Man I'm down with the Welsh thing this week..). Be wary of this recipe - it's neither entirely traditional, or accurate. It makes 2 loaf cakes, not the 1 they imply. Despite that I like it, although as you can see from the bowl below I ignore the "luxury fruit mix" and whack in whatever is in the cupboard..
Then I decided to attempt some No Knead Brioche Buns for breakfast tomorrow.

(OH POOOOOOO! Just re-read recipe and realised I forgot to slosh milk in. BRB. Thank goodness for blogging!!)

Ok. Lets try that again.
Mix butter, sugar and eggs 

 It won't look pretty... (they said that too!)
 Stir in flour, yeast and salt
 DON'T MIX INTO A DOUGH!!! Like this...
 Instead add milk and mix to a sticky dough.. (must stop multitasking and concentrate)
So. This is what I'm left with after accidentally making a ball of dough and then trying to mix milk in a couple of hours later.. cue lots of scrunching between fingers and mixing with a Rachel Allen recommended (when making soda bread) claw type hand gesture. Not sure she suggested chanting "The CLAAAAW, The CLAAAAAW" Toy Story Alien stylee whilst doing it, but hey, I've had a glass of vino and I was trying to recover a baking disaster in the making.
We'll see how that turns out tomorrow... I really hope that it works as No. 1's really looking forward to chocolate brioche for brekkie!

*Adopts Bristolian Youth of Today voice.*
I is like a totally rubbish cook, innit?!

Korean Keema

For Christmas I was given Nigella's new book Kitchen.
I'm glad I was.
I didn't watch the series, I think I saw 2 and she got on my nerves hugely as she has become a total parody of herself and even the recipes didn't seem that inspiring.
The book however is lovely. I curled up on the sofa after Christmas and read it, as it is a nice read, not just a load of recipes. I keep dipping in and everything so far that I've done - brownie bowls, pasta genovese, chicken teryaki, sloppy joes and now Korean Keema, has been really good.

First, mix Gochujang (A chilli bean paste. I managed to get some in Chinatown, along with another little treasure I'll blog about later..), rice wine, honey and soy sauce together. Stir in some turkey mince.

Defrost some peas, chop spring onion, measure more rice wine and chop coriander

Stir fry peas and spring onion

Then add in the mince

Stir fry till cooked then add the remaining rice wine and water.
Serve with rice

Well hello!

Oops - that was inadvertantly a little while between posts..!
There's not been a whole heap of inspiring stuff been going on this week although I did indulge in a little baking today, and more importantly started a couple of "two day" bakes to ensure a bit of baking time tomorrow.. smart huh!
Let's catch up..
It was St David's Day this week and I'm half Welsh. Other than allocating a slightly limp leek in the fridge to dinner that night though I hadn't given it much thought until a friend commented on Facebook that they were going to make Welsh Cakes. Cher-Ching. Welsh Cakes are A-Mazing. They are quick, cheap, simple, and they're best eaten hot from the pan covered in sugar. What is not to love.
I set about making them with the small people in order to earn some mummy points when they got home from school..

And yes some of them look a bit blackened - makes them MUCH better in my humble opinion. Never buy a shop bought Welsh Cake, it's just not the real thing