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Friday, 29 January 2010

Interlude

A welcome respite however brief.........











Above all rivers thy river hath renown,
Whose beryl streames, pleasant and preclare,
Under thy lusty walles runneth down;
Where many a swan doth swim with winges fair,
Where many a barge doth sail, and row with oar,
Where many a ship doth rest with top-royal.
O town of townes, patron and not compare,
London, thou art the flower of Cities all.


photos courtesy of Elsa

Friday, 22 January 2010

Dinner

A SueJoshua Production.....














Recipe can be found here




Thank you so much!!!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Focaccia

A rustic Italian oven-baked flat bread.





Focaccia


2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Olives, pitted and quartered
3 fresh tomatoes, quartered
sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dries thyme

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.


Preheat oven to 180C.
Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil and then add garlic, olives, tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes.








Monday, 18 January 2010

Friday, 15 January 2010

Banoffee Pie




Banoffee Pie

1 (405g) can condensed milk

350g digestives biscuits
150g butter, melted
1/2 liter double cream
3 bananas, sliced


To make the toffee sauce, remove the label of the condensed milk and immerse it in boiling water. Boil the tin for 2 - 3 hours. The longer you boil it, the darker and thicker the toffee will be. Make sure that the tin is FULLY immersed in water, otherwise, the tin will explode.

For the base, crush the digestives and mix it with melted butter. Press the digestives onto the pan. Chill.

Meanwhile, whip the cream until it's stiff.

Spread toffee onto the base, then arrange the sliced banana, top it off with cream and a drizzle of toffee












Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Good Ol'Fashioned Buttercake

I baked my very first cake when I was twelve and it was a traditional butter cake. The recipe was taken from an old home science book most probably belonged to my mom when she was in school. The book was full of traditional English recipes with sprinklings of silverfish making quick exits every time I turned the pages.
I used to indulge myself in my mom's enormous collection of recipe books and clippings dreaming of lavish banquets whilst my friends were busy reading Mills and Boon....



Buttercake
from JoyofBaking.com

4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk


Buttercream Frosting:
2 cups confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Assorted food colors

Preheat oven to 170 C and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

For the Frosting
In an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. Tint the frosting with desired food color.

Makes about 12 cupcakes








Sunday, 10 January 2010

Lamb Tagine with Pomegranate Couscous



Lamb Tagine with Pomegranate Couscous

For the lamb tagine
4 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 onions, peeled and chopped
4 tsp grated, fresh ginger
1½ tbsp ground coriander
3 tsp ground cinnamon
honey
salt and black pepper
500g lamb shoulder, boned, fat removed and cut into cubes
1 tbsp tomato purée
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup sliced green olives
½ cup chopped dried apricots


For the couscous
1 small pomegranates
500g couscous
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
3/4 litre boiling chicken stock
salt and black pepper
4 tbsp chopped coriander

Preheat the oven to 160 C.
For the lamb tagine, heat a large ovenproof casserole or heavy saucepan on a medium to high heat.
Add the olive oil, garlic, onions, ginger and spices and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then cook, covered, on a low heat for about ten minutes, until the onions are soft.
Add the lamb, tomato purée, chopped ingredients and honey into the saucepan, stir throughly.
Bring to the simmer and place in the oven for 1½ hours, until the lamb is tender.
Remove the lid of the saucepan halfway through the cooking time to let the liquid reduce and thicken.

Meanwhile, for the couscous, cut the pomegranates in half and scoop out the seeds.
Place the couscous in a bowl and mix in the olive oil and lemon juice and zest.
Pour the boiling stock onto the couscous and season with salt and black pepper.
Allow the couscous to sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir the chopped herbs and pomegranate seeds into the couscous.

To serve, place the tagine on serving plates with couscous.




Saturday, 9 January 2010

Elsa's FudgyWudgy DoubleChocolaty Brownies




Elsa's FudgyWudgy DoubleChocolaty Brownies
Recipe adapted from Hersheys


1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate chips


Heat oven to 180C. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and cocoa; stir to blend. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs. Stir together flour, salt and baking soda; stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts. Spread in prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Cut into bars. About 24 brownies.








Thursday, 7 January 2010

Tom Yam Noodles



A super-easy recipe for a cold winter's day......

There are no measurement to the ingredients, I just eye-balled 'em.

Fill a deep pan with water and bring to the boil. Add the noodles and boil for 1 minute, until the noodles are soft. Drain well, and transfer the noodles to a serving bowl and set aside.

To make the Tom Yam soup;
Bring water to boil in a pan. Add in tom yam paste, more if you want it spicy.
Add in a couple of whole coriander roots, oyster sauce, malt vinegar, fish sauce and brown sugar. Bring it to boil.
Bung in chicken pieces, fish balls or any type of seafood that's available in your fridge.
You may also add in vegetables; I've added in broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
Add in coconut milk. Reduce the heat and let it simmer gently.
Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Fish out the coriander roots before serving.

To serve, pour the soup over the noodles in serving bowls. Garnish with coriander leaves and fried shallots.






Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Egg-less Chocolate Cupcakes

Elsa is baking!!







Egg-less Chocolate Cupcakes

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat oven 170C.
Line 24 muffin cups with paper bake cups.
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, water, oil, vinegar and vanilla in large bowl; beat until thoroughly blended. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Spread with frosting.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Lemon Buttermilk Pancakes





Lemon Buttermilk Pancakes
Recipe courtesy Strawberry Creek Inn
dry ingredients
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
zest of 2 lemons (grated)

wet ingredients
4 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 cups buttermilk (brought to room temperature)
2 large eggs (brought to room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
Sift dry ingredients (except lemon zest) into a bowl; add zest.
Whisk wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix only until combined.
Let batter rest for up to 30 minutes.

Pour a small amount (about 1 tablespoon) of unsalted butter onto skillet and immediately wipe with a paper towel to distribute evenly over the surface and remove most of the butter. Use a 2 ounce (about 1/4 cup) ladle to pour the batter for each pancake onto the skillet surface. Use a spatula to turn pancakes once bubbles start to form all over the pancakes and the edges begin to set. Cook on the opposite side for another minute or so, just until set and slightly browned.

Serve pancakes with maple syrup and/or fresh lemon curd.

Friday, 1 January 2010

End of the Noughties






Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!

~ William Arthur Ward
 
Happy Brand Spankin' New Year!!!