Archive for August, 2008

A: Instant youth– just add bicarb.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 22, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

I remember when Violet Crumble first came onto the confectionary market. My cousin and I would sit and discuss the inner workings of crumble-ology. Chocolate first then crumble? Chocolate and crumble at the same time? Suck out the crumble first then the chocolate or chomp chomp chomp through it? Even the purple wrapping was retro for its time.

Currently at the end of a long and drawn out, but much needed absense from work (all hail the all-powerful laryngitis), I decided to entertain myself by stirring up an extremely greedy serve of honeycomb.

Armed with a trio of old-school storecupboard standbys, I embarked on my trip down memory lane.

I found a recipe here that is similar to a lot of other recipes I have seen. Inspired by R’s brave substitution during the great mallow project, I used golden syrup instead of corn syrup. During which I realised how difficult it was going to be to figure out when the boiled mix was, well, boiled up enough since a change of colour is usually a good indicator when working with sugar! I hazarded a guess, which turned out to be a tad too late as the resulting honeycomb tasted just that little bit burnt. Good, but with a mild though distinct burntness about it. 😦

Honeycomb

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup golden syrup

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, mixed with 1 tsp water

Method:

Mush the golden syrup through the sugar.

Mush the golden syrup through the sugar.

Combine sugar and golden syrup in a pan and place over low heat. Mix it together the best that you can before the mixture boils.

Once bubbles start to appear through the mixture, increase heat and boil mixture for 2-3 minutes. DO NOT STIR.

Be sure to leave lots of overhang with the baking paper, this thing is massive!

Be sure to leave lots of overhang with the baking paper, this thing is massive!

When the mix looks like maple syrup (colour-wise), in one fell swoop working at the speed of light, take the pan off the heat and sprinkle in the bicarb, whisking quickly then turning it out into a lamington pan lined with baking paper. The mix froths up gloriously and I would make this time and again purely to relive the moment in which the bicarb hits the pan and explodes in sugarly goodness!

Leave it to cool and within the hour you’ll have a very, very ample serve of honeycomb for all to enjoy.

Now, in my quest to maximise my honeycomb experience, I then decided to make some honeycomb brownies. During which time I discovered that honeycomb isn’t the kind of thing that takes kindly to being heated more than once. Don’t do it! Don’t bake honeycomb! It melts into a mushy, spongy sugary mess and though tasted ok, looked HORRIBLE!!! I’d provide a picture but it’s just too sad.

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A: The science of tea-biscuit ratios best explained.

Posted in Biscuits/Cookies with tags , , on August 20, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

A cup of tea and biscuit. It’s really quite self-explanatory. Drink your tea, eat your biscuit. Repeat.

However, when confronted with prime baked goods like a beautiful, lovingly made and presented Wagon Wheel, one does have to think things through before delving into things with little forethought! Wagon wheel= obscenely sweet homemade marshmallow teamed with a classy bittersweet chocolate-covered biscuit. Tea= strong assam with 1 heaped teaspoon of condensed milk to match the sweetness of the biscuit.

Nibble at your wagon wheel while waiting for tea to brew.

Step 1: Nibble at your wagon wheel while waiting for tea to brew.

Fresh, loose tea leaves are key when making a cuppa. It’s more economical, has a smaller environmental impact in terms of packaging materials and it really, really does taste better. And none of this English breakfast dodgy blended tea nonsense. Orange pekoe and assam have a far superior flavour profile as far as I’m concerned.

Follow with another generous nibble at your biscuit and wash it down with your hot milky tea.

Step 2: Follow with another generous nibble at your biscuit and wash it down with your hot milky tea.

By now the tea is starting to cool down, so you might have to follow your next mouthful of home-baked goodness with a couple of mouthfuls of still-warm tea.

Step 3: By now the tea is starting to cool down, so you might have to follow your next mouthful of home-baked goodness with a few extra sips of still-warm tea.

Don't panic if you run out of tea...

Step 4: Don't panic if you run out of tea...

... just make another cuppa! This time perhaps a palate-cleansing cup of black tea to finish it all off.

... just make another cuppa! This time perhaps a palate-cleansing cup of black tea to finish it all off.

Take some time to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Take some time to enjoy the beautiful weather.

While you crunch...

While you crunch...

...and sip...

...and sip...

...the day away!

...the day away!

R: Oh what luck, behold the…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

GFM is a BIG fan of the duck. Like A, he has this incredible weakness for it. Very inspired by the wonderful people at Hung Kee, coupled with GFM’s can-do attitude, he decided to attempt the unconceivable- cook a whole duck, the fair-dinkum british-meets-teochew way.

GFM only uses whole spices, which he mortle & pestles.

He then marinades the duck in the ground spices and a cocktail of spices, gives it a good massage, then leaves it to rest.

The duck is then cooked in a master-stock, with yet more spices and sauces.

Finally, it is grilled to crispy-skinned perfection.

The table was so quiet when the duck was served up- the greedy silence a definite compliment to the chef.

R: Wagon Wheels

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

In our recently acquired Gary Rhodes cookbook, GFM (Green-Fingers Miller) spied a recipe for Wagon wheels. I couldn’t fathom why ANYONE would make wagon wheels. Then came many more questions. Is it possible to make marshmallow? Can I use golden syrup instead of corn syrup?

Challenged, I set about the wheely exciting task. The biscuit base was simple enough, especially since just the night before, I made lemon butter cookies.

The marshmallow was fascinating for a first-timer! and Yes, it is possible to make it at home, and YES you can use golden syrup instead of corn syrup. You only just end up with an off-white mallow, instead of a pure white one.

Mistake #1: I used the same sized cutter to cut the cookies and mallow, forgetting that the cookies will expand as they bake. Well, maths was never my forte!

The trickiest part was certainly the bit where you coat the sandwich in the chocolate ganache. You have to do it in stages. Coating the biscuit was manageble, but the ganache kept sliding off the mallow.  

Nonetheless, GFM thought it was brillant and it kept the sugar levels up alllllll bright and sunny day.

A: Orange you glad I bought some Amaretto?

Posted in Muffins with tags , , , on August 17, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

I can never slip through duty free without maximising my alcohol allowance. Having nearly completed my collection of Absolut vodkas (just have pepper and pear to go, I think!), I decided to get something a little different this time and landed on a bottle of Amaretto instead.

We love this stuff, and could probably finish most of it drunk neat. However man decided to have it with orange juice last night, which set me on a boozy cake mission!

I found a recipe for Bermudian Rum Cake in my Greyston Bakery Cookbook and this morning set about making Italian Amaretto Muffins!

Ingredients:

1/2 C finely chopped pecans

1 C plain flour + pinch of salt

3/4 C caster sugar

11/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 milk

1/4 orange juice (we had orange and mango juice)

1/4 vegetable oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp grated orange zest

3 tbsp Amaretto

Method:

Heat oven to 180C, line 9 muffin cups and fill the empty muffin-holes with hot water.

Whisk together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.

Combine wet ingredients with orange zest and mix into the flour mixture.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and top with finely chopped pecans.

Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in tin then remove muffins from tin and place on a wire rack over newspaper/plate. Prick holes in muffins and pour 2 tbsp glaze on each muffin (letting muffin absorb glaze bit by bit, or it’ll just run over the muffin and your beautiful Amaretto will go to waste!).

Glaze:

Melt 3 tbsp butter in a pan, add 1/4 C brown sugar and 1 tbsp water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer while stirring continuously for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tbsp Amaretto and set aside.

These muffins rise beautifully and are really quite nice eaten warm, and man will proudly attest to that having just given it the thumbs up. I imagine a little shot of Amaretto or spiced rum on the side wouldn’t go amiss either. Perhaps a dollop of cream spiked with Cointreau or rum, as suggested by the original recipe? Mmm…

A: How do I love thee? Lemon count the ways…

Posted in Muffins with tags , , on August 16, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

Don’t you think for one second that I have forgotten my beloved citrus delights. If anything, the house if bursting at the seams with all manner of lemon wonders. (Man is still adamant that his life is made no better by this seasonal barrage of sunburst-yellow.)

One of my all-time favourite muffin combinations has got to be lemon-raspberry. Actually, I suspect this has more to do with the raspberry and less to do with the lemon. Regardless, decided to make a batch of minis with my growing bounty of lemons.

Have bastardized a number of lemon-cake/muffin recipes over the years and I currently am quite happy with this one.

Lemon and raspberry muffins

Ingredients:

115g butter, softened

225g sugar

4 eggs, beaten

225g plain flour, whisked with 2 1/2 tsp baking powder

130ml milk

1tsp vanilla essence

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 cup of frozen raspberries (I tend to add more)

Method:

Heat the over to 180C, line 12 muffin cups or 24 mini-muffin cups.

Combine the lemon juice with the milk and leave for 10 minutes (or just use 150ml buttermilk plus lemon zest).

Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well after each addition.

Add flour mixture and fold in using a spatula.

Fold in milk, zest, vanilla and frozen raspberries.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes.

I would include a photo of the finished product but a large proportion of the muffins mysterious disappeared while they were cooling and I was so caught up in saving the rest from my ravenous manrat (who claims to abhor the dreaded lemon) that I forgot to take a snap. 😦

A: Tis the season to be bloody.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 16, 2008 by gluttondressedaslamb

Went trawling for more Roman broccoli in the shops this week but I suspect its brief season has finished and I shall now have to make do with oh-so-boring broccoli and cauliflower as they come. (Suddenly feeling not so posh and very plain indeed.)

HOWEVER blood oranges are back in season, which is great news for all who love its beautiful crimson flesh and dappled orange-red skin. What mysteries hide themselves among these bloodshot sacs, nobody knows.

Although I have seen recipes using blood oranges in salads and fancy carpaccios, I prefer to eat as is. Blood orange season is a short one, and I’d rather not mess about with it in the brief time we have together.

Best eaten over a sink, or better still, in the bath.