Sunday, September 30, 2007
I am officially a Daring Baker! My initiation could not have coincided with a tastier recipe. Marce from Pip in the City hosted this month's challenge and she chose Cinnamon and/or Sticky Buns. I couldn't wait to try them so I made them at the beginning of the month. Another reason for that was that I wanted to make them before I moved.
I decided to make the entire batch just cinnamon buns with fondant glaze. The dough was very easy to work with and the only problem I really had was entirely my fault. When I first rolled up the dough to form the buns, I didn't roll it tight enough and I had a hard time cutting the buns and they were coming undone. I had to unroll and reroll every single bun but that worked and my buns turned out great.
I did find the glaze recipe made way too much and I used less than half the glaze. Other than that, it was a great recipe.
We loved the buns and I will definitely be making them again but maybe I'll try half cinnamon and half sticky next time! For the recipe, see the link to Marce's above.
Labels: bread, buns, cinnamon, Daring Bakers
Monday, September 24, 2007
The last time I tried to make pie dough was for a Tarte Tatin and I failed miserably. The dough was too crumbly and I just couldn't work it. This time though, it was a breeze. It was very easy to work with from start to finish. It crisped up beautifully and tasted great. As a matter of fact, it is one of the best pie crusts I have ever tried. I wish I could take credit for it but I can't, the crust recipe came from a book called The Taste of Home Baking Book and it was submitted by a lady named Theresa Brazil, I just made some changes to the way the dough is handled and added a chilling step.
The pie was great all around and I'm glad because I was sort of trying to show off. Nothing worse than failing when you are being a show off!
While looking for the apples at the supermarket, the only thing I could find that was green and not Granny Smith, were some apples by the name of Ginger Gold. I had never heard of them before but they are supposed to be like Golden Delicious, which was actually what I was looking for, so I got them. They taste good when eaten raw and even better in the pie.
Ginger Gold Apple Pie
For the crust:
2 1/2 (11 oz, 312 g) cups all purpose (plain) flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 lbs, 227 g) cold unsalted butter
6 to 8 tbsp (15ml each) cold water
For the filling:
7 Ginger Gold (or similar) apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup (3.5 oz, 100 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
small pinch of salt
small pinch of ground black pepper
juice of half a small lime
1. For the crust, combine the flour and the salt in a large mixing bowl; cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add the water, tossing with a fork until the mixture forms a ball. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
2. In the mean time, combine the filling ingredients, except for the lime, in a bowl. Toss to cover, sprinkle the lime juice on top and toss again. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C. Divide the dough in half, making one half slightly larger than the other. On lightly floured surface, roll of the bigger half and line a 9 or 9.5 inch pie plate with it. Trim the edges. Add the filling to the lined pie plate. Roll out the remaining dough and place over the filling. Trim the edges to match the bottom crust. With a fork, press down on the edges to secure them together. With a sharp knife, make 6 small cuts on the top crust for ventilation.
4. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F / 190°C and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the crust is golden. The total baking time is 65 to 75 minutes.
For the sake of photography, I HAD to eat a slice just out of the oven, with some cold vanilla ice cream. The sacrifices I have to make for the sake of this blog!!! ;) Of course, I was too busy eating with my eyes and that picture did not make the cut!
Labels: apple, pastry, pie
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I always knew that my mom was no Betty Crocker, I have never really seen her bake anything. Her oven is used for storage and always has been but I never realized the severity of the situation until this time around. She has 3 roasting pans, each one worse than the next and there isn't even a whisk in this kitchen. To top it off, she has a deep dish glass pie plate just like the one I have at home but she had no idea it was a pie plate. She uses it as a serving dish and honest to goodness had no idea it was supposed to be used to bake pies in.
I was having baking withdrawals but no equipment (or ingredients) to make anything so I decided to take a little trip to Target and bought some essentials. I may leave them here when I move out but I doubt they'd get used again.
So, tomorrow, I make pie!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
We will be staying with my parents for a couple of months so I will probably not blog often in that time. I will try to do so every now and then though, mostly because my mom has TOLD me I will be making some things for her.
I will miss cooking and baking, that's for sure but I do look forward to a bigger kitchen as ANY house or apartment in the US will have a kitchen that is bigger than the one I have here!
Check on the blog every now and then and I will see you later!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
When I found out my husband was not going to be around for dinner tonight, I immediately started planning in my head what treat I was gonna make for myself. After all, it is not often that I get the chance to cook something without having to take anyone else's taste into account. Of course, this meant shellfish. I really couldn't pick one thing to make so I decided on Surf and Turf. I knew the turf bit would be a ribeye steak but I thought I'd wait till I was at the fishmongers to decided on the surf, just so I could see what they had.
They have giant tiger prawns, the same kind I had been drooling over the last time I went to that fishmonger. I brought two home, and at £13.78 for the both of them, I really couldn't afford more! These suckers were the biggest prawns I have EVER seen. I kid you not, they were nearly the size of small lobsters. Next stop was the butcher for a nice, juicy steak.
I just made it up as I went and it turned out delicious. Just because it's just me for dinner does not mean I have to eat bad! Granted, I can't afford meals like this often!
June's Surf and Turf for One
for the tiger prawns:
2 giant tiger prawns, raw and whole
2 garlic cloves
large pinch of ground ginger
large pinch of flaked peppers (dried)
large pinch of salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
for the steak:
1 medium sized ribeye steak
salt and pepper
Carefully remove the shell form the body of the prawns, leaving the head and tail shell intact.
In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, ground ginger, and pepper flakes. Add the salt and pepper. Gradually add the olive oil and crush a bit more. Rub this mixture on the prawns. Place in a dish, cover with cling film and refrigerate for about 1.5 hours. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling.
Remove the steak from the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and lightly brush with olive oil.
Remove any big garlic bits from the prawns. Place the steak and prawns on a hot grill, turning once. The steak can be done to your liking. The prawns take about 5 minutes and are done when completely pink.
Sprinkle steak with chopped fresh parsley and chives.
Of course, you can't just have that by itself, you need a starch or veg of some sort. I went for mashed potatoes after a failed attempt at french fries. Just in case you need a recipe for mash, here it is:
June's Mashed Potatoes for One
10oz small potatoes (about 10 baby new)
2 garlic cloves
a knob of butter
whipping cream (or milk)
Wash the potatoes and cut them in quarters. In a medium saucepan, bring enough water to cover the potatoes to the boil with the sliced garlic cloves. Add the potatoes and the salt and cook until tender.
Drain the potatoes and put them back on the burner for about a minute, shaking frequently, to eliminate the excess moisture. Take off the heat and mash. Add the butter and stir to melt and combine. Add enough whipping cream or milk to make it creamy but not watery. Serve.
So, a scrumptious feast that is extremely easy to make. Eat with a glass of bubbly and have yourself a nice little treat, and if you are really in the mood, you can follow it your favorite dessert. It does not get better than this!
As The Domestic Goddess (Nigella) once said, "....you don't have to belong to the drearily narcissistic learn-to-love-yourself school of thought to grasp that it might be a good thing to consider yourself worth cooking for. And the sort of food you cook for yourself will be different from the food you might lay on for tablefuls of people: it will be better."
And this is just to show you that even when cooking for one, I just can't help being messy!
PS. These prawns are quite huge and so are their organs. If you are squeamish, then I recommend you have the fishmonger cut the heads off and devein them. If you are doing it yourself, do so just before eating. After taking the head off and cleaning the remains, run a sharp knife down the back of the prawn and take the vein out.
Labels: beef, potatoes, prawn, shrimp, steak
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I decided to finally give it a go today but I had no idea what I was in for. It's not difficult, it's just time consuming. They always make it seem like a piece of cake on TV! First of all, there is a bug in the recipe. I don't know if it was a printing error or what but there was absolutely no way the mixture for the Garibaldi biscuits was going to become a dough with the amount of flour the recipe asked for. Maybe it was that it called for too much egg white, who knows. That was an easy fix though, I just added more flour.
The bad thing about this recipe is the sheer amount of time involved in making it. It's mostly inactive time but expect it to take nearly all day, or at the very least, the better part of the day. Time aside, I found the pastry for the tart itself very difficult to work with. It went very soft very quickly, unlike most pastry dough I have worked with. It seemed that just rolling it made it melt. I thought about adding more flour but in the end, I decided not to. The end result was just fine, just a pain in the butt to get it there.
So, without further ado, the adapted (and corrected) recipe:
Custard Tart with Garibaldi Biscuits
for the biscuits:
100g (3.5 oz) butter, melted
100g (3.5 oz) icing (confectioner's) sugar
250g (9 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
100g (3.5 oz) egg whites
200g (7 oz) seedless raisins
for the pastry:
225g (8oz) plain (all purpose) flour
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 lemon (unwaxed)
150g (50z) unsalted butter
75g (2.5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg yolk and 1 whole egg, beaten together
for the custard filling:
9 free range egg yolks
75g (2.5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
500ml (17 fl oz) whipping cream
1. First, make the Garibaldi biscuits. Mix together the butter, icing sugar, and flour until smooth. Slowly add the egg whites, stirring until they are completely incorporated, then fold in the raisins. Lightly knead into a ball, wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for at least 1 hour.
2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut into 3 x 7cm rectangles with a small sharp knife. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof (waxed) paper, ensuring the biscuits are not touching each other. Put the tray in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Bake the biscuits for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Keep in an airtight container.
4. To make the pastry, rub together the flour, salt, lemon zest and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, then slowly add the eggs, mixing until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap tightly in cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 170°C / 340°F / Gas 3.
6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 2mm thick. Use to line an 18cm (7 inch) tart pan with a loose bottom and place on a baking sheet. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (or dried beans), then blind bake for about 10 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown. Remove the paper and beans and cool. Turn the oven down to 130°C / 265°F / Gas 1/2.
7. For the filling, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the cream and mix well. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve (strainer) into a saucepan and warm to tepid.
8. Fill the pastry case with the custard, to within 5mm from the top. Carefully place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the custard appears set but not too firm. Remove from the oven and cover the surface liberally with the ground cinnamon. Allow to cool at room temperature.
9. Serve with the biscuits
It was good and very smooth, however, with the amount of work involved (and the fact that it was made for the Queen!) you'd expect it to knock your socks off. Sadly, it didn't. However, If I had not had to make it myself, it would have been delicious! I guess the amount of work is not equally proportional to the taste. I'd make it again but I'd give it some sort of twist to spice it up a bit.
That took me most of the day but dinner itself was a breeze. The squash is very easy to make. Simply take two small acorn squashes and poke a few holes in them with a small knife. Bake in a 190°C / 375° oven for about one hour or until they feel soft when poked with a small, sharp knife. Cut in half and discard the seeds. Dot generously with butter. Done.
Spicy Honey-Kissed Chicken
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp rubbed or crumbled sage
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound (about 2 large) chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp light soy sauce
In a small dish, combine the rub ingredients. Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide.
Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. Cook the chicken until nearly cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Stir into the chicken, increase the heat to high, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the chicken has just cooked through.
The chicken was very tasty and quite honestly, very easy and quick. As if that wasn't enough, it was also healthy! The recipe came from a book called Meals in Minutes by the American Heart Association.
Labels: chicken, eggs, pastry, squash, tart
Monday, September 10, 2007
Of course I procrastinated, after all, I have a reputation to keep up but better late than never. I made this for dinner today and it was delicious. Because it is not a very chunky soup, I thought it would go great with some focaccia, but not the one from the magazine. The focaccia is a little bit time consuming but worth it!
White Bean Soup with Pancetta
20g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 L chicken stock, hot
2 400g cans haricot beans, drained and rinsed
120g cubed pancetta
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pan, over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the onions are just soft.
Add the stock and beans and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until golden. Drain on paper towels.
Take the soup pot off the heat. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Allow to cool slightly. Whizz using a hand-held blender or food processor until smooth. Season.
Divide the soup between four bowls, drizzle with some of the pancetta fat. Divide the pancetta equally between the bowls. Grind over a little black pepper. Serve.
Onion and Sage Focaccia
210ml / 7 1/2 fl oz water
15ml / 1 tbsp olive oil
350g / 120z unbleached white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp easy-blend dried yeast (fast acting)
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp chopped red onion
for the topping
30ml / 2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp coarse sea salt
ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine the water, olive oil, flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix until a ball starts to form. Pour onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides of the dough, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Lightly oil an 11 inch shallow round cake pan. Remove the dough from the bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down and flatten it slightly. Sprinkle over the chopped sage and onion and knead lightly to incorporate.
Shape the dough into a ball, flatten it, then roll into a round of about 11 inches. Place in the greased pan. Cover with clear film and leave to rise in a warm place for 2o minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Uncover the risen focaccia, and, using your fingertips, poke the dough to make deep dimples over the surface. Cover and leave to rise for a further 10-15 minutes.
Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle with the onion, sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.
If it's cold or you just don't have a warm enough place for your dough to rise, you can use your oven. Just heat the oven up to about 80°C/176°F and let the dough rise in there. I have done it this way ever since I learned about it on YouTube and it works wonders!
Labels: beans, bread, Italian, soup
Friday, September 7, 2007
It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be either. It does take a little bit of work and some multitasking but it is worth it. It was very tasty, probably because it was loaded with butter and olive oil! Here is what I cooked:
Ham and French Bean Hot-Pot
300 g (10.5 oz) new potatoes
230 g (8 oz) fresh french beans
230 g (8 0z) cooked ham, cubed
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 sage leaves
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F. Peel the potatoes and wash them, then cut them into wedges and slice them. Put them in a pot, then fill it with water to cover and add salt. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to the boil. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Cut the french beans in half. Strain the potatoes with a slotted spoon. In the same water, boil the french beans. When the beans are cooked to the desired point, drain.
3. Put two tablespoons each of butter and oil, along with the garlic, in a pan on the stove. Saute the garlic, then remove and discard it. Transfer the beans to the pan, letting them cook and absorb the flavors over low heat.
4. In another pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil with the sage leaves. Add the potatoes and brown over high heat, putting the ham in at the last minute. Season the potatoes and beans to taste.
5. Butter an oven proof glass bowl generously and coat it with bread crumbs. Add the beans and potatoes, placing them in layers, then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
I'd definitely make it again, I'd just make more of it!
Labels: beans, ham, potatoes
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Fougasse is a rustic French bread from Provence and is reputed to be the French equivalent of Italy's foccacia.
We went to the local PYO yesterday and could not resist picking some yellow and red onions. In my mind, I knew what the red onions would be used for. It was the first time I picked onions and I couldn't believe how juicy they were. The juice temporarily stained my fingers purple while I was cutting them.
I couldn't find a recipe for the exact same bread but I did find several for plain fougasse, so after doing some more research, this is the recipe I came up with.
Fougasse with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere
210 ml / 7 1/2 fl oz water
15 ml / 1 tbsp vegetable oil
350 g / 12 oz white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp fast acting dried yeast
50 g / 2 oz butter
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove
30 g / 1 oz Gruyere, grated
1. Pour the water and oil into a large bowl, cover with the flour. Add the salt, sugar and the yeast. Mix until a ball starts to form.
2. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until no longer sticky. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once so both sides are coated and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
3. Punch the dough down a bit and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten and roll it into an oblong, about 30cm / 12 inches long. With a knife, make four parallel cuts diagonally through the dough, leaving the edges intact. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, stretching the dough a bit so it resembles a ladder.
4. Cover with two squares of paper towels and let it rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
5. In the mean time, in a frying pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and brown.
6. Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F. Spread the caramelized onion mixture over the risen bread and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden. It is best eaten warm.
As with most doughs, having a mixer greatly helps. When I started baking bread, I didn't have anything so I mixed everything by hand. I have since acquired a cheap hand mixer that has two dough spirals and even just that makes things 110% easier. I still have to knead the dough a little bit but there is no getting my hands sticky while trying to mix the ingredients initially. I look forward to getting a Kitchen Aid and letting it knead for me, although I do enjoy kneading.
The results were good but nothing like Cafe Rouge's. However, it was clear to me what needed to be changed or improved. The first thing that struck me was that the onions burnt a bit in the oven. I think this was because I cut them too small. At Cafe Rouge, they quarter the onions instead of slicing them thinly so next time, I will do so too. This will not only help give more onion flavor but also stop them from burning in the oven. Another reason I think contributed to the overcooking of the onions was the oven might have been too hot. Next time, I will decrease the oven temperature.
We also think there should be more cheese next time.
Other than that, the bread was good and we ate most of it before dinner, which was pushed back because we were so full.
For dinner, I made a recipe from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Bites. This is what I meant to cook yesterday but had some problems with the beans and then the chorizo. All problems solved today, I went ahead as planned.
It is a very simple and quick recipe for chicken. The bean and chorizo part is not unlike the fabada asturiana we often get at the local tapas place. The chicken was incredibly juice and tender and the beans soaked up the flavor of the chorizo very nicely. All in all, it was success. The following is a bit of an adaptation of the original recipe.
Chicken with Chorizo and Cannellini
700 ml chicken stock
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
two handfuls of baby spinach
3 tbsp olive oil
200g chorizo, sliced then chopped
2 41o g can cannellini beans, drained
salt and pepper
In a saucepan, bring the stock to a gentle boil, lower in the chicken breasts and cook, gently, for about 15 minutes or until all traces of pink have disappeared. Pierce with the point of a knife to check.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chorizo and the drained beans. Stir and warm everything through, moistening with 3 or 4 tablespoons of the chicken stock, or more if you want it soupier. Season to taste.
Tip the beans and chorizo into two shallow dishes. Arrange one handful of spinach on each plate and the place the chicken on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
It was very tasty and definitely filling. Nigella's gone and done it again!
Labels: beans, bread, cheese, chicken, chorizo, French, onion
I wanted to do something that was mainstream but give it my own little twist, which is not easy when there are so many variations of of every cocktail, aperitif, long drink, etc out there. I went on a whim and decided to make something I call a Cuban Sunrise, which as you can gather, is my twist on the very popular Tequila Sunrise. I didn't really know what to expect but it turned out OK, so I'm sitting here, blogging, while sipping on my new creation. Thank goodness it IS after noon! ;)
100 ml mango juice
50 ml rum
15 ml Grenadine
Mix the mango juice and rum and pour into a highball glass half-filled with ice. Carefully pour in the Grenadine and let it sink to the bottom. When ready to drink, stir.
Makes 1 drink
This has got to be one of the easiest "recipes" I've ever made! What makes it Cuban is obviously the use of rum instead of the traditional tequila. The mango is also much more Cuban than pineapple or even orange juice, at least in my very humble opinion. I also happen to like mango juice much better so it worked out great.
If you like fruity drinks, this is the one for you!
Labels: drink, mango, Monthly Mingle, rum
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I had never made it before because my husband does not like mushrooms, which are a main ingredient in stroganoff. I decided to make it but compensated for the eliminated mushrooms with more beef. He doesn't usually like pasta either but will eat if it has enough sauce, which is perfect because stroganoff has sauce!
It was a simple and easy but tasty and filling meal, which was fine by me! I had a sous chef (my husband!) this time so it was even quicker.
Beef Stroganoff My Way
10 oz (300 g) sirloin steak, boneless
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp all purpose (plain) flour
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 beef bouillon cube
1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp butter or margarine
3 cups hot cooked noodles
Trim fat from meat. Thinly slice the meat into bit size strips. Set aside.
For the sauce, in a small bowl stir together the sour cream, water, flour, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and beef bouillon. Set aside.
In a large skillet cook and stir the onion and garlic in the hot butter or margarine over medium high heat, until soft. Add the meat and cook until it is slightly pink in the center. Add the sauce; reduce the heat to medium. Cook and stir until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for a further 1 minute and season to taste. Serve over the noodles.
The original recipe called for the meat, onion and garlic to be cooked at the same time but we concluded that while the meat was fine, the garlic needed to cook a bit longer so I have reflected that on the recipe.
Labels: beef, noodles, sour cream
Monday, September 3, 2007
I had never actually made rolled cookies before and I had a bit of trouble getting started, mostly because I was intimidated by the dough but things worked themselves out. This time I just rolled the cookies in vanilla sugar as soon as I pulled them out of the oven instead of going through all the trouble of decorating them. Here's an adaptation of Peggy Porschen's recipe:
Makes about 25 medium sized cookies
200 g unsalted butter, softened
200 g caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
400 g plain (all purpose) flour, plus more for dusting
for vanilla cookies, add seeds from 1 vanilla pod
for lemon cookies, add finely grated zest 1 lemon
for orange cookies, add finely grated zest of 1 orange
for chocolate cookies, replace 50 g of the plain flour with 50 g of cocoa powder
Cream the butter with the sugar and chosen flavor if any until well mixed and just creamy in texture. Do not overwork, or the cookies will spread during baking.
Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and mix on until a dough forms. Gather into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour.
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead briefly. Roll out to an even thickness, about 5 mm (1/4 inch).
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and, using a palette knife (spatula), lay on a baking tray / cookie sheet lined with greaseproof (waxed) paper. Chill again for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on size, until golden-brown at the edges. Let cool on a wire rack.
This job is obviously made much easier by using a stand or even an electric mixer but I don't have one and I did just fine. If you are making different shape cookies, bake each shape separately to prevent overcooking of some while others are undercooked.
For dinner, we had a very nice potato galette from one of my newest cookbooks, Dinner With Friends from the Kitchen Classics series. It took a long time to make but it was really good. We love potatoes in my house and we are gluttons so I made the full recipe, which is supposed to feed 4 to 6 people, and we ate it all.....along with our steak! There is no question why we are in shape.....round!
Provencale Potato Galette
1 tbps olive oil
200 g (7 oz) bacon, finely chopped
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) all purpose potatoes, thinly sliced
30 g (1 oz) butter
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon over medium heat until it starts to brown. Add the onion and thyme and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to a large bowl, add the potatoes, season and toss well.
Transfer the mixture to an 18 cm (7 inch) round cake pan and press down well. Dot with butter. Put a piece of doubled up greaseproof (waxed) paper over the top and place a weight, such as a ramekin or smaller cake pan, over the paper. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the weight and paper and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potato is tender and lightly golden. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the tin and turn out the galette.
This is my adaptation of the recipe on the book. I didn't have a 7 inch cake pan so I used a 8 inch one. The galette wasn't as tall as it should have been but it didn't affect the taste. Because I used a bigger pan, I baked it for a little less time.
Labels: bacon, cookies, French, potatoes
Sunday, September 2, 2007
-- Players, you must list one fact, word or tidbit that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your first or middle name. -- When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own first or middle name game facts, word or tidbit. -- At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. -- So if I've tagged YOU, please join in on the fun!
J - Jumpy. I am very easily startled, even in my own home by my own husband. He doesn't even sneak up on me or anything. If I expected him to be say in the living room and all of a sudden I see him come out of the bathroom, I get all jumpy.
U - Unemployed. This is why I have so much time to cook and bake so much! Thankfully, it's by choice.
N - Navy. I spent 5 years in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. I was honorably discharged on February 2006 after finishing my enlistment.
E - Expensive. I have a BIG shoe addiction and not to cheap shoes mind you. I lust after Manolos, Choos and Louboutins. As if that wasn't enough, I am also addicted to kitchen gadgets, appliances, pots, pans, etc which make my habits very expensive ones!
Here is who I'm tagging
Milk and Cookies
Nirmala's Cooking Corner
I looked for someone with a U but I couldn't find anyone! I KNOW I saw a blog by someone whose name starts with a U but I can't find it now. If I do, I'll post it.