Monday, 4 December 2017

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream












As much as I go on about my love of chocolate, vanilla is actually my favourite flavour... and sometimes coffee is my favourite... then, I do love hazelnut... and caramel... and you can't really beat almond... or browned butter... or gingerbread... or cinnamon...



Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
Makes about 15
adapted from here

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup "00" flour
¼ cup cornflour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup caster sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup canola oil
½ cup buttermilk

For the Frosting:
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons milk

Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a couple of cupcake pans with paper liners, you'll need about 15. Set aside.

Put both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bow, whisk to mix and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes on high speed. Add the vanilla and oil and beat to mix for about 1 minute. Change to paddle attachment and reduce the speed to low. Add half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Once combined, add the remaining flour mixture and the rest of the buttermilk. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and fill the liners to half full.

Bake for 12- 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar util light and creamy.  Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Gradually add the milk a little at a time until it is a piping consistency. Beat for a further minute or so until really whipped and airy. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Pan Telera (Mexican Sandwich Bread)












I'm a self confessed bread maniac. I adore it. I don't just love eating though... I love to bake it, smell it, look at it, crack through the crust of it, butter it, shop for it, share it, watch people make it, admire it, tear it, toast it, travel the world to sample all the different incarnations of it, dream about it, read recipes for it, search the web for it, stuff it, fill my shopping basket with it, lick my finger and pick up the crumbs of it. I'm a lost cause. 





Pan Telera
Makes 8
slightly adapted from here

10g fresh yeast
400ml lukewarm water
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
500g baker's flour
2 tablespoons lard

Put the water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Crumble the yeast in and stir to dissolve. Add the sugar, flour and salt and mix on low speed for 5 minutes, until it becomes a smooth dough. Add the lard in small pieces and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball and pop it back into the bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Divide the dough into 8 even portions, roll them into oval balls and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Use your hands to flatten them out a bit, then press two deep tracks along the length of the bun using the handle of a wooden spoon. Turn the buns over and do the same to the other side. Cover loosely with a tea towel and leave to rise for 40 minutes. Press once more with the wooden handle in the same tracks, brush with water and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack. 



Thursday, 16 November 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes with Pear Jam











I'm pretty sure I subconsciously buy too much fruit on market day so that by the end of the week, I'm forced to make some sort of compote or jam with the stuff that we could eat fresh from the fruit bowl... And in turn, forced to make pancakes to slather it on.



Buttermilk Pancakes with Pear Jam
Serves 2
Pancakes adapted from here, jam form here

For the Jam:
2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup water

For the Pancakes:
1 egg
¾ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1½ tablespoon caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup plain flour, sifted
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Butter, for cooking the pancakes
Thick Greek yoghurt, to serve

Make the Jam:
Put all the jam ingredients into a small saucepan, bring to simmer over medium-heat, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the pears have softened. Set aside to cool

Make the Pancakes:
Through all the pancake ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and frugally smear it with butter, just enough to lightly coat the pan. Pour ¼ cup of the batter into the pan. They are ready to turn when small bubbles appear on the surface. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on the other side and remove to a warm plate. Continue with the rest of the batter. Serve with pear jam and dollops of thick Greek yoghurt.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Dark and White Chocolate Skillet Brownie










You don't have to make this for a special occasion... Friday will do.



Dark and White Chocolate Skillet Brownie
slightly adapted from here

200g unsalted butter, chopped
150g dark chocolate, chopped
110g plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
265g brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g white chocolate, broken into chunks

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Put the butter and dark chocolate into a saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly.  Add the flour, cocoa, sugar, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Pour the mixture into a heavy based 18cm skillet. Scatter the white chocolate chunk over, pressing some down into the batter, and place the skillet on a baking tray.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until set at the edges and still slightly soft in the centre.  Allow to cool slightly on the tray before serving.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Chorizo and Potato Empanadas












I love food trucks. I love street food. I love the vibe. I love that most street food it lovingly made by passionate people. I love people who love street food. I love making street food (even though it's made in my kitchen and served by me and usually eaten at the dinner table). Give me good street food over fine dining any day of the week.



Chorizo and Potato Empanadas
slightly adapted from here
Makes about 24

For the Filling:
4 medium waxy potatoes (I used Dutch Cream), peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 chorizo sausages, cases removed, meat crumbled
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup chicken stock
12 green olives, pitted and chopped
½ cup sultanas, chopped

For the Pastry:
1½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
115g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the tray
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash

Make the Filling:
Put the potatoes in a large pan, cover with cold water, add the salt and bring to the boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.

Put the chorizo in a large frying pan and cook over medium heat until crispy. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes, until the onions are soft. Pour in the stock and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, olives and sultanas.  Mix and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Set aside to cool.

Make the Pastry:
Put the flour, masa harina, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and use your hand to bring it together into a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the Empanadas:
Brush a large baking tray lightly with melted butter.  Set aside.

Lightly flour a work surface, divide the dough into to portions and roll one portion out until its about 3mm thick. Use a 10cm cookie cutter to cut 10 circles out of the dough. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Put a heaped tablespoon of filling onto 1 half of each circle of dough, leaving a 1cm border. Brush the edges with egg wash and fold the dough over, creating a semi-circle shape. Press firmly to seal the edges and crimp with the tines of a fork. Place them on the prepared baking tray and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Brush the empanadas with egg wash , prick the tops with a fork and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.








































Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Cannoli with Ricotta and Coffee











Cannoli will always remind me of The Sopranos... Just when I though I was out, they pull me back in...  and that's okay with me.  


Cannoli with Ricotta and Coffee
Makes 6
slightly adapted from here

For the Cases:
150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons strong, brewed espresso
1 egg white
15g lard
Sunflower oil for deep-frying

For the Filling:
250g fresh ricotta
90g icing sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
½ teaspoon instant coffee powder
60g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Make the Cases:
Put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso and egg white into a food processor and pulse until the mixture come together as a dough.  Knead briefly on a lightly floured board until smooth, shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.

On a lightly floured board, roll the pastry out until it is about 2mm thick.  Cut it into six 9cm squares.

Wrap each square around a metal cannoli tube, wetting the corners that meat so that they seal together.

Heat the oil to 170C and drop the cannoli in two at a time. Cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well. Leave to cool, then slip the tubes out.

Make the Filling:
Put all the filling ingredients into a bowl and stir well to combine. Spoon the filling into a piping bag and pipe the mixture into the cooled cases from either end.  Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Chai-Spiced White Chocolate Tart









I made this tart AGES ago and like the obsessive food blogger I am, took lots of pictures and meticulously edited and catalogued them.  I then promptly forgot all about them until this morning when I was looking for another bunch of images for another long-forgotten dish. Who knows what amazing things I could do if  my real life didn't keep distracting me.


Chai-Spiced White Chocolate Tart
slightly adapted from here

For the Pastry:
200g "00" flour
100g cold unsalted butter
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon iced water, if needed
Pinch of salt

For the Filling:
300g white chocolate, roughly chopped (I use one with hazelnuts.  If you are using plain white chocolate, throw a handful of chopped, toasted hazelnuts in.)
150ml cream
150ml milk
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 stick cinnamon
4 cloves
Pinch of salt
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Make the Pastry:
Put all the pastry ingredients except the water, into a food processor and blitz until it comes together as a dough.  Use the extra water only if the dough is too dry.  Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Slide a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and and roll it out to line a greased 23 cm (9 in) loose-bottomed tart pan. Press the pastry into the sides and base of the pan, prick the base with a fork and trim off any excess pastry.

Line the pastry with baking paper, pour in some baking weights and bake for 15 minutes on the heated baking sheet. Remove the weights and paper and return the tart to the baking sheet in the oven to cake for a further 5 - 10 minutes, or until cooked through and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Make the Filling:
Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl.

Put the cream, milk and spices into a medium pan, place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Pour the hot cream mixture, through a sieve to strain out the whole spices, over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts.  Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg together and add the cooled chocolate mixture.  

Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes at 180C, then reduce the temperature to 130C and bake for a further 20 - 25 minutes or until golden and set.  Leave to cool to room temperature before slicing.