Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Spicy Jalapeno and Cheddar Cornbread

Last muffin left with a few crumbs !
Cornbread is a tasty & hearty accompaniment to lighter meals such as fish tacos and salads.

There are many ways to jazz up traditional cornbread and adding jalapenos and cheddar cheese is among my favorites. These two ingredients are quick to put together and really add a zip to a traditional food.

This recipe only takes about 20 minutes to put together.

Makes about 8 - 10 muffins

Let's get baking!


Flour 150 grams
Cornmeal 100 grams
Baking powder 8 grams
Baking soda 1 gram
Salt 3 grams
Brown sugar 40 grams
Canned corn 85 grams
Buttermilk 155 grams
Eggs 2
Butter 60 grams
50 grams jalapeno peppers (chopped)
50 grams cheddar cheese (chopped)

  1.  Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda & salt together.
  2. Melt the butter over hot water or in the microwave.
  3.  In a blender mix the corn. In a bowl, mix the brown sugar and milk and mix with a small whisk. Add eggs & corn and continue to mix until well blended.
  4.  Mix the corn mixture above into the flour mixture and mix with a spatula. Add the melted butter. Mix until everything is just moistened – don’t over mix. Lastly, add the jalapeno peppers and cheddar cheese.
  5.  Prepare muffin cases by lightly buttering & dusting with flour. Fill about 85% full.
  6. Bake at 170  degrees Celsius for about 25 – 30 minutes.

Ready for dinner

Cornbread & taco toppings

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Summery Avocado Gazpacho Soup

Delicious soup for a summer Sunday lunch

This soup really is super easy and quick to make, and I'm not exaggerating. The fresh vegetables are a delicious match. Before serving be sure to chill for an hour or two and it is really the right accompaniment for a summer sandwich.

Recipe

1/2 cup (125 mL) cold water
Juice of 1 lime
1 ripe avocado
1 cucumber, roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 cup (80 mL) fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp  salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) low-fat sour cream (for garnish)
Zest of 1 lime (for garnish)


1.      Place all ingredients except sour cream and lime zest in food processor or blender container and blend until well combined but with some texture still remaining. Add additional water if thinner consistency is desired.

2.      Pour gazpacho into large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with sour cream and lime zest.

Serves 4

Lunch is ready!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Buttery Chocolate Brioche

Chocolate Brioche


The trick to incorporate the chocolate into many layers of the dough is to fold the chocolate into the dough as if you are making puff pastry.  The chocolate should be well chilled before spreading it on the dough though otherwise it becomes difficult to work with.


Recipe
300 grams bread flour
15 grams sugar
50 grams honey
6 grams salt
5 grams instant dry yeast
150 grams milk (room temperature)
1 egg (room temperature)
50 grams butter (room temperature)


 
1.   In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast with a small whisk. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk and honey.
 
2.   Add the milk mixture to the flour and use a bench scraper to mix and coat the flour thoroughly.  Put on a flat surface and knead for about 10  minutes. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Let rest under a bowl for about 10 minutes.

3.   Put the butter on top of the dough and use a bench scraper to incorporate the butter by slicing it into the dough. Knead again so that the bread is soft & supple. If tough, add a tablespoon or so of milk and knead again.  Put in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place for 50 minutes.

 4. Flatten the dough & divide it into 2 equal weight pieces. Roll each piece into a nice smooth ball. Place on the kneading board and cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes (bench time).

Chocolate Filling
50 gr of dark chocolate
50 gr of sugar
30 gr of flour
20 gr of cocoa powder
1 egg white
75 grams of milk
Pinch of salt
25 gr butter

1. Finely chop the chocolate with a grater or with food processor.

2. Mix the sugar, flour, cocoa and egg whites in a bowl.


3. Heat the milk until just boiling. Slowly pour the milk into the cocoa mixture while stirring. Mix until well blended. Put everything back into the saucepan over low heat, stir until thickened.


4. Add the salt, butter and chopped chocolate and stir until everything has melted.


5. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool completely. Spread the filling into two rectangles of oven paper about 25x20cm, cover each of the sheets with film and put it in the freezer until they are solid.

Putting together
1.  Take one of the dough halves and roll out into the shape of a rectangle of about 30 x 21 cm. Put the frozen dough in the center and remove the plastic wrap. Let the chocolate warm up a few minutes then use a palette knife to ensure it is spread evenly over the dough.


2. Fold the dough in thirds. Fold down the top half and then the fold the bottom half so that it is overlapping the top half. Flatten with a rolling pin and fold again using the same method. Finally, fold up the dough from the long end (like making cinnamon rolls) and then cut the 'log' into about 7 pieces.

3. Place each piece into a baking cup and brush with egg. Place in a warm place to rise until about doubled in size.


4. Repeat the same process for the other half of dough.

5. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Donuts to Die For

Ready for Breakfast
This was my first time to make donuts from scratch and I found that they were shockingly delicious! Warm fresh donuts have to be about the best treat for an early morning breakfast - or for anytime!

Actually, making donuts doesn't take that much more time than baking bread. In fact, all processes are the same except that you need to fry the dough instead of bake it.



Recipe
(makes about 12 donuts)

40 grams sugar
170 ml water
8 grams instant dry yeast
3 eggs (room temperature)
500 grams flour
8 grams salt
100 grams butter (room temperature)

 
Water temperature should not be above 35°C / 95°F, or it will destroy the yeast. 1.     In a bowl, mix  the flour, sugar and yeast & salt. In another bowl, mix the eggs & milk then add to the flour mixture and mix well with spatula.
2.  Put the dough on a flat surface and knead well until the dough is soft. Place the dough under a bowl and rest for 10 minutes. Then slowly incorporate the butter cubes and knead well with your hands until the dough is glossy and smooth. Shape into a smooth ball and place in a clean bowl.
3.   Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof at a warm temperature for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough, then re-cover the bowl. Put in the fridge to chill for 12 - 16 hours or overnight.
The doughnuts will be more delicious and easily digested if you leave them to chill overnight. If you don't have the time, leave that part out. 4.    The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into 45 gram pieces. Shape them into smooth, tight buns and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Leave plenty of room between them to proof. Leave for 1 hour, or until about doubled in size.
5. Get a heavy-based saucepan. Fill it up to the halfway point with oil. Heat the oil to 155°C. Carefully remove a couple of doughnuts from the baking tray, take care not to deflate them, and put them into the oil. Fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a tray lined with paper towels. Set aside to cool before filling. Lightly dust with powdered sugar when they start to cool.


Custard filling
500 grams milk
4 egg yolks
50 grams sugar
40 grams flour
6 grams gelatin (softened)

1.       Put milk in a saucepan and bring slowly to a light boil.
2.       Meanwhile put egg yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl and mix for a few seconds. Pour the milk over the yolk mixture, whisking constantly then return the mixture to the saucepan.
3.    Cook over medium low heat, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes, until thickened then add the softened gelatin. Pour into a bowl to cool.
4.    Place a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool.
5.  To fill the donuts, fill a piping bag with the custard cream and pipe it into the doughnuts. First, make a small hole in the donuts using a tooth pick to make filling the donuts easier then pipe in the custard. Sprinkle the doughnuts with powdered sugar and eat them right away or store in an airtight tin. Enjoy
 
Custard cream is bursting out of the donuts
 
Breakfast buffet is ready
 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Green Tea Opera Cake

I love finding ways to bake with green tea powder called matcha in Japanese. Matcha does have a bitter taste but it matches well with many sweets such as white chocolate and fresh cream. Also, you don't need to use heaping teaspoons of it in recipes but just enough for a balanced flavor. This recipe has several steps but it is a great dessert to impress your friends.

By the way, this cake goes great with coffee. You don't need to worry that the matcha and coffee don't match, the sweetness of the chocolate is the dominate flavor in this dessert.
 

Cake is served

Recipe
 
Matcha Sponge Cake
80 grams powdered sugar
100 grams almond flour
30 grams flour
3 eggs
20 grams butter (melted)
130 grams egg white (about 4 eggs)
60 grams sugar
12 grams Matcha green tea powder 
Cake:
1. In a bowl, measure & whisk together the green tea powder and flour.
2. In another bowl, mix eggs, almond flour, and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until yellow and fluffy.
3. In another bowl, make a meringue with egg whites and sugar. Add the sugar in portions and mix with a hand mixer. Then add the flour/matcha mixture and mix with a spatula.
4.  Add the one third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and mix with a spatula then add remaining mixture. Add a small amount of the mixture to the butter and mix then add back to the bowl and mix together.
5. Bake in 2 cake pans (20 cm x 20 cm). Bake the mixture in the oven at 190ºC for 12 - 15 minutes

Matcha Cream
140 grams fresh cream
190  grams white chocolate chopped
1 teaspoon of Matcha green tea powder
3 grams gelatin softened

1. Boil the cream and the matcha powder and mix well to fully integrate the powder. Add the softened gelatin.  Add to the chocolate and mix with a whisk until fully melted. Cool until the consistency of pudding.

Chocolate Cream
200 g fresh cream
140 g of dark chocolate chopped
3 grams gelatin softened
1.    Boil the cream & add the gelatin.  Add to the chocolate and mix with a whisk until fully melted. Cool until the consistency of pudding.
 
Putting Together:
1.  I use a Stainless Steel Square Cake and Pastry Ring (12 cm x 12 cm) to make this cake.  First, cut a sheet of oven paper and put under the square pastry ring and place both on top of a plate the same size or larger. Cut the cake to fit inside the square and place at the bottom.
 
2. The process the is to layer the two chocolates and cake as below. The chocolate should be spread in a even layer using a palette knife.
-          Sponge cake
-          White chocolate cream (1/2 portion)
-          Chocolate cream (1/2 portion)
-          Sponge cake (same size as first cake)
-          White chocolate cream (1/2 portion)
-          Chocolate cream (1/2 portion)
Put in the refrigerator while making the last topping below.
 
 
Milk chocolate topping:
100 grams milk chocolate chopped
50 grams fresh cream
2 gram gelatin softened
 

1.    Boil the cream & add the gelatin.  Add to the chocolate and mix with a whisk until fully melted. Cool lightly.
2. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the milk chocolate topping on top using a palette knife to spread evenly.
3. Put in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour before removing from the square. To remove the square, you can use a palette knife around the inside the ring to loosen the cake. Or use a baking torch to lightly heat outside the square to melt the chocolate clinging to the square. Be careful when using the baking torch !!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Light and Moist Vanilla Cupcakes


Cream Cheese icing tops these cupcakes
 
There are so many delicious cupcake recipes available so it is hard try them all. I found a great recipe that made a delicious light and fluffy cupcake. The recipe from Natasha's Kitchen was easy to follow and quick to put together.

I used baking cups I bought at Ikea, however, they are shorter than the usual cupcake cups so please take this into consideration if you plan to purchase them too. Their good point is that they bake the cupcakes nicely and are easy to clean up for reuse.

Silicone baking cups from Ikea

Recipe (makes about 8 - 12 cupcakes depending on size)

135 grams flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (room temperature)
120 grams sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
60 grams vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter milk

1. In a bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients.
2. In another bowl, mix the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer until yellow and fluffy. Add in the other wet ingredients and dry ingredients alternatively and continue mixing.
3. Pour into the baking cups and bake about 15 - 20 minutes (depending on size).
4. Cool before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
250 grams powdered sugar
50 grams room temperature butter
125 grams cream cheese (room temperature)

1. In a bowl, mix the butter and powdered sugar together with a hand mixer. When well mixed add the cream cheese and continue to mix. Add food coloring as you like.
2. You can put the icing into a pastry bag to pipe on the cupcakes.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Creamy Chocolate Tart


 
Top the tart with your favorite nuts
I really like this recipe since the  tart has a deep chocolate flavor and a creamy texture. I've topped it with walnuts but pecans would match very well also.
I usually make chocolate recipes in the winter when the weather is cold since chocolate is much easier to handle in cooler temperatures. I provide a recipe for a crust below, however, if you need to save time you can buy a frozen pie crust. I am not promising that taste will be the same though ;)
 
The recipe below fits a 18 cm pie tart.
 
Pie Dough
175 grams flour
90 grams cold butter
25 grams almond flour
70 grams powdered sugar
pinch of salt
35 grams egg
 
1. Sift the flour, powdered sugar, almond powder and salt together in a bowl.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes and mix into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter. (You can also use a food processor for making the pie crust). Lastly, mix in the egg.
3. Lightly knead together on a flat board to blend all the ingredients well. Flatten into a large circle and cover in plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator for about 1 hour before using. This dough becomes soft quickly so you should work with it quickly.
4. Roll out the dough on a flat board to and fit over the tart ring. Cut off the excess dough with a knife. Neatly fit the dough inside of the ring. Cover with baking paper and fill with baking beans.
5. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes then remove the beans and baking paper and bake for another 7 minutes. Remove from the oven.
 
Cover the dough with baking paper and baking beans
before baking
 
 
Chocolate Filling
200 grams fresh cream
225 grams dark chocolate
30 grams brown sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
3 tablespoons flour (sifted)
 
1. In a bowl, put the chocolate over a pot of simmering hot water and melt. Remove from the heat when melted.
2. Put the cream into a saucepan and heat until lightly boiling.
3. Add the cream in portions to the melted chocolate and mix together with a small whisk. Stir gently so the chocolate does not separate.
4. Next add the eggs in portions to the chocolate and mix together using the whisk. Lastly, add the sifted flour in portions.
5. Pour the chocolate filling into the baked pie crust and top with nuts. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven & cool before serving.

 
I used a rectangle tart pan for this one
Nice design
 

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Gateau Basque

Ready for Dessert?
This cake combines a nice buttery cake on the outside filled with custard cream and dark sweet cherries on the inside.

This is a nice cake to have for dessert during the cold winter months. Pair it with a hot cup of coffee and you will feel warm and cosy.

Preparation time is about 45 minutes and baking is another 30 minutes.


Recipe


Cake
100 grams butter (room temperature)
80 grams sugar
65 grams eggs
135 grams flour
20 grams almond flour (powder)
2 grams baking powder
pinch of salt

1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In another bowl, mix the butter with whisk until soft then add the sugar in portions. Lastly, add the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Cover and set to the side.

Custard
130 grams milk
1 egg yolk
25 grams sugar
15 grams flour
10 grams butter
5 grams Kirsch liquor
100 grams dark sweet cherries

1. In a bowl mix together the egg yolk, sugar and flour with a whisk.
2. In a saucepan heat the milk until just boiled. Add the milk to the egg mixture & mix then add back to the saucepan and heat on medium and stir with a whisk until the mixtures thickens like pudding. .
3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and mix well. Lastly, add the Kirsch liquor and mix. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let cool.

Putting Everything Together:

1. I used a  15 cm (round) x 5 cm (tall) baking ring. Put the ring on top of a sheet of baking paper then put on top of a baking pan.
2. Smooth about 3/4 of the cake ingredients on the bottom of the ring and up the sides of the ring (fill to about 80%  full). You will fill the inside of the cake dough with the custard and cherries so leave space for this.
3. Place the cherries on top of the cake dough along the bottom and then cover with the custard. Use a small spoon to evenly smooth the custard.
4. Use the remaining cake dough to cover the top of the custard so that the inside ingredients are sealed in. Then brush the top with egg wash and use a small knife to draw a design on top.
5. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 - 35 minutes. Let cool before removing from the ring.

Draw a nice design on top before baking

Cherries are on the bottom then topped with the custard cream
The cake surrounds the filling on all sides

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Tigre


Ready for Dessert?

 
I haven't seen this recipe in the U.S. or in Japan, but everyone is missing out on a fantastic dessert.

I first learned this at  Le Cordon Bleu and pull it out whenever I need a quick dessert to take to friends.

This recipes makes small mini cakes which can be cut and shared. Total prep time is about one hour - don't be put off on this since they are well worth it.


Ingredients

Egg whites 140 grams (about 3.5 eggs)
Sugar 80 grams
Flour 35 grams
Almond flour 165 grams
Butter 150 grams
Chocolate wafer cookies chopped

1. Lightly butter & flour each of the small pans. Recipe makes about 10.

2. Put the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and melt until it becomes bubbly then frothy. Heat only until the butter is lightly browned - do not burn. Remove from the pan and cool.

3. In a bowl put the egg whites and start to whip with a mixer. Add  the sugar in portions and mix until stiff.

4. Sift the almond powder and flour together. Add this mixture to the egg whites and mix using a spatula.

5. Strain the butter to remove the grit at the bottom and gradually add to the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly before adding more butter.

6. Use a pastry bag (quick solution is plastic baggie) and neatly fill the tins to about 95% full.

7. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 - 20 minutes.
 
 
 
 
Chocolate Filling

Dark chocolate 120 grams
Corn syrup 15 grams
Fresh cream 100 grams

1. Chop the chocolate to small pieces.

2. Heat the corn syrup & fresh cream in a sauce pan until just boiling. Pour a little into the chocolate and mix using a small whisk. As chocolate melts, continue to add more hot cream. If the chocolate has not all melted, put over hot water to melt the rest.

3. Cool until it starts to become thick.

4. Put in a pastry bag with a nozzle and nicely fill in the top of each cake.