13 September 2010

an oldie, but a goodie

You can't really beat the good ol' chocolate cake.  It mightn't be your favourite, but it's almost universally popular and, when undecided on what to bake, this cake is an easy option, every time.  I love carrot cake, but like making chocolate because of how easy it is to do and the fact that it's like a blank canvas - you can decorate it, ice it, dust with sugar, whatever - it's good with almost anything.  

Ordinarily i'd stick with the more typical chocolate icing.  This time however I had Harry, who's six, helping me bake, so it was decided that we'd make three colours of lemon icing.  The cake, when finished, looks like something on acid, but it tastes GREAT!  Lemon icing and cake = surprisingly good!  

The cake itself comes from good ol' Edmonds (another oldie, but a goodie).  Can't beat it. 

175 g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs (I used 4, 'cause they were small)
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Grease 22cm round tin.
  2. Cream butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. 
  3. Sift together cocoa, flour and baking powder.  Fold into the creamed mixture, alternately with milk. 
  4. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 55 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre). 
  5. Leave on wire rack to cool, then ice. 
For the icing we mixed icing sugar (start with about a cup and see how you go - you may need more, depending on how much icing you want) and lemon juice together, adding the juice until the consistency was right (you could use water, orange juice, lime juice).  Then add colouring, if desired.  Ice and decorate. 

08 September 2010

from the deep deep depths of ceylon...

This isn't the first time I've come across a good recipe whilst perusing a Rick Stein cookbook.  This one came from Far Eastern Odyssey and is just brilliant, because it's so simple.  He's picked up a recipe for roti, from street vendors in Sri Lanka, and has passed it on to the reader in its most simple form.  Fantastic, good work, Ricky. 

This is a recipe for gothamba roti, typically used in a number of Sri Lankan dishes, made with gothamba flour.  I have just used ordinary white flour and it was fine.  Perhaps buckwheat flour would be a nice option though, if you have some.  The ingredients below are as listed in Rick's recipe, but I think next time I make them I'll add a smidge more salt (up to you) and a teaspoon of sugar, 'cause they could've use a little more je ne sais quoi.  See how you go - make 'em once, then alter as your taste buds direct.  I served them with a green thai beef curry, so lack of flavour wasn't really an issue. 

300 g flour
1 tsp oil (I used sesame)
3/4 tsp salt
250 ml warm water
extra flour for kneading
  1. Mix all ingredients (except the extra flour) together in bowl into a pliable dough.
  2. Turn onto floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, dusting with more flour as needed.
  3. Put into oiled bowl, cover with cling-film and leave somewhere warm (or at least no drafty) for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Divide into about 10 pieces.  Form into disks, cook in hot oiled pan (I formed the disks as they were needed for cooking *), about 2 minutes on first side, then 1 one other side. 
  5. Serve warm with curry.  YUM!! 
NB: * - I didn't actually form the disks - this job was taken over by KB, who has greater skill in dough-manipulation. 

06 September 2010

Ragin' cajun apple pie

About five years ago I was watching the Food Network (or Food TV, or Food Channel, or whatever it's called on Sky here in kiwiland), Emeril Lagasse Live - the ragin' cajun!  He made an apple pie with custard inside it.  It looked so good that I immediately trawled the sky guide to see when the show would be repeated.  The next time I was ready - pen and paper - that recipe was a keeper!  I made the pie soon afterwards and it was really good, and easy to make.  So it's strange that, after that one time, I never made it again.  Until last week (I came across the recipe in a serendipidous moment, whilst actually looking for something else.  Happy days). 

You're supposed to slice the apples thinly, but I can never be bothered.  I just cut them off the core in chunks.  It tastes the same, it just looks a little more rustic.  If you can't get all the custard in, don't worry.  Just pour in as much as you can without it overflowing - placing the pie dish on a baking tray is a wise move, just in case... 

I'm going to make this one again this afternoon, but will use half apples and half tinned peaches.  If you have other fruits (rhubarb, or berries in summer), use them too.  I'd probably leave at least half apples, but other than that, use what you like best!  Enjoy!!

2 x sheets sweet shortcrust pastry
2 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
800 g apples, sliced (granny smith are good)
1 egg, for brushing
¼ cup sugar
½ cup cream (maybe a smidge more, see how you go)
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla essence
  1. Line pie dish with one sheet of pastry. 
  2. Melt butter in pan. Stir in brown sugar and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add cinnamon and apples. Sauté for 3 minutes.  Turn into pie base.
  4. Cut hole in second sheet, cover pie with this. Crimp edges, brush with egg yolk.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Whisk together sugar, cream, egg yolk and vanilla. Pour into hole in pie’s centre.
  7. Cook for further 30 minutes.
  8. Either cool completely and dust with icing sugar, or serve warm from the oven with icecream or cream.