Acts of Kitchen: Jo runs a cafe

AoK_logo_v2In which I make hot cross buns and cook from Julie Goodwin’s new cookbook (my interview with Julie), and chat to the wonderful Jo, who runs John Gorilla. (You really want to follow their Instagram account, too.)

My Patreon: recipes and postcards and even food!

Hot cross buns! From Bake Class.

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Acts of Kitchen 8: cooking for dozens

AoK_logo_v2In which I discuss CAKE and Gillian discusses cooking for the masses.

The first cake mentioned (sponge)

The second cake mentioned.

The third cake (chocolate and beetroot) is similar to this one. I made the version in Annabel Crabb’s Special Delivery. 

The fourth cake (I call them mandarines, Nigella calls them clementines…)

Email acts of kitchen at gmail, or leave a comment here, or a review on iTunes!

I hate sponge

Or it hates me, who knows.

On the weekend, I supervised a sponge being made by my niece (3) and mother in law (of episode 7 fame). We used a recipe from Taste, and we weighed the eggs because homegrown eggs are larger than store-bought ones. We had to increase all ingredients by an eighth, which we did, and the result was AWESOME. Fluffy sponge! So I thought, Hey, now I know the secret! I can do this!

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This was the result today of using Anneka Manning’s recipe in BakeClass. I am very disappointed. Especially since I have also been challenged to Sponge by my own mother (she of episode 1). So next time I will be making the version from the website, and if that works… well, I won’t feel like this is quite my fault.

ETA: it doesn’t look quite so bad when on top of one another. I filled it with apple butter that I made today, as well as cream (obviously).

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Desserts, baby

IMG_1123.JPG1. A dessert that worked.

This is from Indian Made EasyThey’re carrot and orange balls, where those things have been simmered in milk until they go mushy and then the mush is fried in butter and cardamom for a while. Then the mixture is formed into balls, once cold, and then drizzled with chocolate and pistachio (which is what I tried to do artistically on the plates at the back). They were delicious.

2. A dessert that didn’t work.IMG_1128.JPG

Recipe from BakeClass. What I really have to say here is I HATE YOU SPONGE. I really thought that I had mixed it properly – there were no gloopy bits in the mixture – and I thought I had cooked it long enough, because it looked the right colour and it sprang back when touched. It had risen and everything! But then when I put it on the tea towel I noticed that it immediately stuck. And then after I unrolled it, spread it with jam, and went to roll it again off the towel… well. It stuck a lot.

Hot cross buns

Or, the trials and tribulations of dough.

Plan: go away for Easter and bake hot cross buns.

I had made hot cross buns from BakeClass a few weeks ago, just to see what they were like and because my beloved has a somewhat fetishitic love of them. They were good. I made a couple slit changes: I did not have enough bread flour so I subbed in some normal plain flour; for me such buns need peel, so I reduced the currants and cranberries (which I used instead of dried cherries) and added the peel.

They were very good. They were also quite large, which wasn’t a problem but good to know.

So, the day before we were to leave, I got the dry ingredients (this time all bread flour) all together and made sure I had the container of chocolate bits as well as the milk and butter. My plan had been to get the buns to the second rise for while we were at church, so they just had to be baked when we got home.

First issue: for some reason my brain got all tied in knots, so I kept waking up wondering if it is was time to knead yet. Is it time? No, it’s 1.30am. Is it time? Nope, it’s 3.30.

You get the idea.

IMG_2116Anyway, when it was 7.30 I figured it was time. And that’s the point at which I realised I had no measuring instruments which meant that 1 3/4 cups of milk was going to be … hard. I eyeballed the milk container and figured, how hard could this be, to guess not quite 500ml of milk? So I guessed. I also guessed 60g of butter. And then I mixed it in and… it was sticky. Quite sticky. I turned it into the bench (onto the flour I’d requisitioned from the dry ingredients because I had not brought extra flour, of course), and there was not going to be any kneading. So I put it into the bowl and rise anyway, just to see what happened.

Then I shed a tear.

After about 10 minutes or so I decided to see whether I could use muesli in lieu of flour, just to make the dough knead a little. And what I discovered is that rising a bit makes the dough somehow rise out of its stickiness. Like, it had become entirely knead-able. So I kneaded, and left it to keep rising; after an hour I punched it and divided it into 16 (instead of the 12 recommended, because they’d been so big), and left them to rise again while we were out. This also involved brushing them with egg with my fingers, and my beloved taking the job of piping on crosses which I wasn’t going to do but he insisted and we had flour because he’d gone to get some from the people who run our holiday accommodation because one of the other people some for rolling out pastry for tarts. Because we are foodie type people.

IMG_2118When we got back from church the buns had risen hugely. They went into the oven and needed to be turned after about 10 min, and put to a higher shelf, because weird oven. But they cooked.

And, in the end, they were excellent.

Apparently I’m to keep making them.

Guest post!

UnknownPreviously, on BakeClass

This post is brought to you today by my sister. She’s craftier than me – she even has an Etsy shop , how cool is that – and image4as she’s gluten intolerant she was very interested in the flourless recipes in BakeClass… like this hazelnut chocolate one.

image5I have a bad habit of not following recipes, including when baking. For some reason I seem to think I know better than the recipe writer. The good thing about gluten free baking is there seems to be more leeway for minor adjustments than non-GF. But for once, I actually did what I was told. The only change I made was using rum instead of brandy – I thought I had enough, but sadly not. All measures were by weight, I find it to be a more accurate option.

My only real quandary came when I had melted the image2chocolate – do I leave it to cool for a few minutes while I whip the egg whites or do I risk scrambled yolks? I went with the former. It worked perfectly.

image1My oven can be a bit temperamental, so I only cooked it for 40 minutes and it came out perfectly.

It’s rich and delicious; a small piece is enough to satisfy even this chocolate fiend. It’s an easy recipe to follow and I’ll be making this again in future.

image3I can only presume that this last picture was taken before she licked the bowl. The spoon used to belong to our mother; I know this because when I properly moved out of home I managed to wheedle one out of her myself, and at that very moment my sister basically wrote her name on another one to make sure it didn’t end up… somewhere else. I don’t know where else, since our brother was unlikely to want it, but there was no way she was letting it go.

 

 

Chocolate and coconut slice

Previously, on BakeClass(Book provided by the publisher.)

The context: doing a ‘salon’ with students about the causes of the French Revolution. Seemed appropriate to bake something for them.

The recipe: so darn easy. Coconut, cocoa, flour, melted butter, brown sugar, something else – just moosh it together. I went with the Jam Option and squished half into the tin, then spread a strawberry jam on top (not one of Kate’s, this time, because I didn’t want to spoil them too much), then put the other half of the mixture on top.

The result: oh heck yes, this is another one going in the “oh you’re arriving in 30 minutes? no worries” pile. Very very tasty.IMG_0907.JPG