Sweet treats

IMG_1241.JPG1. A friend came home from France with a madeleine pan for me. I had never had the urge to make madeleines before, but now I have a madeleine pan.

From France.

So I’ve made madeleines. I followed Stephanie Alexander’s honey madeleines recipe, and… they’re ok. They’re definitely not as crispy as they should be, although the second batch was a bit better (her mixture is for 24, and my pan is for 12, although it only made 18 I think) – I’d put a bit more butter in the pans I think. So that’s something to experiment with. I’m also not sure whether madeleines come in different flavours, so I guess I’ll do some hunting around to find out.

2. Our fruit n veg box this week came with a large number of bananas, so my mother IMG_1242.JPGreminded me that caramelised bananas are excellent. These are not as she suggested, though, because she was reminiscing about making them with rum or brandy ‘or whatever you’ve got handy’ – and I had nothing like that handy (not using Frangelico, or Pimms). I did use some of the cardamom-pistachio sugar mix I have from Gewurzhaus, which I think added a little to the experience, as well as a whack of butter and some additional brown sugar. Very tasty with ice cream.

Acts of Kitchen episode 4: gingerbread houses

AoK_logo_v2In which Karlee talks GINGERBREAD HOUSES and I’m living a Katering Show episode. You can listen here or subscribe at iTunes.

Recipes:

Gingerbread (a biscuit recipe). Sugar glass.

How do you store new recipes?

A scrapbook; iPad apps have never stuck.

Feedback gratefully received: you can email actsofkitchen at gmail dot com

Chocolate self-saucing pudding

UnknownPreviously, on BakeClass… (provided by the publisher at no cost)

Chocolate self-saucing pudding is not new for me. It’s not quite a standard, because I keep experimenting with other things, but it’s not a novelty. Generally I have made Stephanie Alexander’s recipe, and it’s never made me sad.

There might be a new kid in town.

Context: friend comes over for dinner. I’ve not really made plans for dessert (steak by us, fig and goat’s cheese salad by her). Flicking through BakeClass looking for something straightforward, I hit Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding, and the friend makes encouraging noises.

It’s nothing new in terms of ease; it’s about the easiest pudding ever. Differences from Stephanie: she uses plain flour and baking powder, Anneka uses SR flour; this isn’t a real difference. Stephanie has 1/4 cup castor sugar; Anneka has 1/2 cup brown sugar – and this is where the difference lies, I think, because I think this pudding was that bit richer as a result. Interestingly Stephanie has 180g brown sugar in the topping, and 2 tbsp cocoa; Anneka has 100g and 30g (and a bit more boiling water).

This experiment may have been slightly led astray by the fact that apparently my oven isn’t heating consistently, so one side was a bit gooey-er than the other. Which isn’t a failing in such a pud, of course… .

Result: I think this is my-go choc self-saucer from now on. Already anticipating the double chocolate variation (add 100g chopped chocolate “with the sugar” – I presume that means with the topping).

No photos because I don’t believe anyone’s every really taken a particularly flattering picture of chocolate self-saucing pudding. It just always looks like mud… as long as you get it on a good day…

 

Ice cream experiments

I have an ice cream machine because I now live somewhere where an occasional-use appliance does not make me screamingly mad about a lack of space.

Yesterday I made mince pie ice cream.

Take two mince pies; I used ones from Baker’s Delight. Pry them out of the despairing hands of your mince-pie-loving husband, and prepare to put up with the scolding of said man about how you’ve desecrated the poor things. Put mince pies into a whizzer of some sort and reduce it to crumbs – or chop finely, I guess.

Make vanilla ice cream; add the crumbs for the last five minutes of churning.

VERY tasty.

A Middle Eastern Feast

UnknownOn Saturday night we decided to have friends over to play a rather obsession-making board game, and treat them to a Middle Eastern feast. They had lavished us with a beef bourguignon that left mine for dead and a delightful lemon tart last time, so it was only fair…

First course was a eggplant brushed with homemade chermoula, baked for 40 minutes, and topped with a burghul salad that included coriander, green olives, and nuts. It was fantastic although not actually as good as it could have been – I used those awesome long Lebanese eggplants, which were tasty but because they were skinny, didn’t get as mushy and baba ganoush-y as they would if they’d been fatter.Unknown

Next, my darling made him favourite dish – lamb and braised egg. We minced lamb eye fillet and cooked it with harissa, pistachios, preserved lemons and other good things, then braised eggs in it. Served with flat bread, it was utterly delightful. Both of these are from the fabulous Jerusalem, which is probably my favourite cook book ever.

Finally, Egyptian filo pudding, from Moorish. Cook filo sheets; break them into pieces and layer it with rosewater-soaked dried apricots and currants, and pistachios and almonds. Then cover the lot with boiling custard, basically, and cook… it was utterly, photoutterly delightful; more-ish, in fact. The picture does it no justice whatsoever.