Visitandines

P1130434AAThis little French petit four named visitation, I loved the idea of this little cake. As its name Visitandines (Visitation) the visit of Mary with Elizabeth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. I have no idea what is this petit fours to do with that; but for me I take it as visiting gift to a friend, is a good idea for a visit instead of empty hands.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas Mark 3.
  2. Grease 10 cm (4-inch) barquette moulds with butter.
  3. Mix together the flour, sugar, almonds, lemon zest and softened butter.
  4. In a separated bowl, whisk the egg white to soft peaks with an electric whisk, (I like to use hand whisk with cooper bowl it works like magic) then slowly fold into the mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into prepared tins. Bake for 30 minutes.

I loved it simply because it is easy to make, is best as small bite during tea time. Hope you going to enjoy this little petit four. Bon appétit.

Flatbread Lunch

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Flatbread dated back to Ancient Egypt and Sumer. In Ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) the Sumerians discovered that edible grains could be mashed into a paste and then baked/hardened into a flatbread.

Don’t worry about I going write about the whole history of flatbread. As its a Ancient recipe of course is going to be easy to make, simply because during Ancient City, food is essential and with simple ingredient, tools and method to produce fabulous bread like this.

My easy quick snack lunch inspired from the Ancient recipe of flatbread and leftover, I had enough sauce from the leftover of Italian Red Penne, then I quickly make some flatbread and wrap it with, boiled chicken fillet, leftover sauce, fresh lettuce. Even making the flatbread is very simple and easy.

  1. To make flatbread, mix the dry ingredients together and add water until firm dough had formed.
  2. Divide the dough into six and roll out the flatbreads thinly.
  3. Cook in a very hot, dry, non-stick pan for one minute on each side or until brown spots appear on both sides.

For the filling simply click the link of Italian red penner and omitted the cooking for pasta. You can add whatever you like, it is very versatile, yet simple to make. One of my store cupboard dish as well.

Croque Madame Muffin

P1130041AAHerewith another fabulous recipe from Rachel Khoo, I loved the way she cooking French food and I had tried it is very easy. French were  well know about the love affair with their food. This is a Classic French recipe with new twist by putting in a muffin tin instead of the classic way of sandwich it. Most of bars and bistro will serve Croque Monsieur which basically is toasted cheese and ham sandwich. Put a fried egg on top became Croque madame as it look like a lady’ hat.

  • 6 large slice of white bread, cut off the crusts
  • 3 tbsps melted butter
  • 75 g ham, cut into cubes or thin strips
  • 6 small eggs

For Mornay Sauce

 

  1. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour and beat hard until smooth paste. Take off the heat and let it cool for 2 minutes. Then gradually add the milk, whisking constantly.
  2. Place back the pan back onto medium heat, add mustard and nutmeg and simmer gently for 10 minutes, whisking frequently to stop the sauce burning on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once the sauce thickens and has the consistency of a tomato sauce, take off the heat, add cheese (keep a little for garnish) and taste for seasoning. If sauce  is too thick, add a little milk, if is lumpy pass it through a sieve.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Flatten the slices of bread with rolling pin, then brush each slice on both sides with melted butter.
  5. Line a 6-hole muffin tin with the slices of bread, pressing them in with small glass. Divide the ham between the muffins follwed by the eggs. Put 2 tablespoons of cheese sauce on top of each egg, then sprinkle with little cheese and pepper.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how runny youlike the egg. Serve immediately.

This light snack delights me. You could serve it with french fries or some salad on the side. Whichever you like it to be. I like it because it is very versatile and is one of my store cupboard dish.

Walnut Bread

P1150484AThis bread is a must on any cheeseboard. Many people suggested serving it with a ripe Stilton or failing that, try it with any other strong flavour cheese and a glass of red wine. Often in UK restaurants serve this bread before entree. If you have any leftover of this bread you could pop it into microwave about 5 to 8 second, then spread with butter and you can enjoy it on its own. Here is how I do the bread, I think if you could do it by hand is even better as I feel the food and I get exciting for it when is baked.

  1. Put all the ingredients except the walnuts into a large bowl, (make sure yeast at one side of the bowl and salt at the another side) then mix well with your hands for about 4 minutes.
  2. When all the flour has been incorporated, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, using your fingers and the heel of your palm, knead for 5 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  3. Line a baking tray. Incorporate the walnuts into the dough, shape into a ball and dust with white flour. Place on the baking tray and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross into the top of the dough, then bake the bread for 30 minutes until golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

I promised this is the bread you should have to try to make at least once, since most of the restaurant is making this bread as a starter, maybe it can be great for your dinner party as well.

Chicken Pot Pie

P1150454AI’m not been cooking for nearly a week now, I feeling is bit not right when the kitchen is quiet. Beside there was a time after I cook a supper and had enjoyed it, I just realised the water supply had stopped. I can’t do my washing up, I nearly scream.

I think this is one of the comfort food that I can easily make it. As I always will keep some pastry in freezer, it come in very handy when you need something that.

For puff pastry (375 grams all-butter puff pastry sheet (23 x 40cm / 9½ x 9½ inch)

For the chicken filling

  • 3 rashers streaky bacon (cut or scissored into 2.5cm / 1 inch strips)
  • 1 tsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 125 g chestnut mushrooms (sliced into 5mm pieces)
  • 250 g chicken thigh fillets (cut into 2.5cm pieces)
  • 25 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 300 ml hot chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Marsala

To make the puff pastry

  1. Pulse the flour and salt together in the processor, then add the butter and pulse 3-4 times, the butter should be cut up but still be in visible chunks.
  2. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the iced water, and pulse till the pastry begins to form a ball, then tip out onto the bench and form a ball. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Dust the benchtop with flour, then roll the pastry into a long rectangle into a long rectangle three times longer than it is wide, then fold it in three like a business letter. Roll out again to the same length and repeat the fold and roll another 2 times (not rolling out after the last fold).
  4. Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for another 30 minutes before using it to allow the gluten to relax.

To make the chicken filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7/425ºF. In a heavy-based frying pan, fry the streaky bacon strips in the oil until beginning to crisp, then add the sliced mushrooms and soften them in the pan with the streaky bacon.
  2. Turn the chicken strips in the flour and thyme (you could toss them about in a freezer bag), and then melt the butter in the streaky bacon-and-mushroom pan before adding the floury chicken and all the flour left in the bag. Stir around with the streaky bacon and mushrooms until the chicken begins to colour.
  3. Pour in the hot stock and Marsala, stirring to form a sauce, and let this bubble away for about 5 minutes.
  4. Take two 300ml / 1¼ cup pie-pots (if yours are deeper, don’t worry, there will simply be more space between contents and puff pastry top) and make a pastry rim for each one – by this I mean an approx. 1cm / ½ inch strip curled around the top of each pot. Dampen the edges with a little water to make the pastry stick.
  5. Cut a circle bigger than the top of each pie-pot for the lid, and then divide the chicken filling between the two pots.
  6. Dampen the rim of the pastry again and then pop on the lid of each pie, sealing the edges with your fingers or the underneath of the prongs of a fork.
  7. Cook the pies for about 20 minutes turning them around halfway through cooking. Once cooked, they should have puffed up magnificently.
Don’t be fool by the photography, is actual taste so much better. You can skip the pastry making by getting a shop brought pastry is fine with this recipe. Everyone is busy, this is the express way to get satisfied in cooking. Don’t you think?

Bloomer

P1150316AThis is first bread I had ever made, and it turned out well and delicious to eat by itself or as a sandwich lunch. It is easy to make. I found the recipe from Paul Hollywood‘s book. You should try it as well. I loved it with just sliver of butter melting into it.

  • 500g Strong white flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 10g Salt
  • 7g Instant yeast
  • 320ml cold water
  • 40ml Olive oil, extra oil and flour for kneading
  1. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl, taking care not to have the salt and yeast touching. Add the oil and 240ml of water.
  2. Using your hands mix the ingredients together. Gradually add the remaining water (you may not need it all) until all the flour leaves the side of the bowl and you have a soft, rough dough.
  3. Pour a little oil onto clean work surface. Sit the dough on the oil and begin to knead. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and silky. Once the correct consistency is achieved, place the dough into a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until tripled in size.
  4. Once risen, place dough onto floured surface. Knock the dough back by folding it on it self repeatedly. Do this until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth.
  5. To shape into the bloomer, flatten the dough into a rectangle. With the long side facing you fold each end into middle then roll like a Swiss roll so that you have a smooth top with the heal of your hands.
  6. Place on a tray lined with parchement paper, cover and leave to prove for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature, or until double in size.
  7. Lightly spray with water and dust with a little flour. Make four diagonal slashes using sharp knife across the top.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220C and place a baking tray filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven- this will create steam when the loaf is baking. Place the loaf on the middle shelf and bake for 25 minutes. After this time lower heat to 200C and bake for further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.

There you have it, a beautiful loaf of bloomer.

Actived Baking Soda

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I had done silly mistake yesterday while I was baking a lemon cake, I used equal quantity of plain flour, sugar, butter, lemon zest and 2 eggs to make a batter then I sort of wanted to ease the job by add the lemon juice into the batter after I had mixed everything together in the bowl. Then I can play with Tiggy (cat) while the cake is in the oven.

When the cake turn out, it sunk in the middle and it tasted like baking powder water. The reason is acid of the lemon making the raising agent work even quicker by the time I pour the batter and putting the cake into the oven, the raising agent had nearly disappear, that is why the cake only raising halfway and collapse in the middle. Then I have to offer a whole loaf cake to the bin. Now I learned a lesson of try not to ease the job when is not necessary.

Lemon Madeira with Berries

P1150174A Cake lover will definitely love this small and yet fabulously to eat. I made this for my friend request something new from the tradition patisserie.

I made lemon madeira and sandwich it with home made lemon curd, topped with crème pâtissière and fresh raspberry and blackberry. I love the colour of berries shine on the cake and look very summer and sunshine too.

As I loved madeira cake on its own, the golden-yellow colour with crack usually (but this I had it remove to assemble to be a sandwich cake. If you would like to try just the madeira cake on its own, here is the full recipe for this cake. You could just stop where the cake is finished to cool, but I can’t stop myself to develop  more and make it interesting.

Madeira cake:

  • 240g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar,plus extra for sprinkling
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 210 self-raising flour (you can use plain flour with 21g of baking powder)
  • 90g plain flour
  • Fresh raspberry and blackberry

Lemon curd:

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 40g sugar
  • 45g butter
  • 2 egg yolks

Crème pâtissière:

  • 3 large egg yolks (roughly 60g)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 20g Cornstarch
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 250ml whole milk
  1. To make the lemon curd, put the lemon zest and juice, salt, sugar and butter into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar and butter have melted.
  2. Remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, then add to the pan and whisk vigorously. Return the pan to a low heat and whisk constanly as the curd starts to thicken.
  3. Don’t stop whisking or the egg will curdle (if the curd starts heat and pass the curd through a sieve into a bowl.
  4. Place cling film in direct contact with the curd and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
  5. To make the cake. Preheated oven of 170ºC. Grease and line two 12cm round spring form cake tins.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar, and add the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each.
  7. Then gently mix in the rest of the flour and finally, the lemon juice. Sprinkle with caster sugar (roughly 2 tablespoons should do it)
  8. Bake  for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a cake taster comes out clean. Remove to wire rack and let it cool in the tin before turning out.
  9. To make the creme patissiere. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick, then whisk in the cornstarch.
  10. In saucepan add the vanilla extract into milk, bring the milk to a boil and switch off the heat.
  11. Pour the milk in a slow stream on to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously all the time.
  12. Return the mixture to a clean pot and continuously whisk over a medium heat. Make sure to scrape theside and  bottom of the pan, otherwise it will burn. The cream will start to thicken. Once it release a bubble or two, take it off the heat.
  13. Pour on to a tray lined with clig film. Cover with cling film (pat the clig film so it sticks directly on to the cream) and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.
  14. When the cake is cool, level the cake by cut off the uneven top then spread the lemon curd onto one of the cake, sandwich another one on top.
  15. Spread the creme patissiere on top of the cake then top with raspberry and blackberry.  Done!

I hope this recipe bring a really enjoyment on your table. Have fun!

Flour Subsitutes

Flours

Flour, is one of ingredient should be stocked in all the time but in the market got many kind of flour even the recipe did calling for different flour. Think again, back to the period of Victorian and Edwardian, the household during that time  only have basic flour; therefore they could bake, cook, literally everything.

All-purpose flour is the most versatile flour ever. Indeed it is a basic flour you will need.

If your recipe calling for cake flour, self-raising flour, etc

Cake flour

For 125g / 1 cup of cake flour:

Substitute 15g (2 tbsps) of cornstarch/cornflour + 109g (¾ cup + 2tbsps) of all purpose flour

The Substitution: 1 part cornstarch + 7 parts of all-purpose flour

Self-raising flour

For 150g/1 cup/6oz of  self flour:

Self-raising flour contains baking powder but as baking powder will expire after a period of time you need to use up self-raising flour more quickly than plain flour.

In US self-raising flour contains around ½ teaspoon of salt per cup which can lead to some of the recipe tasting a little too salty in the flour.

Substitute with 150g/6oz/1 cup of plain flour and add in 2 teaspoons of baking powder then sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl before using, to make sure the baking powder is thoroughly distributed. If your recipe call for buttermilk, cocoa or yogurt then add in ¼ teaspoon of bircabonate of soda (baking soda) as well as baking powder.

Pancake

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A morning breakfast is important to start your day with, weekend breakfast can be a treat for yourself and family. Nothing complicated to prepare, easily make for a family or even for yourself.

According to Wikipedia, pancake came from ancient Greece and called Tagenites. The earliest attested references on tagenias are in the works of the 5th century BC poets Cratunis and Magnes. Tagenites were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk, and were served for breakfast. Another kind of pancake was staitinos “of flour or dough of spelt“, derived from stais “flour of spelt”.Athenaeus is his Deipnosophistae mention staititas topped with honey, sesame and cheese.The Middle English word Pancake appears in English in the 1400s.

Of course, they have became popular over the globe, you could easily get pancake wherever you go but do remember different regional or country they have their own way to cook the pancake maybe you will find something special or very surprise than the ordinary pancake you have all this while. Enjoy your day!