Gastronomically Terrific

July 25, 2015

Hershey’s Chocolate Cakes

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonanna @ 4:55 am
40 Joe and Anna fingers pouring cake mixture

Adding the cake mix to the bowl

We’re currently spending three months in California, and I have two small children 7 days a week (no nursery for the toddler whilst we’re here). So I’ve been trying to find things to do with the toddler. Now, I would never normally buy ready-made cake mix (even after making it, as far as I can figure out it’s basically just sugar, flour and cocoa powder mixed together for you), but I thought it would be a good way to involve the toddler in baking without it taking too long.

So I bought this Hershey’s chocolate cake mix. You pour the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add oil, eggs and water before mixing it all together. You then add half the mixture to cupcake cases, pour in some melted chocolate (also provided), and cover it over with the cake mixture. My toddler loved helping add the ingredients to the bowl and mixing them together, but got bored when I was filling the cake cases. The batter is really wet, and as we’re house-sitting, I didn’t want my toddler making a really big mess. Plus, the chocolate is actually really difficult to squeeze out – I struggled, let alone getting a 2-year-old to help.

The finished product

The finished product

The end result was a pretty good one – the cat certainly enjoyed it (we have 3 less cupcakes than intended…). But it wasn’t quite the baking experience I had hoped; I was really hoping to find the type of cake mixes you get in the UK, where you mix batter and then decorate the top of the cakes with edible paper stickers – meaning your toddler can help with the majority of it. It was worth doing, but I think my toddler would have been just as happy if I’d asked him to also add the flour and sugar to the cake mix!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hershey’s packet recipe

July 5, 2015

Raspberry ripple cheesecake

RaspberryRippleCheesecake2Wanting to make something for our dating anniversary at the end of June, I went for this no-bake cheesecake which didn’t have too many ingredients, so we wouldn’t end up wasting any before we went away for three months. The recipe is from an Annabel Karmel recipe book, and as such I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult.

Unfortunately, it’s a pretty ‘stagey’ recipe. I knew that before I started. What I didn’t know was that the recipe tried to make each stage simple – too simple, meaning the amounts weren’t really correct.

My first problem was that the recipe uses gelatine. Because hubby is vegetarian, I use vege-gel as a replacement, and, I admit, I don’t get on with that well. I love it when I can use real leaf gelatine, because it’s so easy! With vege-gel, I often seem to end up with clumps of gelatine, and that happened here.

The biscuit base was easy – just digestives and butter. That I can do.

The next stage was to make a raspberry coulis – a mixture of raspberries, icing sugar and cornflour, which you then heat. This seemed to be working well, until I heated the mixture up together. There was way too much cornflour, meaning it became much, much thicker than intended. At least it did thicken I guess. The problem was, this mixture is meant to be blobbed on top of the cream cheese mixture and then swirled to make a pattern. Whilst blobbing it was easy, it was too thick to swirl.

The cream cheese mixture itself was easy to do – just cream cheese, double cream and caster sugar. The problem here was adding the clumpy vege-gel. In the end I had to reheat the vege-gel with some of the cream cheese (I admit, I should have done the vege-gel by itself first…) to get the majority of the lumps out (there were still some). So some of the cream cheese was wetter than it should have been.

Finally, I had to put more blobs of the raspberry coulis on top of the cream cheese mixture. This time, I didn’t even try to swirl it. I did cover the whole thing in strawberries and blackberries, with a hint of melted white chocolate, so you couldn’t see that pattern anyway.

In the end, the cheesecake, on the whole, tasted fairly good – even if it didn’t look quite as good as it should have. But it was a very faffy recipe for a not brilliant result. I’ve made much better cheesecakes (in terms of taste and looks) with a lot less effort. This isn’t one that will be added to my ‘go-to’ recipes.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Annabel Karmel book

July 3, 2015

Sweetcorn soup

Filed under: lunch, Uncategorized, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 6:10 pm

Another lunch that I made when my mum was visiting for the week (hence the continuing lack of photos), this would have been easy… if the baby hadn’t woken up, deciding she wanted a really long feed… resulting in me leaving the vegetables cooking for too long and burning them slightly.

The vegetables that burnt slightly were leek, carrot and potato, which boiled slightly dry. Luckily my mum saved it just in time. I then added sweetcorn, and whizzed together all the vegetables in a blender. I then added a stock cube and some milk before serving up the soup.

Had I not nearly burnt the soup, it would have tasted pretty good. It was also a little too thick because a little too much of the water had boiled off. But if I didn’t have a crying, hungry baby, I’d attempt this easy soup again!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter! By Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 10-11

July 2, 2015

Easter meringue tart

Filed under: pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 11:04 am

Easter meringue tart very CUWanting to make a slightly different, interesting pudding for when mum was visiting, I decided to make this Easter meringue tart (even though it was in no way close to Eater). I made it the night before she arrived, and we ate it over the course of the week she was with us, as it was rather large.

The first thing I did was make a flan case using the recipe in the same book for cuddura, which is basically a sweet pastry made from flour, icing sugar and butter. That was fairly easy to do.

Once I had made that and used it to line the base, I made the rice filling – basically a rice pudding made with milk, rice, caster sugar and almond essence. That took ages because I had to wait for the rice to cook in the milk. I got a bit bored waiting. I then added egg yolks and waited for the mixture to thicken, which was much faster!

Once that was done, I covered the flan base with cherry jam, and added the rice pudding mixture.

Finally, I made the meringue mixture (by whisking the egg whites and then adding the caster sugar, teaspoon by teaspoon) and added this to the top of the tart. Once the tart was assembled, the whole thing was baked in the oven for an hour at 110C.

Whilst the tart was fun to make, and looked pretty good, it did taste a little odd. The rice filling didn’t really feel like it belonged, and we were all in agreement that really it would have been nicer (and much more normal) if it had been a standard lemon meringue tart.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter! By Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 26-29

July 1, 2015

Tomato tarte tatin

Filed under: lunch, Uncategorized, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 6:01 pm

I don’t have any photos of this, because life started to get a little fraught around this time – my mum came to visit for the week (which is why I made this tatin), then we went on holiday for a week, and then two weeks later we were due to go to California for the summer. So you’ll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that this looked, well, a little odd!

It did, however, taste pretty good, and wasn’t too hard to make. I fried up some onions and dark sugar, then removed them from the dish. I then placed tomatoes on the same dish, face down, and poured over the onions and some grated cheddar. I then whisked together 2 eggs and some mustard powder before covering the whole thing in puff pastry. In order to cook it, I then placed the casserole dish in the oven and baked it for 20 minutes.

Now, half of the tatin rose VERY high, in a slightly odd manner. Presumably something to do with how I whisked the eggs… either way, it tasted fine and made for a pretty decent lunch!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter! By Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 8-9

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