Gastronomically Terrific

January 31, 2016

Baked salmon with parmesan crust

Baked salmonsOn to the main for my dinner party. This was even easier than the starter, but looked (and tasted) pretty good.

I seasoned four salmon fillets (one each) and put them on a roasting tin. I then made a white wine and mushroom sauce (by cooking the mushrooms in the wine, removing the mushrooms, boiling wine and cream together, then returning the mushrooms to the pan), and added a small amount of the sauce to the top of each salmon fillet.

Finally, I made a breadcrumb topping with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, lemon and paprika. I sprinkled this topping over the salmon fillets, then baked them in the oven for 15 minutes.

I served the fillets with extra sauce over the top (saved and reheated from earlier), buttered and minted potatoes, and some rocket on the side. Whilst I wanted a decent meal, I didn’t want to stuff everybody before they had tried my tiramisu!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, pg. 76

Stilton and leek tarts

Filed under: starter, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 2:13 pm

And so, on to the three courses I made for my dinner party in mid January… I had to pick vegetarian or fish courses, and make sure everybody coming liked what was on offer! So, for starters I chose this stilton and leek tarts.

The hardest part of this starter was making the cheese pastry. Not that this was especially hard, as long as you are used to making pastry! It took me 20 minutes or so rub all the ingredients together, roll out the pastry and cut out circles to line a yorkshire pudding tin.

The topping for the tarts is fried leek, topped with grated cheese and chopped parsley. An egg, cream and nutmeg mixture is then poured into each tart before being baked for 20 minutes. When I first poured in the wet mixture it spilled out the side of each tart a little (I had to cut the pastry rounds slightly smaller than recommended as I didn’t have a big enough cutter), and I was worried that the mixture would spill out over the sides once baked and look awful. It turns out I needn’t have worried – the whole thing rose (upwards, rather than outwards) in the oven, and they looked pretty impressive once baked. They tasted pretty good too!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, pg. 39-40

January 30, 2016

Mini cupcakes

Mini cupcakes CUFor a while now, I have been wanting to make the cocktail-inspired mini cupcakes that appear in my Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days recipe book. They look incredibly appealing, and I really wanted to give them a try. New Years Eve and a dinner party in mid January seemed like two really good excuses to try out 3 of the 4 recipes that appear in the book. For New Years Eve, I made the brandy chocolate mini cupcakes. For my January dinner party, I went with the Strawberry Daiquiri mini cupcakes and the Mojito mini cupcakes.

The brandy chocolate mini cupcakes turned out fairly well. The cupcake mixture was a chocolate, orange and brandy one, and the frosting was a chocolate, orange and brandy flavour too. To give the cupcakes a festive feel, I covered them in edible gold glitter. They looked stunning, and tasted pretty good. The only problem was with the amounts. The recipe claimed it made 24-30 cupcakes – I ended up with 48, which was far too many. And I still only needed two thirds of the frosting to ice all 48 cakes.

The strawberry daiquiri and mojito mini cupcakes didn’t go so well, however. Whilst the strawberry daiquiri cakes tasted OK, the frosting was really grainy and just didn’t look very impressive. Also, the bottom of the cakes are just strawberries soaked in white rum. So whilst they taste OK, they aren’t the easiest thing to eat. The mojito mini cupcakes were even worse. They had plenty of white rum in them, but you couldn’t taste any of it. They just tasted like boring tiny lime cakes. They also looked pretty bad, as the frosting for these was just as grainy as that for the strawberry daiquiri mini cupcakes. Whilst some of this may have been down to the way I baked the cakes, I’m entirely unconvinced that the recipes are particularly good ones. Whilst I was also looking after an ill baby the day I made these, she did spend a lot of time asleep, so I had plenty of time to myself to concentrate on making these… it’s unlikely to be an experiment I repeat any time soon!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days Recipes to make every day special, by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers, pg. 198

January 29, 2016

S’moreanne cupcakes

Filed under: Cake, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 1:49 pm

 

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A slightly more successful attempt at making sugar syrup

After the complete failure of my butterscotch marshmallow bars, I (perhaps foolishly) decided to try out another recipe from the same recipe book. This time, I wanted to make S’moreanne cupcakes. Having read through the recipe, I knew they were going to be something of a challenge.

There are three different elements to these cakes. Firstly, you need to make a chocolate sponge. That turned out fine, and was no more complicated than making a standard sponge cake. Secondly, you add chocolate shavings and biscuit crumbs to the top of the sponge batter. Again, not particularly hard to do.

Thirdly, you make the sugar syrup. Whilst this is boiling, you whisk together egg whites. You then add the sugar syrup to the egg whites and whisk it all together to make a shiny meringue. This meringue is then added to the top of the baked cupcakes. The cakes are then lightly browned with a cook’s blowtorch, before being topped with squares of chocolate and some biscuit crumbs. Now, I admit that I ended up using the blowtorch after adding the chocolate squares, giving the cakes a little more of a burnt look than intended. But overall, I was really pleased with how these cakes turned out. Yes, they are incredibly rich. But they looked good, and tasted lovely – and I didn’t mess up the sugar syrup this time!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days Recipes to make every day special, by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers, pg. 182-3

January 28, 2016

Butterscotch Marshmallow Bars

Filed under: biscuits, Cake, Sweets — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 1:39 pm

I don’t have a photo of this bake. Trust me, you don’t mind. It looked rubbish. I had seen this in one of my cookbooks and thought it looked really tempting.  It also helpfully used up the left-over double cream I had lying around in the fridge.

These bars start with you making a dough to put on the bottom of a baking tray, before making a butterscotch sauce which you pour over the dough and marshmallows, and them leave the whole thing to set in the fridge.

Somehow, I managed to mess up every stage of this recipe. It didn’t feel right to have a dough on the base anyway, and I really messed up making the butterscotch sauce (I know I over-boiled it). I know the final result was bad, because nobody was willing to eat it – not even my dad. And he eats anything. Whilst the awful end result was partly my fault, I have a suspicion it was also partly the recipes fault – this isn’t something I’m inspired to try again!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days Recipes to Make Every Day Special, by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers, pg. 182-3

January 27, 2016

Ladybird cupcakes

Filed under: Cake, child-friendly, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 1:31 pm

I hadn’t really intended to do any baking, but I was at home with my kids and my son was asking if we could bake something. So after having a hunt through one of my recipe books, I found a couple of things I had the ingredients for. I asked my son which he would prefer to make, and he chose ladybird cupcakes. I was worried he had picked them because of the red ladybirds (red being his favourite colour) The only thing I didn’t have was red icing (although I had a myriad of other colours to use up). I warned him this was the case, and he didn’t seem to mind.

The cakes themselves were incredibly easy to make – just your bog standard vanilla fairy cakes. The icing wasn’t too tough either – good news for us, as my son is only three. In order to make the ladybirds, we cut out circles of skin-coloured icing and fixed them to the top of the cake. Then we used chocolate-brown icing to make heads and the spots (by squishing small balls flat), and the tails (by rolling small pieces into tubes). We used tiny pieces of white icing for the mouths, and I happened to have some of those tiny necklace sweeties hanging around, which made great eyes.

Not a difficult bake, but the end result was pretty effective. And if you have a fairly patient and willing three-year-old, this is one they can help with!

Who made it: Anna and Joe

Recipe: Fairy Cakes by Joanna Farrow, pg. 18

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Baking update

Filed under: Cake, fish, main, party, starter, vegetarian — lawsonanna @ 1:18 pm

Since we returned from California in September 2015, I have done a fair amount of baking. I’ve made a mixture of old favourites, new interesting recipes, and things I think my son will be able to help with. What I haven’t done is blog about the majority of these bakes. I do have some draft posts saved here, with some pretty good photos of some of my November and December 2015 bakes.

So, instead of attempting to blog about all the baking I have done over the past few months (and really can’t remember that well), I’ll try and supplement the draft posts I’ve already written and add them to the blog.

I’ll then do my best to start blogging about my bakes and cooking experiments again! I have a good starting point for this, because last weekend I put together a 3-course meal for a few friends. To whet your appetite, this is what I made for it:

Stilton and leek tarts for starters

Baked salmon with parmesan crust for main

Tiramisu for afters…

… and some mini cocktail cupcakes for aperitifs. I’ll write proper posts about these four bakes once I’ve had a go at redrafting and posting about some of my more interesting bakes from 2015. So look out for a smattering of blog posts from me over the next week or so! I’m going to start with ladybird cupcakes…

 

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