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Archive for April, 2011

When it rains it pours! I’ve just got so busy at work that I didnt get around to writing at all last week. I barely had time to cook and eat anything, never mind contemplate pausing long enough to take a picture and say something intelligent about my food. So as penance for my radio silence I leave you with two recipes this week.

Both have a common theme of cheese, which goes against my current pre-wedding theme of healthy eating (which come to think of it isn’t much of a theme since I spend as much time breaking it as sticking to it), but when the going gets tough…the tough sometimes have to indulge in a little cheese…

Cheese Muffins 3 ways

I have made cheese muffins on this blog before but I just got a new book called Ratio by Michael Ruhlman, which I was prompted to buy after reading this post by Chocswirl and I was dying to put some of the lessons on basic baking ratios  into practice (looking back at the recipe I used before I now know why these turned out better – butter!)… plus we needed something for lunch on Saturday.

This, combined with an inability to choose between making several different flavour combinations that Dawn and I had found in other recipes, resulted in this recipe for 6 of each. If you want to try the Ruhlman ratio out yourself then use this recipe for flavour inspiration only and go with the ratio for a basic muffin batter – 2 flour : 2 liquid : 1 egg : 1 fat – to make whatever quantity you need (the ratio is by weight not volume).

Basic batter (makes 18 muffins)

  • 375g plain flour
  • 375g milk
  • 187g melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Pizza Muffins

  • small handful of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil

Parmesan and Herb muffins

  • 50g grated parmesan (we actually made these with cheddar as we didnt have any parmesan so you can use either)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • few sprigs chopped thyme
  • 1 sprig finely chopped rosemary

Feta and Caramelised Onion Muffins

  • 50g crumbled feta
  • half an onion, finely chopped and fried until golden and soft
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped and fried with the onion
  • 1/2 sprig finely chopped rosemary

Prepare all the flavourings in 3 separate bowls and preheat the oven to 180°C. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the cooled melted butter with the milk and eggs and beat until combined. The butter will start to solidify if the milk is too cold but it doesn’t effect the end result so don’t worry. Divide the batter into 3 equal portions and the flavourings to each one. Spoon into silicone cups or a lightly greased muffin tray and bake for 25min until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack and cool slightly before serving (yummy with a lathering of garlic and herb cream cheese!).

Grilled Pork Loins with Caramelised Red Onion, Apple and Smoked Applewood Cheese

I owe Dawn for this recipe too. At some point during the muffin making proceedings she mentioned making pork loins topped with apple and cheese  like this and I immediately started thinking about how good that would be, especially made with Smoked Applewood cheese.  So by last night I was thinking about nothing else and had to make it today to get it out of my system. The sweet apple is perfectly balanced with the smoky cheese and caramelised onion, just served with a simple mash. I don’t know why I didn’t think to try this before.  Thanks D!

  • 2 pork loin steaks
  • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 50g grated Smoked Applewood Cheese
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large potatoes, boiled and mashed, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until browned. Add the garlic and grated apple and fry a few minutes more until the mixture is softened and caramelised (don’t fry too long or the apples will get mushy).

Take off the heat, season with the thyme, salt and pepper and set aside. Heat another splash of oil over a high heat and fry the pork loins briefly on each side to sear the outsides. Place them on a baking sheet and top with the apple and onion mixture. Add the grated cheese and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the steaks are cooked through and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Serve on a portion of mash (drizzle over the juices from the baking tray or gravy as optional).

Hope that makes up for last week’s absence and gives you something to perk up your week. Happing cooking! ♥

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There are a few recipes which I’m constantly on a quest to perfect and chocolate cake is one of them.

Cake is one of those things you need several people around to eat before you bake it otherwise you suddenly find that you’re sitting in front of an empty cake box with a guilty conscience and a stomach somewhat resembling the curvature of the earth.

So if I find a chance to try a new recipe without risking afore mentioned solo binge session, I grab it… queue Mother’s Day. This recipe was on my ‘to bake’ list although I cant recall when and where I discovered it and I had a surrogate mother in the vicinity to force it on so that was all the excuse I needed. I’m not going to ramble on with multiple superlatives to express how good it is but lets just say the title of this post would be the same had I baked it for any other occasion.

Despite a whole section on chocolate cakes in my copy of Nigella’s Feast this one is now officially my go to cake (sorry Nigella, you win some, you lose some…and some get rained out). The recipe is from Orangette (who happens to be my favourite food blogger for her style of writing) who in turn adapted it from Epicurious. I felt no need to tweak it any further and having successfully executed it with no complaints from the family members on who it was thrust, I think it can be described as perfect just as it is.

I did cheat in one respect by using a tub of Betty Crocker Chocolate Buttercream Style Icing (the link is to show what you’re looking for by the way, its easy to find in supermarkets)… not because of any fear of making the ganache but because I had just discovered it and was dying to see if it was as good on a cake as it was scooped straight out of the tub on a (clean!) finger.

Turns out the answer is yes, and its more chocolatey than sugary so its not as sickening as home made buttercream. I should point out that I was introduced to this delicacy by my previously-mentioned-baking-friend-Dawn who’s culinary skills are superior enough not to call for shop bought icing unless its just as good as the real deal. Do not feel ashamed.

 

Its too late to use your mother as an excuse to make it (for those of us in the UK anyway) but if its chocolate cake you are after, then it’s this chocolate cake you should have.

Happy Monday! ♥

p.s. In case you’re wondering why my cake tin is featured upside down in these pictures, this is my trick for getting your cake into a tin without leaving icing all over your hands (not necessarily a bad thing I know) and the sides of the tin (has less benefits) every time you go to steal a slice. If you put the cooled cake straight on to the upside down lid you can ice it in situ and put the tin itself straight on as the lid. Et voilà!

 

 

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