On the off occasion I will photo-document what I do in my kitchen and write down how to do the same thing. For your convenience, I've stuck those in a set of their own, in case it help anyone
Semifreddo. It's delicious, easy to make, and if it's marbled... well!
Granted, that means it's not "proper" semifreddo, but then there is wide variation in ice creams, too.
The recipe's fairly simple:
- 12 egg whites
- 1 liter of whipping cream (35% fat content)
- 8 tablespoons of sugar
- 300 grams of hazelnut chocolate paste
- 100 grams of decent pure chocolate (50%ish should do)
- vanilla extract
1) Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the egg whites, and whip until it's properly fluffed.
2) Add 5 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the whipping cream until it's forming soft peaks, then plit it up into two batches.
3) Add the hazelnut chocolate paste to one of the batches, and continue whipping until it's firm peaked, then clean the beater and get the plain vanilla whipped cream firm peaked too.
This is where things get wonderful.
4) add half the beaten egg whites to both batches. Cookbooks will tell you to "fold this in", but this is ridiculous. God gave you fingers for a reason, and thats to mix semifreddo mix, so get your hand, make sure it's clean, and mix both batches by hand. literally. It's faster and more accurate than 'folding', plus it feels delicious and you get to lick your fingers afterwards. Anyway.
5) once properly mixed, pour both into a big tin, at the same time, making sure you move them up over the tin so that it doesn't "pool" and wraps around each other (yet).
6) Fun part number 2: marbling - using your finger (I am a hands on person; if you're not, you're not enjoying kitchen work enough) do sideways figure 8's starting at the top and working your way down. You can do the same back up, or start at the top again, it's your call really.
7) Finally, chop up your chocolate into very small chunks, because this is going in the freezer and cold chocolate is very hard. You want people to enjoy the dessert, not break their jaw on big rock-hard chunks of chocolate. Sprinkle over your semifreddo, and then stick the whole thing in the freezer until properly cold (which'll take a few hours at least)
How many calories you ask? Well, this particular one has only six million! or 6000 kcals... (most people forget that what they call calories are actually kilocalories) so it'll serve anywhere between 12 to 20 people (or one Spooky)
In Dutch, there are several kinds of marsipan. From coarse to fine, there is "spijs", "edelspijs" and "marsepein", and the different types are used for different things.
For instance, it's nearly easter, and in the Netherlands that means easter stollen, or "paasstol", a stollen with a cylinder of spijs or edelspijs rolled in the center.
And that's what I'm going to be making! Mmm paasstol... anyway, making marsipan is really simple:
- 160 gram of powdered sugar
- 380 gram of (skinned) almond
- a trickle of water
- a food processor
1) general-blend the almond and sugar together. This will form a kind of powdery substance
2) trickle water into the powdery mix and start rummaging around in it with a spoon or fork, or your hand, until enough water trickled on it to form a dense paste. You'll know you added enough water when it starts to retain its shape when you squish it.
3) The time consuming part, and a step that may ruin your food processor if you rush it because it'll overheat: refine the fairly coarse paste by putting two or three spoonfuls in the food processor, and cutting it up to a much finer paste.
If you want edelspijs, you stop once the food processor goes "okay, my blades are now freespinning" on each batch. If you want marsepein, you recombine a few batches, verify that your food processor has a high-resistance setting and some kind of circuitry that prevents overheating of the electromotor, and then reblend a second time.
You should be able to tell the difference in texture from the picture. The balled up marsipan is edelspijs consistency, the clear bowl is just plain, coarse spijs (the stick food processor bowl has two spoonfuls of spijs in it for refining)
Paasstol is genuinely delicious. How to make:
- cup of flour
- tablespoon of yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- cup of succade
- half a cup of lukewarm yogurt
First make a spongue by combining the flour, yeast, salt and in my case yogurt and some "succade", which is sugared rind of the citron (not to be confused with the french word for lemon). You can use sugared lemon rind too, of course, but we use succade quite a lot in this country.
Leave that to rise for an hour while you soak 2 cups of raisins - in my case, I soaked them in Irish Mist and Bacardi Oro.
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 125 grams unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups of soaked raisin
- half a pound of marsipan, optional (recipe here)
Once sponged, in another bowl mix up the sugar, egg, ground cinnamon and butter, then cream it all together (naturally, your butter should not be rock hard for this).
Pour your sponge into this and start mixing, adding the soaked raisins and the flour, which will form something anywhere between a paste and a dough. If it's a paste, keep adding flour until it forms a dough (flour is horrendously unreliable in terms of how much you need, they hydrate differently from brand to brand).
Once dough consistency, meaning it's a little sticky, but not tacky (it doesn't leave itself on a surface if you put it down, wait a few seconds, and take it back off) roll it out a little into a square about 12" wide and 8" height.
Get out your marsipan (see other post in this set) and use about half a pound to form a rolled column, then place this at the top and roll up the dough with the marispan in the center.
Shape a little so the ends are tapered a little, then let this shaped dough rise for about 2 to 3 hours.
Once risen (and you might get marginal rise to doubled volume, really), stick this in an oven preheated to 180C for about 40 minutes, until the top starts to darken and the center reads ~190C (easily verifiable with a meat thermometer).
Once done, take it out the oven and give it a generous powdering of powered sugar. Wait a minute or two for it to sort-of-but-not-quite melt, and then dust a second time.
Then it's up to you whether you wait for it to cool down (takes about an hour) and then eat it immediately, or whether you'll wait a day. I like waiting a day =)
This was kind of an experiment in baking, and ended up as a sort of panetone cake.
The idea started with two eggs and an electric whisk. Then it kind of turned into a cake batter, and then I added soaked raisins and cast the mix in round, metal coffee tins... so here goes:
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vannilin
- teaspoon of yeast
- 3/4 cup of soaked raisins (I soak mine in half/half whiskey and rum)
- 1 tablespoon of (unsalted) butter
1) whisk the eggs until the eggwhites start to fluff up. Keep whisking until it doesn't look like it's going to get any fluffier. Add in the brown sugar and vanilla, and mix until uniform.
2) heat the butter to make liquid, add a bit of flour to the egg mix, then mix in the butter
3) add in the yeast. if you have fine yeast, no need to dissolve it. If you have coarse yeast, dissolve in a little water first. No need to get it to "froth", just make sure it's dissolved properly, then mix in
4) start adding flour until the mix is a cake-dough consistency, which means it's still sticky, but if you put a finger in it and pull it out, it will resist and the peak where you pulled out your finger will stay there, very slowly sinking back into the dough/batter. Now mix in the raisins.
5) line the inside sides of 2 coffee tins (I drink lavazza. I have like 20 of these tins sitting in my kitchen) with baking paper, and scoop (you can't pour, it's too solid) half in one tin, half in the other.
6) set this to rise for about 5 hours. It takes a long time to rise, but it will, and it will rise more than you would expect, so wait =)
7) bake at 180C for 40 minutes, then let cool down and simply tap it out of the tin by holding it upside down and pulling on the paper a little.
Finally, dust with some powered sugar, and consume.
The best part about this is that if you do not eat all of it, you already have the ideal container to keep them in: just slide the coffee tin back over the top!
This is strictly speaking not my photograph, or even an actual one I'm afraid - Sybren took the photograph, but the texture on the whipped cream was flashed out. I had to composite it with different corrections a little (sorry Syb >_>;;)
Not just any cheesecake, cheddar cheesecake. With cheddar. If I hadn't made the cookie base way too thick, this would have probably been better, but I found it acceptable so here goes:
base (corrected to yield correct amount of crunchy noms)
- half a roll of rusk, the Dutch kind. You can use anything that crumbles well, though, really (Americans will probably use Graham Crackers, but bear in mind these are already sweet, unlike rusk)
- 125gr butter (that means unsalted. butter does not contain salt)
- a cup of granulated sugar
Melt the butter, finely crush up the rusk, mix in the sugar, then mix in the butter. Plop this in a 25cm (9.5") baking tin, spread evenly with a spoon, and press it into itself a little rather than just relying on gravity - bake this for about 18 minutes at 200C (390F) and then let it cool. After about 5 minutes of cooling you should be able to clip off the tin's ring, and move the cookie base onto some parchment for further cooling while you reuse the tin.
- 1kg of quark, though cream cheese will work too (but will give you a very a different flavour. get "baker's cheese" if available. It's closer to quark)
- 5 medium eggs
- 1 cup of granulated (or finer) sugar
- 200gr medium (or older) cheddar
- a cup of 30~40% fat cream (whipping cream)
Chop up the cheddar finely, which you will fail at because this cannot be humanly done. Take your chopped cheddar, stick it in the food processor with a few spoons of quark, and hit "blend". Next up, whisk the eggs into a smooth yellow, add in the sugar, and mechanically whisk for a until homogenised. pour the cheddar/quark mix into the main quark body, and mix in well, then mix in the egg/sugar mixture. Finally, whip the whipping cream to firm peak consistency, the firmer the better (ideally, stop just before you end up with butter). fold this into the mixture as well (fold well, but do this gently).
Pour this into your tin, and bake at 220C (425F) for about 20 minutes, then set the oven to 100C (212F) and bake for an hour and a half to two hours.
The conventional test is "until a knife comes out clean" but this is nonsense, you're not going to stab your cheesecake to see if it's done and end up with a stabbed cheesecake. Instead I like to use the wobble test: you can tell how liquid the mix still is by tapping the oven (or kicking it, depending on how big an oven you use. I have two, a big kitchen unit for high volume baking, and a small microwave/oven combination for things like pizza and pies).
If it wobbles only a little, you're good after an hour and a half. If the center still wobbles like it's jello, leave it in for another half hour.
When done, take the cheesecake out of the oven and leave to cool until it's reached room temperature. Or colder, if you've got a cold place to let it cool (as long as it's warmer than freezing. And don't stick it in the fridge to cool down, that would be monumentally stupid. You'll just heat up the fridge instead).
Assembly requires a trick. A common trick, but a trick still. Put your tin on a cutting board, take the rim off your tin, put some clingfoil over the top of your cheesecake, and lay a second cutting board on top. Flip this. You can now take the bottom of your tin off the cheesecake, and put your crunchy cookie base on it. Then you flip it again. You now have a cheesecake with a crunchy, rather than soggy, cookie base.
Decorate as desired, I used whipped cream and blueberries, but there are many things that pair well with the hint-of-cheddar this cheesecake will have.
This is a carrot and onion focaccia, made after I was wondering what to do with the vegetables that were left over making the soup for a risotto (which didn't work out... we used sushi rice, which normally actually works just fine. This time round, it very much did not).
Anyway, let's move on to the recipe. This is a two-day thing.
1) Making some stock
- a liter of water
- four big carrots
- one fist-sized or slightly larger onion
- thyme, oregano, basil, dragon, sage, whatever other "italian herbs" you want, really.
- some salt and pepper
Heat the water, cut up the carrot into smallish chunks, cut the onion into a couple of rings (I like to do them 1cm thickness but it's a meaningless number =), chuck them in the water, and boil it for a while with the herbs and the salt and the pepper. If you're using freshly ground pepper, realise that the soup will get more peppery than if you just consume the ground pepper on something dry, because the water will draw out all the peppery goodness.
Once the stock is done, drain the water, use for ... something, and set the vegetables aside in a container of some sort. We'll use them tomorrow.
2) Making some focaccia dough
This is the main reason the recipe spans two days, because you need to have a light, fluffy starter dough sitting around. If you don't, you have to make this today, then use it tomorrow. If you do, jump straight to the main event.
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 cups of water
- .5 tbs yeast
- .5 tsp salt
- 2 extra cups of flour
Mix the yeast with a bit of water until it's "dissolved" into a uniform liquid. mix the salt into the flour, and then pour the yeast plus the rest of the water into this, and start mixing. I don't really care how you mix it, I use my hands. Start adding in the additional flour until the dough's clingy, but lets go from things when you pull it off... so... this is technical stuff.
Let this dough sit for a day. It will become stickier because the dough will slowly hydrate throughout, and that's fine. Light fluffy starter is good.
2b) The actual dough
The actual dough will be made with the starter, plus some fresh things.
- starter dough
- the carrot/onion mix
- 2 new cups of flour
- half a cup of nice tasty oil
Let's pause for a moment. This is essential. If you want tasty focaccia, you stick in tasty ingredients. So get some nice olive oil, or some high grade pressed seed oil.
On with the breading: mix the starter dough and the oil, then mix in the flour. once it's nicely homogenised, work in the vegetables. Since the veggies are pretty mushy by now, you don't want to work the dough too much after this.
Place dough in a (lightly oiled) tray for rising, and leave for an hour, or 4, depending on how warm or cold it is (you can't rush dough, unless you have a proofer).
When nicely risen, heat an oven to 260℃/500℉ (if it will go that high, although anything over 220 will technically do the trick... just much slower). Flip the dough onto a baking sheet, dimple it with your finger tips in that typical focaccia dimply pattern, and load it into the oven. At 260℃ it will take between 15 and 25 minutes to bake, depending on how squishy you like it.
I stopped baking after 15, and then cut it up and froze the pieces, because that way you can finish baking them at some later time while retaining the squish. Squish good. Firm nice, squish better.
These are technical terms. Enjoy your focaccia =D
An in between 'napolitan' and standard pizza (if you live in Chicago, not your standard pizza. The rest of the world's).
The dough is really easy. Three cups of flour, a liberal splash of oil, 3/4th of half a tablespoon of yeast, a little bit of salt, enough water to turn it into dough, a little bit more flour because you put in too much water, and time to make it all rise.
after initial rise, punch down, cut in three pieces, roll out as pizze, let rerise for about half an hour to an hour, and decorate with your favourite toppings.
We used a tomato base (made the day before because we had loads of tomatos), chopped onion and garlic, some sausagy meat (bologna for me, fake meat for Arty), bell pepper, grated cheddar and crumbled feta.
Bake in about 20~15 minutes at 180~210 (respectively, always fun finding a good temperature) and devour!
Worked well enough?
(to people who are wondering where the cheese is: cheese is a topping, not a sauce. it's sprinkled over the pizza for flavour. Cheese is not a blanket!)
Home made, naturally.
Marzipan: skinned almonds and icing sugar at a 1:1 ratio.
Grind almonds to as close to flour as your food processor will let you. If it's still a little coarse, don't worry, we'll compensate for this in stage two. Mix in the icing sugar, and then blend this while conservatively sprinkling water into it (it'll be too dry for most of the mixing. This is good. Once it's too wet, you fucked up and you can throw all of it away. Or head out and buy more almonds and sugar because there is no way to dry out almond/sugar flour that's been made too wet).
When it forms a dry paste that holds it shape, pack it into some baking paper, then store airtight overnight. This lets the water travel just a little more. I consider this important.
The next day, unpack, then cut into small bits and food processor these chunks into a finer marzipan (what in Dutch would really be "marsepein", as opposed to just "amandelspijs"). Make bloody sure not to put in too many chunks at the same time, as the reason this works is because there is very little marzipan for the blades to slice through. So: the fewer chunks, the better.
Repack the result, cut off and freeze whatever you're not using now (it'll keep nearly forever in the freezer...), and proceed to cut what you want to use into small chunks, roll them into balls, and then roll them around in a mix of "speculaas" spices and ground black pepper (optional, but adds genuine spice experience).
For those unfamiliar with what constitutes speculaas spices:
- 8 parts ground cinnamon
- 2 parts ground clove
- 2 parts ground nutmeg
- 1 part ground kardamom
- 1 part ground ginger
- 1 part ground white pepper
Of course, don't forget to messily devour every last one of them!
This is awesome to make. Also, it's delicious! But mostly, make sure you have enough bread... We basically crammed the filling for four layers of 4x2 slices onto/into a smörgåstårta of only 3x2 slices...
Anyway, how do you make this? We used the following:
- 2 firm white breads (so you should buy 3, really), pre sliced with the crusts cut off and put in a bag for making bread pudidng.
for the filling:
- 800gr (ish) of cream cheese
- 400gr (ish) of sour cream
- some nice mayonnaise (not "Hellman's" or "Miracle Whip" mayo-a-likes. I mean proper mayonnaise)
This gets mixed together, using as much mayo as is necessary to make the mixture just spreadable. This is the base with which to make the layers. There are a million and seven recipes for how to go from here, so we split our creamy paste into four and made four distinct layers:
1) One batch was mixed with panfried chopped onion (1 big onion), diced boiled egg (4 eggs) and chopped chives. The eggs were boiled until the yolk had set, but not so long that it started to discolor (never do that, please. It's disgusting)
2) Another batch was mixed with cold-cut ham (ripped into small bits) and chopped parsley.
3) The third batch received panfried small shrimp (not drained, so that the flavour would bake onto the shrimp) and cut up surimi flake (also fried, because that brings out more flavour)
4) The last batch got smoked salmon and chopped dill.
The initial prep was really simple. Layer of bread, batch 4, layer of bread, batch 3, layer of bread, batch 2, layer of bread, batch 1. Of course that still needs decoration, so we also used three boiled eggs, some left over shrimp and salmon, dill, an avocado and cherry tomatoes (okay, "grape tomatos") for decoration.
This is filling.
It's also ridiculously delicious!
The upside of making Smörgåstårta is that you're left with a lot of bread crust. Many people have no idea what to do with that and feed the birds with it (a note if you're one of those people: they're wild animals; they don' t need feeding. And if they did, 'bread' is not their natural food). Other people know that it's the ideal ingredient for bread pudding.
Let's make some stodge!
- 2 breads worth of bread crusts
- enough milk to fill up a bowl with said crusts (to flush with the top of the bread crusts)
- salt, pepper, herbs (I used thyme, basil and oregano)
- two tablespoons of sugar
- 500 grams of firm cheese. I used 250gr of old gouda, and 250gr of "lain" gouda (for those unfamiliar with the various forms of gouda, young has been aged about a month, "lain" for about 4 months, old for about year. And then there are also the obligatory young/lain and lain/old in-between forms).
- three large eggs
Put bread crusts in bowl, add milk, cover, and go away. Come back an hour later, then mix in the eggs, herbs, and spices, knead (yes, you read that correctly. Knead it in the bowl with your hands. Wash your hands first, obviously), then finally sprinkle in the cheese and knead it just enough to get it mixed evenly.
Make sure your bowl can accomodate this mixture rising to almost twice its height (or get a different bowl first) and stick this into the oven at 170°C/340°F and set the timer for an hour and a half.
Yes, an hour and a half. This is not a fast bake.
If the top doesn't look caramel brown after an hour and a half, keep it in for another half hour. Again, this is not a fast bake.
Once done, take out of the oven, and let it stand until it's sunk back to its original size (this is not a souffle, we don't want it to stay puffed up!). Now comes the hard part: wait for it to cool down to room temperature, and then put it in the fridge. Once it's sat there overnight, it's ready for proper eating.
My suggestion: cut off a slice, fry it up with some tomatoes and bacon, and eat yourself to near death. You'll thank me for it.
I do love coconut macaroons (and no, I do not like macarons; at least not commercial ones).
And they're easy to make! Let's get baking:
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 150 grams of sugar
- 3 cups of shredded sweetened coconut
- half a cup of flour
- a tablespoon of vanilla/vanillin
1) Beat the sugar and egg whites until it's "stiff peak" material.
2) set the oven to 180C. At the end of step 4 it should be preheated.
3) mix the yolks, coconut, vanilla and flour in a big saucepan until it's a smooth mixtured. Then on a stove top low heat, stir this mixture while it slowly heats up. The idea is NOT to get it hot, but to get it warm. This will make it get slightly stiffer, but use too much heat and the yolks will set. That is bad. So keep stirring until it's roughly porridge consistency (you can tell by taking it off the heat, tilting the pan, and stirring. If it gloops, not done. If clings a little before letting go, pretty good).
4) Take off the heat, stir a little more, then stir in the fluffy eggwhites mixture. remember it has to be stiff peak material. if it started to run a little, mix it back up first. When mixed, scoop spoonfuls onto a baking-paper lined baking tray, and pop those suckers in the oven.
"But Mike! How many?" What is this, math class? We're making cookies; however many you can make given the size you make them at! As a handy reference, though, this is enough to make six Mike-maracoon-sized macaroons. That's right. Six.
5) Wait 15 to 20 minutes (if after 15 minutes they're not at least golden all over, wait another few minutes), then take them out and leave them to cool down.
And if you have access to it, "pour" your macaroon on edible rice paper (traditionally round cut, and slightly smaller than your macaroon), for an even more authentic "omnomnomacaroon" experience.
Southeast Asian cooking - peanut curry and nam prik, curried chicken, salt and pepper chicken, and green onion pancakes.
- 3 cups of roasted peanut
- 10 tiny thai chillis, chopped, with the seeds. we're not throwing those away, what's wrong with you.
- 4" of chopped galangal ("laos root")
- 6" of finely chopped lemon grass (counted from the base, not the tip!)
- a handful of chopped lime leaves
- a quarter cup of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of shrimp paste (gapi/trassie)
- 2 finely chopped shallots
- 3 fat cloves of garlic, chopped
Heat oil, and while stirring and giving everything a chance to heat and release their flavour, add one by one the shallot, garlic, shrimp paste, lime leaf, lemon grass, chillis. Get everything nice and mixed, then finally add the peanuts, and stir until everything's nice and hot. Take off the fire, throw it in a food processor, and process until still a little coarse.
Set some aside mixed with chilli oil, freshly chopped green onion, and juice of one lime as nam prik, put the rest in a container. You'll find things to use it with. Trust me.
Peanut curried chicken:
- 4 chicken thighs, deboned
- four liberal tablespoons of peanut curry mix
- half a cup of light coconut milk (not the 60-70% stuff!)
Slice the chicken, put it in a bowl, add the peanut curry, mix it up (I recommend using your hand), then fry the chicken, and when it looks like it's almost done, add the coconut milk and reduce on high heat until there's almost no liquid left. Put it back in the bowl and put the bowl somewhere that keeps it warm (like an oven set to 70C)
Salt and pepper chicken:
- 4 chicken thighs, deboned
- tablespoon of salt
- tablespoon of finely ground black pepper
- juice of a lime
Slice chicken, fry chicken, once it's almost done, drizzle lime juice on while shuffling the chicken around, and then set that aside, too.
Green onion pancakes:
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 6 cups of water, give or take a cup.
- and entire bunch of green onion, finely chopped up
Mix everything until smooth (it'll seem a bit watery), starting with 5 cups of water, but taking it up to 7 depending on how thick the batter stays. You want it to run off a ladle only a little slower than, say, soup. It'll be far more watery than plain pancakes. That's intentional.
Heat up a pan (I use a crepe pan because they're $20 and perfect for this) and pour two ladles in when it's nice and hot. Don't touch the pancake until all the liquid looks like it's set, then flip and brown the other side a little.
Combine all the everythings:
One pancake, and your choice of chicken, with chopped bell peppers for crunchy vegginess, and the nam prik because who said you can have too much flavour? No one, that's who.
Let's make some Thai noodles. Ooh, let's.
Mise on place:
- A chopped bunch of green onion
- A half cup of peanut curry base
- A chopped small garlic
- A chopped bunch of parsley
- 2" of chopped lemon grass
- 2" of chopped galangal
- A few spoons of boiled chopped tomato base
- noodles for two (and a half), cooked separately so we can stir fry with them
- Some coconut cream
- A pound of shrimp. ish. your mileage may vary, I went for raw peeled 31/40 shrimp (which is a size indicator based on the fact that "a pound of these means a bag with between 31 and 40 shrimp").
- Oil. The tastier, the better. I use a frying oil made of about half a kilo of onion, finely chopped, deep fried in a saucepan with enough oil to cover, then left to simmer on a pilot light overnight with chopped chillis and garlic, and then drained off (the onion gets discarded because it's now useless)
Mettre en wok:
- Splash of oil in the pan, fry the lemon grass with the garlic and galangal until it's clearly releasing flavours
- Add the peanut curry base, shuffle
- Add a few tablespoons of the tomato. I think I used 6.
- Add half the parsley, shuffle, then set all of it aside in a bowl.
- Make sure your shrimp are wet - we want went shrimp. If they were dry, just chuck them in a bowl, run water over them, pour off whatever can get poured off, and then add to the wok. This way they fry to dry while also caking some of the flavour from the previous steps onto the shrimp. Winner.
- Once the shrimp start to dry, add the sauce back in, with a small splash of coconut.
- Stir fry briefly, then add in the noodles
- Stir fry until things look done. Typically the noodles and shrimp will be mostly separate in the wok because noodles like to do that. We can live with that.
Eat that stuff:
- Put noodles in two bowls, shovel the shrimp on top, sprinkle lavishly with green onion and the rest of the parsley.
- Get a nice cold beer, sit down, stuff food in face.
A somewhat liberal interpretation of Cambodian muan char kreung, but let's not beat about the bush: it is delicious.
Chicken rubbed in the peanut curry (see the recipe for that) with sliced paprika (bell pepper), and served on jasmine rice with crushed lime-roasted cashew nuts and chopped green onion.
Preparation is pretty much the simplest thing. This makes food for four:
- make 3 cups of rice
- slice up three medium sized paprikas
- crush up a cup of cashew (ideally, something like lime roasted cashew)
- chop up a bunch of green/spring onion
- rub eight chicken thighs liberally in liberal peanut curry
In a wok or shuffly pan heat up some chilli oil (or plain oil if you're that kind of person) and start frying the chicken on one side, then after fiveish minutes, flip. Both sides should be crusty but the insides might still be raw. Don't worry. While we're frying the chicken, drizzle with fish suace on each side, for extra tasty.
After ten minutes total, turn off the heat, take out the chicken, slice it up, put it back in, and pour about a cup of water into the wok. We cheated our way into curry. For a little more flavour (but only a little) add a tablespoon of sugar. Not required, but definitely a nice addition.
Now, we'll reduce it back down, but we're first going to make sure this cooks the chicken bit that were still raw. That should be fairly fast, and will basically happen while we're reducing anyway. Once things are reduced back to a thick sauce, throw in the sliced paprika, stirfry until the paprika is hot, and then turn off the heat.
Serve over rice, with crushed cashew and chopped green onion.
Then regret eating so much.
...but secretly don't.
It is delicious.
- Stale bread, cut up into small pieces. If you don't have stale bread, don't make bread pudding.
- I use a milk/half-and-half mix in a 1:1 ratio, enough to fill a mixing bowl with the bread until only the top layer of bread is not covered, then squish things down with your hands a bit to get things under "water".
We'll also need chopped up savoury bits. In this case:
- 100gr cherry tomato
- two paprika
- a third of a block of extra old cheddar (we're making bread pudding, this doesn't have to be finest of the finest. Just flavourful enough. Cracker Barrel works fine).
- some savoury spices: salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, and mixed italian herbs
- also, because we had some left over, about a cup of purple basil
- three eggs (depending on how much bread you have, you may want more or fewer)
Preparation is about as easy as it gets: mix bread and milk/cream. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, then mix it with your hand while squish-crushing the bread. It should let you do that. If the bread's too hard, let it sit another 10 minutes. Mix everything else into the bread/milk/cream mixture; again, this is hand work. A mixer will just turn it into a homogenous boring nonsense.
Let's bake that to perfection:
"pour" (but more like scoop) the mixture into a tin --I used a bread tin in this case because I wanted to eat slices of bread pudding-- and then bake this in the oven at 180C for anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes. I like to cook mine covered for half an hour, then uncovered for the remaining 15-30 minutes. Once the pudding looks golden brown on top, and risen more than you thought it would, turn off the oven, and then with the door open leave the bread pudding in the oven as it cools down. When the oven's cooled down to the point that it's merely warm, and sticking your hand in doesn't make you want to pull it back out, take out the pudding and set it somewhere to cool down further on its own (being fully away that that tin IS still going to be super hot).
When it feels warm enough to handle, carefully remove the bread pudding from the tin (it should have firmed up, but can still easily break up), and then either serve and eat immediately (serving optional), or have it cool down further. The longer you leave it alone, the more it will compact, to the point where after about an hour you can cut slices, and if you refrigerate it overnight it will have become an amazing, dense, rich flavoured consistency that is perfect for cutting off slices and frying them up in a skillet for breakfast, lunch, or next-day-dinner.
An important note: if you are impatient, you will completely destroy the pudding when you take it out: the cooling process actually sets the pudding to a "just firm enough" consistency, so trying to get it out of the tin too early means you end up with a near liquid running off everything. Don't be that person.
No milk, eggs, butter, we'll be making plain old proper French bread. In weight ratios:
- 160% yesterday's dough
- 100% all purpose flour
- 65% water
- 1.9% salt
- 0.64% yeast
If you don't like to google, in my case that typically means 750gr, 468gr, 305gr, 9gr, and 3gr, respectively, yielding a total amount of dough roughly twice the amount of matured dough, which makes it easy to bake half, and put the other half in the fridge as tomorrow's "yesterday's dough".
"Wait, hold up, what about yesterday's dough if I don't have any dough yet? The heck am I going to get that?" good question!
Regular baking is a continuous affair, but if you have no starter dough, I start my "day 1" with making a dough the only purpose of which is to be used the next day for reals. This starts as a 250gr:250gr flour water "batter" with about a teaspoon of yeast. That gets to sit at room temperature until it heavily bubbles (4~8 hours depending on room temperature), after which I mix it up to a real dough with 250gr flour and a teaspoon of salt. That goes into the fridge and slow-rises until the next day.
NOTE: this is the first photograph in an album of start-to-finish baking baguette
2 small, stale baguettes
milk to almost cover
a cup of brown sugar (you could use molasses. You'd be a monster)
2 bars of quality 55% chocolate (~14 ounce)
half a stick of butter (The small four-sticks-to-a-carton sticks, not half a bar of butter; about 2oz or 60gr)
For some extra flavouring: 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, vanillin (don't use "real vanilla extract", prolonged baking is just going to destroy its complex flavours) and ground cinnamon.
A rather tasty hearth-baked ficelle-like baguette!
I say ficelle-like, because a baguette is 65cm long, relatively wide, weighing 250gr, a ficelle is 32cm, relatively thin, weighing 100gr, whereas this bread is 45cm, in between ficelle and baguette, weighing 270gr.
The recipe and preparation are fairly traditional: 3 cups of plain while flour (~320gr) mixed with 8 grams of plain salt, and 2 cups of water (~470gr) mixed with 1.5 teaspoons of yeast, combined and mixed to a slurry, then built up to a dough with another 3 cups of flour added one by one, and left to knead until the dough is homogeneous and smooth, and feels a bit like putty without actually sticking to anything when lifted out of the bowl.
This dough is then placed in cooling (refridgerator temperature) around noon, punched down once around 10pm (over those 10 hours it will only have doubled in volume), and then taken out the next morning, punched down, divided into four pieces, shaped as demi-baguettes (~30cm), then proofed on parchment for an hour and a half at 35C.
Once proofed, the dough is removed from the parchment, flipped, stretched to 45cm (the dough is extremely elastic at this point and generally stretches whether you want it to or not, which is fine: just gently push it to the right shape and length, and let it rest for a minute). It is folded double along the bottom, then flipped back, and left to recover for about 5 minutes, after which it is dusted with flour, scored, and loaded into the oven for hearth baking.
The oven uses a 22" x 15" x 1" pizza stone for hearth baking, heated to 260C (which takes about 45 minutes), and the bread is baked in a fairly simple 3+1 step process:
1. The bread is loaded and left to spring for 5 minutes.
2. A cup of water is thrown into the oven (I usually do two half cups, throwing half a cup at both side walls) to effect an immediate steam blast. The oven is then immediately closed and the bread is left to steam-bake for 5 minutes.
3. The door is opened to let out the (invisible and super heated!) steam, after which the door is closed again, the oven is set to 220C and the bread is left to finish for 10 minutes in a relatively dry oven.
However, because it's only a half-hearth, after turning off the oven I will give the loaves another 5 minutes upside down on the stone (with the door closed) to ensure the top sides get enough heat to set properly.
After this, the loaves are transferred to a wire rack to cool, and if the loaves don't start audibly crackling fairly soon after placing on the rack, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. The loaves cool for at least half an hour, after which they're fair game for anyone to eat.
And for those who want pictures to go with every step, head on over to imgur.com/gallery/hQRaL