Monthly Archives: September 2009

Banana Bread with Coconut

Since bananas are available all year round and don’t really have a season you can make this loaf anytime but for me it seemed perfect for right now. The summer is most definitely over and its started to get slightly cooler with little spurts of rain, and so what better than some fresh warm banana bread. To say I was dubious of this cake would be a little of an understatement because its a cake with no eggs, the leavening comes from the baking soda and vinegar alone. This is something I had never tried before but it actually came out really well. The addition of coconut is also a lovely addition, adding another level of flavour although it is delicate but it was a great way to use up left over coconut. Banana bread was chosen because I had bananas speedily ripening on the counter that either needed eating or cooking with. I obviously decided to bake. I initially thought of making the brown butter banana bread on amateurgourmet.com but as I had coconut hanging around I settled on this and im very happy with it. My absolute  favourite way to eat banana bread is lightly toasted spread with a little butter and this was just perfect for that and since the top is encrusted with demerara you also get that slightly caramel flavour along with the texture of the crunch just perfect. Continue reading

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Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut haters may want to turn away and come back next week because this week is going to an ode to one of my favourite ingredients, coconut. Simply put I love the stuff, but often stay away from using it because i’m always worried that what I end up making will just sit there unloved and uneaten. So I decided to make some coconut ice cream because it obviously lasts very well and since you steep the coconut, and then discard it, you remove many peoples biggest complaint: the texture. This ice cream comes again from, where else, David Lebovitz’s amazing book “The Perfect Scoop” which if I have not convinced you already is a really great buy. This Ice Cream was seriously good, the flavour well balanced, not overpowering but not too delicate either. The texture was the best yet, the rum kept it soft enough to scoop and was slightly dense and buttery. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one to agree so this did not last long, which was a shame because it would have been nice to have some more of this, I guess ill have to move to coconut hating household so I can keep this to myself. I currently have a ton of egg whites in the freezer so if anyone has some great recipes for left over whites I would love to hear them, my copy of Pierre Herme’s “Macaron” should arrive next week so that will take care of some but seriously I have loads! Continue reading

Boston Cream Pie for a 60th Birthday

Its was my Dad’s 60th birthday this weekend, well actually its not for another month but we decided to hold a little surprise birthday party for him and his friends. My Dad has a pretty sweet tooth, actually most of my family do, and so normally Dad would have chosen what I would make for him but as we were doing it as a surprise party my mum and I chose for him. Both my parents went to America for the first time 5 years ago and fell in love with the country, they now go regularly sometimes even twice a year, under a pretense of ‘work’ though of course. It turns out they both developed a fondness for doughnuts from Dunkin Doughnuts so when my copy of Sky High Cakes arrived and I saw this recipe, we agreed this would be the ideal choice as my Dad’s favourite pick from Dunkin is the Boston Cream. Whilst we thought at the time he may have caught on to the secret in the end the little party  was kept under wraps and my Dad had a great time, the cake was pretty good too. This book is full of wonderful looking recipes and I cant wait to try more, i’m thinking that next up will be the Dulce De Leche cake, but with so many to choose from that may be a difficult decision.

Right lets get to the good and the  bad. The cake was great it was light and flavourful and the custard filling also tasted great. I did have a couple of problems though. The custard didn’t set easily, needing a long time in the fridge to finally set up, but was really tasty once it did. My biggest problem though was the chocolate. The book is another American cookbook which calls for an ingredient I cant get, this time half and half. I chose, as an alternative, what I thought would be closest. It turns out single cream still has too high a fat content so rather than a glaze I ended up with more of a ganache. In the end though I was pretty happy and the most important person, my Dad, gave it his approval and well thats all I was aiming for. Continue reading

The “Baked” Brownie

My all time biggest cravings come from chocolate and a lot of time i’m not even picky, cake, candy bar, cupcakes or of course brownies, anything that provides that comforting cocoa hit. I once managed to give up chocolate and all sweet things for 2 1/2 months when I was dieting (I gave up a lot of stuff whilst dieting but did manage to lose 130 pounds, not all in 2 1/2 months of course) and whilst i’ve kept the weight off, chocolate has become a fixture again. After an especially boring and tedious day at the office my stomach demanded I have some chocolate but a chocolate bar wasn’t going to cut it this time. I fancied making brownies, it had been a sinfully long time since I made any and I had been meaning to blog about these brownies from the “Baked” book since I first made them last year. My biggest tips for making brownies would be dont overmix the batter and watch the baking time fanatically because as the book says, an over-baked brownie is not a “Baked” brownie. To be completely honest I slightly over-baked them, just a little, so they were not perfect but still very good. Continue reading

Falafel

One of the things that can almost always be found in my kitchen is a can of chickpeas. Usually I use the chickpeas for a curry type dish but last weekend I was really in the mood for falafel. After rooting around the kitchen it turned out I had everything I needed apart from parsley. After a quick walk to the store I had freshly made Falafel in just 15 minutes. The recipe I used suggests making the dough into 4 patties and using like burgers, which I did with half, but it can just as easily made into standard rounds. When making meals and savoury things whilst often happy im normally not enamored enough that i’d make the dish again (due to my lack of talent really) but this was so easy whilst also being really tasty. I will most definitely be making these again. Continue reading

National Cupcake Week – A Recipe

So its National Cupcake Week here in the UK and yes, I know, I hear you, another __ week,  just what we need. It seems like every other day or week is national this or national that. The Cupcake Week, however is organised by the British Baker Magazine and its aim is to draw customers into bakeries across the country and well, this is something I can definately get behind. Ill put aside my cynism for once and try and find a local bakery to support, although I dont really know any. On the off chance there is no bakery around to give your business to, and you still fancy a cupcake why not have a go yourself. So I present to you my recipe for Ginger and White Chocolate Cupcakes. Okay so the cake recipe is from Martha Stewart and the frosting is based on a Billys Bakery recipe but hey they’re mine now! Originally I had planned on making caramelised white chocolate frosting but on a test run my white chocolate wasn’t working out and since I had just enough left for a final run I left it as plain white chocolate this time. Continue reading

Caramelized Peanuts

Im just gonna come straight out and say these are good, no amazing, additive even. I tried to make these a while back but failed terribly, so with some time on my hands as well as all the ingredients I decided to try again. I didnt really know what I was going to use them for but they are great for snacking on or as a topping for ice cream (which was what I used some for). Looking back at my previous failure im not sure what went wrong because this time everything seemed simple and easy and they came out just fine. I should forewarn you that this recipe makes a lot, I halved the recipe and still had plenty but the combination of salty peanuts and caramel is seriously tasty so I had no problems getting rid of them. The original recipe (more technique than recipe) come from the Pierre Herme “Chocolate Desserts” book and so unsurprisingly they are originally coated in tempered chocolate but I wasnt in the mood to attempt tempering, but next time definately because that would simply be amazing. Continue reading