Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Apple Crumble And Custard

You can always tell that the festive cheer has hit me when I start adding cinnamon and mixed spice to almost every sweet dish I do, so if anyone happens to be staying with me, they're a bit stuffed (haha get it? like Christmas turkey?!... never mind...) if they don't like the stuff!

Double whammy this week for you guys, for, like a true Brit, it is simply impossible for me to have crumble without custard. I sprinkled dark brown sugar on top of mine before you put it in the oven, it's up to you if you do too!

Apple crumble
Ok, so in this photo I missed out flour and vanilla, sorry!

1/2 cup/115g Sugar (proportional to in apple mush)
1/2tsp Mixed Spices
1 pod Vanilla
100g Butter
1  1/2cup Flour
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
4 Ginger Nut Biscuits

1. Peel apples.
2. Take out the core and pips and chop the apples into medium chunks.
3. Put the chopped apples into the saucepan with water (put the water to less than half where apples are-if that makes sense) and add the sugar, mixed spices and vanilla (take the seeds out of it and put those it, you don't need the outer thing).
4. Mix all together and then bring to the boil (there's no need to stir this constantly, just put the lid on and leave it alone, but keep watching it!).
5. Turn off the heat once the apples are cooked and foaming slightly, but try not to let it go too mushy (don't worry if it does though!) and leave to cool.
6. Breadcrumb the butter, flour and cinnamon together.
7. Combine with the crushed ginger nut biscuits.
8. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
9. Pour the apple into a dish, only pour the crumble on straight before you put it in the oven to save it getting soggy.
10. Put in the oven for roughly 30 mins or until the top goes slightly golden. It's totally cool if some of the apple pokes through around the edges, it tastes great!

2 cups/500 ml Milk
few drops Vanilla Essence
6 Egg yolks
1/2 cup/100 g/4 oz Caster Sugar
2 tsp/10 ml Cornflour

1. Combine the milk and vanilla essence in a saucepan. Warm gently but do not let it boil.
2. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together until creamy. 
3. Add the warm milk.
4. Strain the mixture back into the clean pan and cook SLOWLY, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens slightly (be careful not to let it curdle-if you do, just strain it through a sieve)
5. Serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Run Of The Mill Bread

Haha, run of the MILL! Get it? Because its bread? Oh never mind, it was probably funnier in my head.

Jokes aside, bread is hands down my all time favorite thing to make. I don't know what it is about it, but those who have made bread in the past will probably know what I'm talking about. If you haven't ever made bread and you don't know what I'm talking about then you NEED this recipe!

For some time I had been looking for a decent bread recipe, for one that would make bread that I would actually want to eat the next day, and then my mum gave me this book and when I saw that it had a bread recipe in it, I just knew I had to make it. This bread is amazing. The bread I made by following this recipe is the kind of bread I would buy from a bakery, it's that good, and so, I implore you to cancel all your plans and MAKE THIS BREAD!

I first cooked this recipe at home and made two large rolls and they were really good, but were a tad heavy along the bottom, so, when I made it a second time at school with my good friend Becky (after finding out that she had never made bread and nearly exploding at the thought that she had been deprived from making such simplistic goodness), we divided the dough into 6 smaller rolls and it turned out much better, but, horses for courses!

AOIFE'S TIP: Cover your hands in flour before you handle to dough, this will help to prevent the dough sticking to your hands. Keep your fingers together! To get the dough off your hands, don't use water! cover your hands in flour again and rub them together. If you want to get the dough off your hands 

Run Of The Mill Bread:

Bare Necessities:
7cups/700g Strong White Bread Flour
2tsp Salt
7g/1 sachet Fast-Action Dried Yeast
15g Fresh Yeast
450ml Lukewarm Water

1. Add the flour, salt and yeast (if you're using dried yeast) to a bowl and mix.
(1.5. If you're using fresh yeast, combine with the lukewarm water.)
2. Add the water to the flour.
3. Mix the flour and the water (you may want to use a wooden spoon for this, but at some point you will have to start using your hands.)
3.5. If you've mixed all the flour and water together and it's too dry, add some water, but only a couple of drops at a time, and if it is too moist, add a small handful of flour.
4. Once you've mixed all the flour and water together, sprinkle some flour onto the work surface and take the dough out of the bowl and knead solidly for 10-15 mins
5. Put the ball of dough back into the bowl.
6. Cover the bowl with cling film, and pierce the cling film a couple times.
7. Put the bowl in a warm area (e.g. the boiler room or on the radiator) and leave for about 1-2 hours or until the dough has about doubled in size.
8. Punch the dough to deflate it slightly.
9. Knead gently so as to distribute the bubbles evenly.
10. Grease with butter and/or line your baking tray(s) with greaseproof paper.
11. Shape your dough, you may like to do a plait, or just a roll, whatever you fancy, and put onto the baking tray.
12. Cover the trays again and leave in the same warm place for about an hour or until have roughly doubled in size again.
13. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas mark 8.
14. Uncover the dough and put in the oven for about 30mins (rotating them half way through if needs be) or until golden brown on the top and makes a hollow sound if tapped lightly on the bottom.
15. Leave to cool and then serve up with the spread of your choice (or just plain if you want!).

Monday, 14 November 2011

Apple Mush

Ok, so TECHNICALLY it's stewed apple, but I've been eating this since I was a baby, and it's just been given that family name, even my 19 year old brother calls it that, though I suppose he's less than pleased that I told you all that.

The original reason that my mum started making it is because, as a baby, I simply refused to eat any of the baby food that she bought from the supermarkets and when she made it, as I'm sure you'll find when you make it, I just wanted more (which was coincidentally my first word, 'more'). It can be eaten hot or cold, I like it with a bit of custard, or, if I'm feeling especially naughty, hot with a scoop (or two) of creamy vanilla ice-cream; though I'm sure that you can have it with just about anything you want.

This recipe is super easy to make and takes no time at all. Proportions will vary based on the size of apples you're using and whether you want it 'sweet sweet sweet', or if you want it to have more of a 'tang'. I personally prefer it with a bit of zing, but not the tears-running-down-my-face-oh-my-god-this-is-so-sour kind of sour. And, though I'm sure that you're all perfectly clever enough to realize this, though I apparently wasn't, the apple gets REALLY hot, so don't taste it until it has cooled down some more, and if it needs more sugar, just heat it up a bit first.

Bare Nececities:
4 Bramley apples
1/2-3/4 cups/115-170g Castor sugar

1. Peel apples.
2. Take out the core and pips and chop the apples into small-ish chunks.
3. Put the chopped apples into the saucepan with water (put the water to about half where apples are-if that makes sense) and add the sugar.
4. Mix all together and then bring to the boil (there's no need to stir this constantly, just put the lid on and leave it alone, but keep watching it!).
5. Turn off the heat once the apples are cooked and foaming slightly and leave to cool.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Rice Pudding

You mention rice pudding to most British people and they immediately think of that chunderous gloopy stuff served at those old fashioned boarding schools, and, though I do go to a boarding school myself, we rarely get served rice pudding, and when do, though it's certainly not 'spiffing', it is almost decent. Unlike many dishes and foods I've never had phases of wanting or not wanting, liking or not liking rice pudding, I've just always loved it, haven't even been put off it by school (which is a miracle). I've always wanted to know how to cook rice pudding, and so, when I found this recipe, I just knew that I had to make it. It wasn't until I was actually making it that I realised that the instructions weren't that good, so I kind of made it up and it turned out really well! So I present to you, (mostly) my own recipe for a really quick rice pudding! I haven't made this enough to know how flexible it is, but feel free to put less cinnamon in, or exchange it for any other spices you fancy.

Rice pudding:
Bare necessities:
3/4 cups uncooked pudding rice
2.5 cups/625 ml water
8 fl oz/1cup/250 ml evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1tsp cinnamon (I really like cinnamon so this was right for me, but if you're not so keen, add less)

1. Cook the rice for about 13 mins in the water or until the rice is and all the water is absorbed
2. Add the milk, sugar and cinnamon and stir.
3. Bring to the boil and then turn heat off and leave to cool

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Ultimate Beans On Toast

Ok, I know what you're thinking, 'Beans on toast? Why the hell
Is THAT on a cooking blog? It's quite possibly the easiest thing to cook!' Well, if you thought that, then you clearly missed out a key word in the title, 'ultimate'. Yes, I would even say that these beans on toast are arguably THE BEST beans on toast you will EVER try! (unless of course you don't like baked beans, in which case you probably won't like them)
I used to have beans every so often when I was little, but then I went through a period of my life where I just didn't really want them. It wasn't until recently (last Easter in fact), when I joined the most awesome sailing club, that I reignited my love for them. The sailing club that I go to is called Theta, and it is run by under 25-year-old's. We sail toppers and wayfarers, with the occasional row in bumface, affectionately nicknamed bumboat. We all stay on a houseboat with no electricity or running water, so no fridges or showers; and so, as you can imagine, the food rarely gets too exotic (unless of course one of the people with you that week lived abroad for some time, and so one night you might get a delicious curry for dinner). However, most meals were quite simple, and so we often had beans for breakfast or dinner, slapped together with whatever there was lying around. It was then that I realized just how good beans could taste, and so, when I got home, I was determined to make my mother be graced by the same epiphany.

After several tries I had finally gotten the recipe fine tuned to just how I liked it and, even though when describing this glorious meal of simplicity to my friends I got some less than impressed faces, I decided that is was definitely good enough to be photographed and shown to all you out there who are reading this.

Yet another ├╝ber flexible recipe, you can have a small tin, an extra tin, one piece of toast instead of two, one chili or three chillies, or no chillies at all! (though I personally advise it, as it adds that slight pazazz to what could have the danger of being a boring or bland dish)

The Ultimate Beans On Toast
Serves 2-3 (quite big portions)

Bare Necessities:
1 tin Baked Beans
1-2 Chilies (depending on how big they are)
a squirt Ketchup
one packet Mozzarella
2-6 pieces Bread (depending on how many pieces everyone wants)
about 4 slices Cheddar
a dash Oil
Butter (to spread your toast)

1. Finely slice and dice the chilies and fry in the saucepan with a little bit of oil.
2. Once the chilies go brown (but not burnt), turn the heat down to the lowest and add the beans.
3. Stir the beans until they start simmering.
4. Add the ketchup, mozzarella and cheddar and stir until everything has melted.
5. Toast the bread and spread with the desired amount of butter.
6. Pour on the beans and enjoy!