Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Morning Pancakes

Well, here it is at last. Christmas day! Though some in my family are less happy about the "early" rise of 8'o'clock in the morning, I am never phased by this and so I found myself rising at 7 to make American pancakes as a surprise treat for my mother. She then came downstairs about 5 minutes after me and proceeded to bid me good morning and merry Christmas and tell me how she had been awake since 4. Some surprise, huh. Nevertheless, she was very happy and left me to cook in the kitchen.

In the midst of the present unwrapping madness, whilst my dog was shredding a paper bag, my brother was saying his hands were far too greasy to touch his new clothes and my mother was getting all emotional from the necklace that her boyfriend had given her, I was unwrapping my last present: the big box that had been sitting under the tree for almost a week, and I was overjoyed when I found out what it was; an Ice-cream machine! Well, the Gaggia Gelatiera Ice-cream machine to be precise, paired with two books solely dedicated to the making of ice-cream, sorbet and the like.

Lucky for me, this recipe required very little milk, as we are currently running out almost every other day due to my brother's constant eating, and so there was only just enough for the pancakes and a few cups of tea and coffee.

Sadly, they didn't last long enough for me to take many pictures, as they were quickly snatched away by eager hands; I was lucky to even get one! However, I did manage to get a few pictures, so you can get the picture (haha witty me! ... never mind)

So, all that is left for me to do here is give you the recipe and wish you all a wonderful holiday, whatever you may be celebrating, a fantastic new year, and I hope that you join in with all the festivities!

American Pancakes

Bare Necessities
2 Medium Eggs
150ml/1/2cup and 2tbsp Milk
50g Butter (salted is best, but if you're using unsalted butter, just add a pinch or two of salt to the batter)
110g/just over 1cup Plain Flour
10g Caster Sugar
2tsp Baking Powder

1. Slowly melt the butter. Once melted, add the milk whilst still keeping it on a low heat, then leave to butter-milk mixture to cool.
2. Separate the eggs.
3. Beat the yolks and then add the milk and butter.
4. Combine the yolk mixture with the flour, sugar and baking powder and mix until a smooth batter.
5. Whisk the egg whites to a soft peak and then gently fold in with the batter.
6. Melt a tiny bit of butter on a frying pan. (if you are using a non-stick pan then I would leave this step out as there is already enough butter in the batter.)
7. Fry the batter in small amounts at a time, I could fit about three at a time on my frying pan without them joining together.
8. Serve up with your favourite topping and enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Chocolate Roulade

Finally! The Christmas holidays are in full swing! I am thoroughly enjoying my lie-ins, and, with all my new found festive energy, I thought I'd tackle a recipe that I've only done once before...and change it.

I originally got this recipe from my cooking teacher at school. It worked, yes, but it did have a few flaws to it. For one, the amount of cream it told you to whip up was absurd. It was practically impossible to roll up this cake with so much cream on the inside, and when I tried to, most of it came squirting out on either side! Being one who despises wasting food, I neatly spread it on the outside to cover up the large crack that was processing along the side due to the excess cream on the inside.

Nevertheless, though rich, it was absolutely delicious, so I have made a few tweaks to the recipe and presented to to all you out there who are less persistent but love chocolaty, creamy yumminess.

Ok, so even the second time, it didn't turn out a work of art, but hey! it tasted good, so who cares?

Warning: this recipe is not for those who are "watching their weight" or "slimming to get into that perfect party dress for Christmas, even though they'll probably put it all back on again in Christmas lunch alone". So yeah. Oh, and make sure that when you tuck into your first slice, someone is there to stop you from devouring your fifth slice, for the sake of your waistline. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Chocolate Roulade

Bare Necessities

170g Plain Chocolate
3tbsp Water
5 Eggs
170g/ 3/4cups Caster Sugar
a handful Icing Sugar
300ml Double Cream

1. Pre-heat the oven to 165C(Fan)/200C(Electric)/gas mark 4.
2. Line a 9x13" tin(rough measurements so you can go a bit off but preferably not too much).
3. Break up the chocolate and put it in a small NOT TOO HEAVY bowl and then put the bowl in a saucepan half filled with water. If, when you put the bowl in the pan, the water is too close to the edge for comfort, just pour some water out.
4. Put it on a low heat and leave the chocolate to melt. Stir occasionally to prevent it from burning. Once the chocolate has melted, take the bowl out of the water and leave on a tea towel to cool.
5. Meanwhile, Separate the eggs.
6. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until it is pale and creamy coloured.
7. Stir the cooled, melted chocolate.
8. In a separate bowl, beat up the egg whites to a soft peak.
9. Gently fold in the whites with the yolk, sugar and chocolate mixture.
10. Pour the mixture into the tin and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until risen and just set. You can tell this by taking it out and giving it a light jiggle back and forth. If the mixture wobbles, put it back, but if it doesn't, it's probably ready.
11. Once it's out of the oven, LEAVE IN THE TIN and cover with a sheet of baking parchment and then a damp tea towel on top. Leave it until it's cold.
12. Once cold, turn the cake onto baking parchment that has been generously dusted with baking parchment.
13. Remove about 1cm from both long edges (you can eat those parts).
14. In one bowl, whip up 200ml of the cream until stiff but still spreadable and stir in a little icing sugar to taste.
15. In another bowl, the remaining 100ml.
16. Spread the 200ml of cream on the cake and then make a slight incision about 2cm from one of the short edges.
17. Roll up the roulade, starting at the end with the incision, using the baking parchment underneath it to help. DO NOT USE YOUR HANDS! This will not work and will end up with you having more cake on your hands than on the roulade itself. Trust me, use the paper to help you.
18. Once you have rolled up the roulade, put on a plate and then spread the remaining 100ml of whipped up cream over the exterior.
19. Pop into the fridge to serve chilled.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Rolo Brownies

Mmmmmmm I'm practically salivating at the thought of these melt-in-the-mouth pieces of chocolaty heaven goodness. Not only are these so good you'll wish you'd doubled the batch, you'll probably have to after eating so much of the mixture before you put it in the oven!

A childhood memory with an ever so slightly glorious twist added by yours truly, these are quick and easy to make, and just as quick and easy to finish!

Note: In this recipe, I didn't convert it to cups, because it is such a small measure, it would be ridiculous.

Rolo Brownies

Bare Necessities

75g Self-Raising Flour
15g Cocoa Powder
100g Butter
175g Castor Sugar
100g Plain Chocolate
2 Eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 4.
2. Grease and line an oblong tin.
3. Sift flour and cocoa powder into a bowl.
4. Put the butter and sugar into a pan and add one tablespoon of water.
5. Put on a low heat and stir until it has all melted and mixed.
6. Turn off the heat, break the chocolate into pieces, add to the pan and stir until melted and mixed.
7. Wait until the mixture has cooled enough so that you can comfortably put your hand against the side of the pan. As you've probably gathered by now, I'm impatient, so I sit the pan in a cold water bath (careful not to let any water get into the pan, obviously) and cool the mixture that way.
8. Beat in the eggs.
9. Pour the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and fold with a wooden spoon until completely mixed.
10. Pour the mixture into a tin and then press in rolos at even intervals, so that you can have one per piece.
11. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. I like my brownies to have an ever so soft centre, so I check on them about 12 mins in, if you jiggle the tray and it doesn't wobble then it's probably cooked. Also, stick a knife in the middle, if it comes out with only a tiny tiny bit of batter on then it's cooked, but if it's a lot then it's not. It takes several tries to finally find just how you like it cooked, so just go with it, making slight adjustments each time.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Egg Fried Rice

I don't know what it is about this dish that makes it so good, but since I can remember, whenever my family went to a Chinese restaurant or got a Chinese takeaway, I would always insist upon getting it. I have no particular reason for cooking this, nor do I have any breaking news to tell you, so I think this week I'll get straight to the recipe. Enjoy!

NB: I made quite a simple version in this and there are some add-ins I want to do, so I may make this again in the near (or not so near, I don't really know) future. In the mean-time, feel free to experiment with it and tell me how it goes!

Egg Fried Rice.

Bare Necessities:

1/2 cup Uncooked Basmati Rice (per person)
1-3 Eggs (depending on the size, your preference and also how many people you are cooking for)
a dash Soy Sauce
1/8-1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1 clove Garlic

1. Cook the rice. The amount of water needed and the cooking time will vary depending on many things, so just check the back of the packet first.

2. Beat the eggs.

3. Fry the rice in oil with the garlic and some salt and pepper if you wish. If it isn't making those sizzling sounds after a few minutes, add a dash more oil and turn up the heat. Remember to keep moving the rice around so that it doesn't burn!

4. Clear a space in the frying pan and scramble the eggs

5. Mix the scrambled eggs into the rice.

6. Add soy sauce to taste and serve warm.