Sunday, February 7, 2010

Empower Your Taste Buds!

I decided to make pancakes today. Apple pancakes to be exact. I can't stop baking these days. I find the whole process of baking very therapeutic.

 
 I love watching the different colours and textures in a bowl, like sparkly sugar with exotic cinnamon.

I love how deep the green colour is in an apple. Unfortunately I have an allergy towards raw apples, but in this recipe the apples will be cooked, so I will be fine!

 
And beating in eggs and how pure milk looks, even when you add an egg, they look like a perfect marriage.
And I love to mix the batter - I find it so relaxing!

So how did the pancakes turn out? 

I'll let you have a look:


While I was making the second one I had to have a taste of the first one that was cooling off on a plate on paper towels to soak the excess butter. And when I tasted it I couldn't believe my taste buds - they were AMAZING!
It's optional to add syrup to the pancakes but I found it too much so I only put it on a few pancakes. 

So how do you make the pancakes? It's quite easy!

Ingredients
(makes 18 pancakes to serve 4-6)
200g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
200ml milk
2 apples, peeled and grated
1 tsp butter

Maple syrup butter:
85g butter, softened
3 tbsp maple syrup

Method
1. Mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Beat the egg and the milk together and pour into the well. Using a wooden spoon, gently incorporate the dry ingredients into the liquid until well combined, then stir in the grated apples.

2. Heat the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan over low heat until melted and bubbling. Add tablespoons of the pancake mixture to form 9cm circles. Cook each pancake for about 1 minute, until it starts to bubble lightly on the top and looks set, then flip it over and cook the other side for 30 seconds, or until cooked through. The pancakes should be golden brown, if not, increase the heat a little. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat the process until all of the pancake mixture has been used up (it is not necessary to add extra butter).

3. To make the maple syrup butter, melt the butter with the maple syrup in a pan over low heat and stir until combined. To serve, place the pancakes on serving dishes and spoon over the flavoured butter. Serve warm.


And as the French say Bon Appetite, the Egyptians say, Bel Hana Wel Shefa!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who's Coconut Crazy?


I know I am! That's why I tried out the Coconut Cake from the Times Newspaper. I was actually surprised they had spelling mistakes/typos on their recipe! So the version below is hopefully error free.

And the picture below is how it turned out! Delicious with a glass of milk!


Ingredients
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 175 g butter, cut into cubes
  • 175 g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50 g sweetened tenderised coconut or desiccated coconut
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes 

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line a tin with the non-stick baking parchment or butter a cake tin.
  • Put the flour, baking powder, butter, sugar, eggs, coconut and lime zest and juice into a large bowl and mix together with an electric whisk. Start off slowly, and then gradually increase the speed. If you haven't got a mixer, put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.
  • Pour the mixture into a prepared tin and bake for 45-55 minutes or until skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
 

  • This wasn't in the recipe - but I added ready-made vanilla buttercream icing (which I bought at the superstore) on the cake when it was completely cool - then I added a generous amount of desiccated coconut.
And as the French say Bon Appetite, the Egyptians say, Bel Hana Wel Shefa!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cranberrries are Good For You - So Don't Feel Guilty Baking This!

I'm still going through the recipes of the baking book I recently bought. Today I decided to make the Cranberry Muffins! I bought Cranberries in a packet at the supermarket's baking aisle just for this occasion. And it's quite simple to make!

I first melted five and a half tablespoons of softened margarine. Because it was in the fridge I melted it on low heat until it was a liquid. I then moved it to a bowl, ready to be mixed with the rest of the ingredients. 


 I then added 100grams of caster sugar to the softened butter.


Beat them until the mixture became soft and light. 


Next I added 1 large egg to the butter and sugar. Beat it lightly until mixed in completely. Then add 2 tablespoons of milk to the mixture.


I then added 100grams of self-raising flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the mixture.


This is what the mixture looks like after all the ingredients are added. But there's still one vital component left to add!


 
      The Cranberries!!!



 
Spoon the mixture in about three-quarters of the way, because it will rise! Put it in a preheated oven of 180C and leave for 30 minutes. 


                             




















Take out of the oven after 30 minutes or when golden brown.



                          














And this is the final result!

A very nice recipe and cranberries are good for you, so you don't feel quite guilty for eating the muffins!

However, what I don't understand is although it says it makes 14 cupcakes/muffins, it only made 8. I'm not sure why this is, because I followed the measurements exactly. 

Here's a recap of the recipe and method:

Ingredients

(Makes 14)

5 1/2 tbsp butter or soft margarine, softened
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g cranberries 

Method

1. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg, then stir in the milk. Sift in the flour and baking powder and, using a large spoon, fold them into the mixture. Gently fold in the cranberries. Spoon in the mixture into the paper cases.
2. Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven, 180C/350F, for 15-20 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

And as the French say Bon Appetite, the Egyptian say, Bel Hana Wel Shefa!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Sun is Shining.. the Sky is Clear.. and I'm Making Tiramisu !

It's amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do to you! It inspires you and gives you energy to do wonderful things! The wonderful thing I did last week was Tiramisu. It was a beautiful day. Gorgeous fluffy clouds, silky blue skies and a lovely cool breeze. I opened the kitchen door and let the backyard sunshine do it's wonders!




Before I made my first Tiramisu cake, I would always imagine it to be the complicated Italian cake that only gourmet chefs are capable of making! But it turned out to be "a piece of cake"!!
To be honest, this is my mother's recipe. The original recipe's main ingredient was Mascarpone cheese. But my mother uses whipping cream instead.



Although this blog is all about baking, Tiramisu has nothing to do with that! The cake layer is actually Ladyfinger biscuits. You can find them at any supermarket. They come in packs.
With no baking involved.. this cake is really easy to make.




You start off by by making the custard, it needs time to cool off. It was the most boring part. I had to keep stirring the eggs, they would turn to sweet omelet if I didn't!!
I was stirring the eggs in a bowl placed on top of a larg pot with boiling water inside, it was really high! So you can imagine how I looked like, with my arm stretched over my head like a little girl helping mommy in the kitchen. The eggs laughed at me!!! So I thought why not stand on a chair? It made it so much easier!! *
Take that eggs!!! mwahahahah!!*


Ooohh I'm in heaven!!
Look at em'!! All neat and ladylike!!!


Now comes the best part!! Lining the ladyfingers in the glass pyrex, with a layer of custard and whipping cream.. *what whipping cream?? Opppss!!! I'm sorry!!* (licks fingers and smiles in guilt)



Ingredients

4 tbs instant coffee
4 cups boiling water
4 tbs sugar

6 large eggs (egg yoke only)
1 cup sugar
1 and a half tsp Irish cream flavoring (or syrup)

3 tsp vanilla
1.5 liters of heavy whipping cream
Half a cup cocoa powder
ladyfingers!



Method

1- In a medium bowl, add four tbs of instant coffee and four tbs of sugar, add boiling water, mix and leave to cool.

2- With an electric beater, whip the cream until its thick yet still smooth. Place in refrigerator t
o cool.

3- In a medium stainless steal bowl, separate egg yoke from egg whites
, add two cups of sugar to the egg yoke and beat with a fork. Add vanilla and Irish cream flavoring.

4- Place water in a large pot, and bring to boil. When water starts boiling, place the stainless steal bowl with egg yoke on top. Reduce heat to medium and make sure boiling water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl.
Keep stirring eggs and sugar for about ten minutes, or until mixture is thick and sticky.

It is really important that you keep stirring, or your eggs would turn into an omelet!

5- When custard is completely cooled down, mix it in with the whipping cream. Be careful when mixing, you want your whipping cream nice and fluffy.


6- In a shallow bowl, pour some of the coffee. Bring your ladyfingers and dip them in the coffee. Make sure not to soak them, or your cake would turn out really mushy and pudding-like.

7- Place your ladyfingers side-by-side in your glass pyrex. Now you have your first layer. With a large spoon, add as much whipping cream and custard as you can, and make it even. You can make up to four layers of ladyfingers and whipping cream, depends on the size of your pyrex and how much ladyfingers and whipping cream you have. I made three layers.

8- Leave in fridge overnight. Before serving, sift cocoa powder on top of cake until it is completely covered.

And there you have it!! Enjoy!!

As the Syrians say.. sahteen w hana!







All photos by Mariam

Chocolaty Hen Party!

My dear friend was getting married by the end of the year and I was to host her hen party. And what is a hostess without a cake?

Since it would be a all-girls night, I decided to make what girls love - a chocolate cake! But this chocolate cake is a rich, deep chocolate cake that sends you to chocolate heaven!

It's a recipe from Angela Nilsen and I found it on the BBC Good Food website. I've made it twice already and each time it sends everyone's taste-buds through the roof!

Just a note - if you are intolerant or sensitive to coffee, you don't have to put that in, just omit it and the cake will do nicely without it. There's also Buttermilk in the recipe. I couldn't find it in the supermarkets so I just omitted that too and the cake turned out fine. So it's up to you! What I've learnt is that you can deviate away from the recipe and still come out with a pretty good cake!

        Photograph by Unique Muslimah

And this is how it turned out! Because of the moisture it created a delicious fudge texture which was a bonus for our hen night! The cake was a huge success- and I was quite happy about it because it was my first try at chocolate cake!

So what is the recipe? I'm sure you're dying to get your hands on it now!

Ingredients

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate , about 60% cocoa solids
  • 200g butter , cut in pieces
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • 1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml buttermilk (5 tbsp)

Method
  1. Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break the chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Tip in the butter, then mix the coffee granules into 125ml/4fl oz cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted - don't overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.
  2. While the chocolate is melting, mix the two flours, bicarbonate of soda, sugars and cocoa in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the buttermilk.
  3. Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes - if you push a skewer in the center it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don't worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don't worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  

And as the French say Bon Appetite, the Egyptians say, Bel Hana Wel Shefa!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday Muffins
















I bought this book the other day, filled with delicious recipes of Muffins and cakes. Since I'm quite new to baking I need a book to guide me to making the perfect muffin. I must say, this book is very good at doing that.





















As I flipped through the gorgeous photographs of Muffin recipes I decided to make the chocolate one. I have to admit, the first time I made a cupcake, I followed a different recipe book which didn't turn out very well. The cupcakes caved in or overflowed, which wasn't really ideal. The next time I made cupcakes I didn't know how much mixture to put in the cupcake- since I knew it was going to rise due to the self-raising flour! The book didn't indicate how much I should put it and so I googled it and didn't really get a consensus either. The new book (pictured above) thankfully tells you to put in three quarters of the mixture in the cupcake case. As I carefully did this, I hoped I was doing it right!











 










Half an hour later I opened the beeping oven, as I had put the timer on, always a wise thing to do if you tend to forget you're baking something, I jumped up with glee! They looked like muffins! They didn't cave in or overflow - they were just right! Excited as I was, I didn't want to jinx my muffins, so I left them in for another five minutes. When I took them out finally, this is what they looked like. Obedient little muffins that had made it into the big muffin world!






















I couldn't contain my excitement - I couldn't let them cool on the cooling rack - I took out each one and put them on a plate, making them ready for their photography shoot. They were very good models.















But I have to say, the aroma making its way around the room made me woozy with hunger - I just needed a bite! They smelt so good! Just a quick photograph in my light box and on my way to the kitchen again to lay them out nicely for my family to share with me.




















Look at the texture inside that muffin! Deliciously crunchy on the outside, soft and light on the inside with a touch of chocolate chips inside to add to the texture.

I must admit, I am very proud of my Monday Muffin adventure! There's not a lot left and I've got dibs on the last two and to go with it will be a nice, cold glass of milk.

Would you like to make this Muffin? Below is the recipe!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients

8 tbsp soft margarine
100g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
2 large eggs
2 tbsp coca powder
25g plain chocolate, melted


Method

1. Put 12 paper baking cases in a muffin pan.

2. Put the margarine, sugar, flour, eggs and cocoa in a large bowl, beat together until just smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, filling them three-quarters full.

3. Bake the muffins in a preheated oven, 180C/350F, for 15-30 minutes or until springy to the touch. Prod a knife inside and if it comes out clean it's done. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

And as the French say Bon Appetite, the Egyptians say Bel Hana Wel Shefa!





All Photographs by Unique
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