Posted in Baking, travels

Cheese Bounty Part 1: Maas Lander

What a week it has been and we are only halfway through. Anyway, this post as the title suggests relates to cheese so if that isn’t your jam please ignore. 🙂

Amsterdam is one of the cheese hubs of the world. I recently acquired some cheese bounty. So here I will try to cover them as best as I can. Dutch cheeses like Edam and Gouda that are beloved across the globe have different variations some regional, some differ in the way they are made. They have siblings if you will. Maas Lander is one such sibling of Gouda.

Maas Lander is a type of Dutch cheese. It is a less salty, semi-hard type of Gouda. Regular Gouda is immersed in brine for a longer period of time resulting in a saltier cheese with a longer aging time as well. Maas Lander on the other hand, is aged for only 1-10 months! It is a wonderful cheese that has a slight punch but isn’t super aggressive. It would do good in a grilled cheese with say some pepper or mac and cheese or on top of an omellette.

My dad traveled to Amsterdam recently and it is sort of a tradition in our house to get cheese from there. Now an important point to note here is that my father does not eat or like cheese, he does like buying it for us though since the rest of us love it. Usually he gets some mature Gouda and Edam recommended by the seller. This time I decided to do some research and pick some out for myself, I am so glad I did! My dad sweetly found each and every one with ease. How awesome is that?! 🙂

Let’s explore some regional delicacies together and maybe it’ll lead to one of you guys trying ‘em out.

Please bare with me on the photography, I am still learning. Thank you! OH, and have a great day!!

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Maas Lander in an Omelette.
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Posted in Baking

Monkey Bread

Simple recipe for a yummy rainy day treat. Clearly my second attempt didn’t retain its shape but it is really good. These go well with hot chocolate, coffee and ice-cream!

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Recipe taken from David Lebovitz’s site.


Ingredients

For the bread
180 g milk
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
280 g flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
For the sauce
115 g unsalted butter, melted
90 g light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Method

1. To make the dough, combine the milk, sugar or honey, and yeast.  Let sit a few minutes until it starts to bubble a bit. Add the flour and salt and mix the dough until it just starts to come together. When it is still rough looking, add the butter and egg yolk. Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes, until it comes together and is relatively smooth, but still slightly sticky.
2. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in a warm place, which will take about 2 hours.
3. Butter an 8-inch pan with sides at least 2 inches high. On a lightly floured counter, stretch the dough until it’s a 12″x4″ rectangle. (30x10cm). Use a pizza wheel to cut the dough lengthwise into four strips, then cut the dough vertically so you’ve got a total of 32 pieces. Have the melted butter in one bowl, and the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in another.
4. Roll the dough pieces into rounds. Dip each into the melted butter, shaking off the excess, roll it in the sugar mixture, then place it in the prepared cake pan, leaving some space between them. Don’t crowd them in the pan as they need room to rise, again. Continue with all the pieces of the dough, stacking them up when the bottom is completed. Reserve the remaining sugar and butter.
5. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. About 15 minutes before they are fully risen, preheat the oven to 180ºC.
6. Reheat the remaining butter mix and pour the mixture over the dough in the pan. Bake the monkey bread until the top is golden brown. If using brown sugar, it will take about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes, then run a knife around the outer edge of the bread and invert on a serving plate.

Posted in Baking

Butter Pecan Cookies

Pecans in my part of the world are an exotic nut and used to be hard to find. If you are based in South America/USA/Canada (that part of the world), Pecans will most likely be a daily item since they are grown in/around those regions. So, this was my first time baking with Pecans.

I love the subtle but strong earthy flavour Pecans bring to the table. Yes, I know I used subtle and strong together but if you are a Pecan fan (or nuts in general actually especially hazelnuts and walnuts) you know what I mean! These cookies are simple in terms of their flavour profile as well as method of preparation. I won’t do my normal run through with this one but you can scroll down for the recipe.  🙂

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If you like some extra sugar in your cookies, then you can just roll them in castor sugar once baked. That also makes them look prettier. I was going for more of a home-made that makes you feel warm inside vibe than a quaint cafe that you love but is more of a special treat than an everyday thing.
I don’t know if that sentence made sense at all, it did in my head anyway.

I hope you enjoy these cookies. Have fantastic weekend everyone! Hug someone close to you and treat yourself!  ♥


Butter Pecan Cookies 

Ingredients:

Pecans 100 g
Butter 120 g, cubed
Castor sugar 70 g
Flour 130 g
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Toast your Pecan in the hot oven for 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Slowly, mix in the flour until just combined. Fold in the Pecans.
  4. Roll your dough (might be a little sticky) into a log.
  5. Chop into 12 pieces and roll in some castor sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Posted in Baking, garden

Lemon Cupcakes with Basil Frosting

I Love Lemons/ Limes. I have been growing Basil and been wanting to use it for baking for years. I finally got the chance to use some basil in this frosting along with these limes that someone got for me.
I froze them because I wanted to save them for a special recipe and it was worth it. I actually only used a quarter of a lime because they are as big as my hand.

The next time I make these will definitely be with candied Basil leaves! Now, if I can pull that off I will be impressed. 🙂 I implore you to try this recipe for yourself and give me feedback.

Let’s start with the frosting:

Warm up the cream with basil leaves for 10- 15 minutes. Make sure not to burn the cream. Keep stirring the cream. After 15 minutes, take off the heat and allow to cool. Whisk in the cream cheese + sugar and refrigerate till the cupcakes are done.

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Infusing Basil into the cream

Look at these babies! Frozen limes are easier to use than regular limes and a lot prettier because of the condensation/ de-condensation. You just grate the limes and bam! (Don’t grate the pith, cut around the pith)

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For the cupcakes:

In a glass mix the milk, lime juice and lime zest.

Mix together the butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and salt. The next step is to add in the flour and the baking powder.

Pour into the cupcake cases and bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

 

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RECIPE

Cupcakes:

210 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
115 g butter, melted
170 g castor sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp lime zest
56 ml lime juice
112 ml milk
Frosting:

400 ml whipping cream
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
120 g cream cheese
50 g sugar

DIRECTIONS:

For the cupcakes: In a glass mix the milk, lime juice and lime zest.

Mix together the butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and salt. The next step is to add in the flour and the baking powder.

Pour into the cupcake cases and bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting. Garnish with a Basil leaf.

For the frosting : Warm up the cream with basil leaves for 10- 15 minutes. Make sure not to burn the cream. Keep stirring the cream. After 15 minutes, take off the heat and allow to cool. Whisk in the cream cheese + sugar and refrigerate till the cupcakes are done.

Posted in Baking

Baked Beetroot Chips

Beetroot. The root vegetable that stains like no other. It is a nutritious vegetable that can be consumed in many ways. Some juice it, some eat it raw in salads, some grill it.
It also has a long history in baking, the old way of making the infamous red velvet was to add steamed and mashed beetroot in the chocolate mix to give the red colour.

We are all looking for healthy snacks, I offer beetroot chips as a colourful candidate. I hand ground the spice mix for this (which took me about 10 minutes). You can do a simple salt and pepper mix as well. I wanted to something spicy

 

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so, here’s my mix:
1 tbsp of dried birds eye chili
2 tbsp of white pepper corns
2 tsp of coarse sea salt
2 tsp of lemon juice

Use 5 medium sized Beets for this.

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Look at the colour! ♥♥♥

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Start by slicing the beetroot into thin slices using a slicer.
Toss the slices around in a bowl with a slash of olive oil.
Pour your spice mix in and toss again. Make sure your slices are coated.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 180 C.

Posted in Baking

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls made uber-popular by Cinnabon. If cinnamon rolls ran a race against cake, ice-cream and short-crust pastry. Well, it would loose because cake and ice-cream HELLO?! but the point is they are great. You can have em warm or cold, with frosting or without. This was my first time making them and they turned out great. Soft and moist and appropriately cinnamon-y without being too sweet.

The only thing I would change is next time I would make sure the rolls are even in size ’cause I had 2 huge rolls, 2 medium sized ones and 2 small ones.

Another good thing about this recipe is you don’t necessarily have to make cinnamon rolls with it, you can make a pecan and chocolate filling or a fruit filling or even a savoury filling. The possibilities are endless!

Sample fillings: Mash some roasted tomatoes together with some salt and pepper and some sharp cheddar. You have pizza rolls my friends!

2. Take some unsweetened cocoa powder and chopped pecans and you have pecan rolls.

Now, let’s start with the dough. As you know I prefer to knead/beat/whip with a whisk by hand and not a stand mixer. Whether you are using a stand mixer or your hands this dough won’t take long to make.

Start out with the milk, heat in the microwave for 30 sec or in a saucepan till luke-warm. Take off the heat and gently whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover and leave to proof for 5-10 min.

Now add in the butter and don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t mix properly, its going to be chunky. Mix in the eggs one by one until combined. Slowly mix in the salt and flour, mixing until a soft dough forms. Knead this dough on a lightly floured surface for about a minute and roll it into a ball. Leave to rise in a covered bowl for 1-2 hours in a warm environment.

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Pre-rise
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Post-rise

 

 

 

I think the difference is clearly visible! Once your dough has risen properly, turn it onto a floured surface and roll it to roughly a cm thick and and even-ish rectangle.

The filling is pretty easy just toss the cinnamon and sugar together. Make sure the butter is of a spreadable consistency. (I only had to leave it out for 20 minutes and it was perfect- it was 33° C). Spread the butter generously on the dough and sprinkle your cinnamon sugar on the dough. Again, please be generous or else you’ll have just dough and no cinnamon.

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The next step is to roll up the dough into a log and cut into EVEN slices. As you can see I did not cut evenly. Put this rolls into a greased baking tray, cover them and leave to rise for 2 hours. I popped em in the fridge over night.IMG_20170421_210326211

In the morning I left them out (covered) for another hour and baked them for 30-35 minutes at 200 C. I sprinkled some extra cinnamon sugar on top because I didn’t want to make frosting and why the hell not?!

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Enjoy this beautiful day, where-ever in the world you maybe be!


Cinnamon Rolls Recipe:

Ingredients:
DOUGH
• 240 ml Milk
• 135 g Castor Sugar
• 1 and 1/2 tbsp (14 g) Active Dry Yeast
• 115 g Butter, at room temperature
• 2 Eggs, at room temperature
• 1/2 tsp Salt
• 558 g Flour, plus more for dusting/rolling

FILLING
• 90 g Butter, softened
• 100 g Castor Sugar
• 1 and 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon Powder

Directions:
1. Make the dough: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until lukewarm. Pour the warm milk into a bowl with a spoon stir in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. This is called proofing your yeast. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast.
2. Slowly beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t be alarmed if it stays in pieces. Gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, mix until a soft and supple dough forms.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1.5 – 2 hours.
4. Butter the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 10×16 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick, even at the corners.
5. For the filling: Spread the softened butter all over the dough. In a small bowl, toss the cinnamon and sugar together until combined and then sprinkle evenly over the dough.
6. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 16 inch long log. If some filling spills out, that’s ok just sprinkle it on top of the rolls. Cut into 8 large rolls (about 2 inches in width each).
7. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan. Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, allow to rise until the rolls are doubled in size, about 2 hours. OR stick in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
8. If the rolls rose overnight in the fridge, remove rolls from the refrigerator and let rise in a warm place just as you did earlier until they are puffy, about 1-2 hours..
9. After the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 191°C. Bake for about 30 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Posted in Baking

Tiramisu

What do you we love ?

Tiramisu, Tiramisu, Tiramisu.

Okay, now that I got that outta my system let’s talk about it –

Tiramisu is a pretty easy dish to love and master, at least as long as you can whip eggs properly. The dish relies on your egg whipping ability, of course the flavor profiles of the coffee and rum play a big role BUT if you under-whip the eggs the tiramisu will not be good.

Components for a good Tiramisu –

1. A nice strong and dark coffee mixed with some Dark Rum or Cognac. (I only used Rum)

2. Nicely whipped Egg whites.

My tips for whipping stiff peaks by HAND would be to always use a steel or glass bowl. It should be very clean, even small amounts of fat can curdle the egg whites. You can chill the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes, just make sure to wipe the bowl before adding in the whites.

See, it’s that simple! When you combine these components with light and airy sponge fingers, some sugar and creamy mascarpone, you get a lovely creamy light layered dessert.

Side note: I ate 3 sponge fingers just making this. They are delicious even without the rest!

Side note 2 : Whipping stiff peaks is definitely an arm workout.

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Final Stage

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The end result was a smoky dessert that was perfectly light and creamy as it was dark in the coffee tones with a slight alcohol buzz (tastewise).

Have a great day everyone! 🙂

 


TIRAMISU

125 ml espresso, at room temperature

4 tablespoons dark rum

pinch of salt

2 large eggs, separated

90 g sugar

250 g mascarpone

18 x 3½-inch ladyfingers

30 g unsweetend cocoa powder, for serving

METHOD : 

  1. Mix together the espresso, rum, and cognac. The mixture should taste strongly of alcohol. If not, add more until it does.
  2. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they begin to get stiff. Beat in half of the sugar until stiff.
  3. In a different bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until stiff and light-colored, about three minutes. By hand, beat in the mascarpone with a spatula or whisk, until lump-free.
  4. Fold in half of the beaten egg whites, then the remaining half, just until fully incorporated.
  5. Submerge each ladyfinger in the espresso mixture for 5-10 seconds, until completely, utterly soaked. (Dried ladyfingers will take longer to saturate than softer ones.) They should be dropping wet.
  6. Then line them in a 8″ square dish. Put a layer of the mascarpone cream. Sprinkle a generous amount of cocoa powder on top. Top with remaining  the mascarpone cream and some more cocoa powder.
  7. Cover, and refrigerate for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
Posted in Baking

Lime, Blueberry and Earl Grey Tea Cake

I am just gonna leave this here.

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 Lime, Blueberry and Earl Grey Tea Cake

Ingredients

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp heaped Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 220 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 g thick Greek yoghurt 
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda bi-carb 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest + juice of 2 lemons (1 if its a large lemon)
  • 100 g  blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease and line a 22cm x 8cm loaf tin with baking paper. Place the butter in a small saucepan over a medium low heat along with the tea leaves and stir until melted. Set aside for 20 minutes to infuse. Strain through a fine sieve and set aside.
  2. Place all the ingredients except the blueberries in a bowl and stir well to combine. Add the blueberries and mix through carefully. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out cleanly.
Posted in Baking

Spiked Lime Bars

Hi everyone I used the latest harvest of the Lime tree to make these bars with a Vodka kick. It’s quick and yummy.

Have a great day everyone!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 490 g     Flour
  • 2 tsp      Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp   Salt
  • 170 g      Butter, softened
  • 150 g      Granulated sugar
  • 3              Eggs
  • 60 ml     Absolut Vodka
  •  Juice and zest of 2 medium sized Limes

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, and grease paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the citrus zest and juice.
  4. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing just until combined. Mix in half of the combined juice. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the juice, ending with the flour. Mix just until combined.
  5. Spread evenly and smooth the top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.