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Archive for 2010

Michel Roux’s Shortcrust (Flan) Pastry

Posted 18 December 2010 by
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Shortcrust pastry is really quick and easy to make. Often, it’s simply made of plain flour, butter or lard, water and a pinch of salt. The shortcrust recipe I’m using is for flan pastry, otherwise known as pâte à foncer, from Michel Roux’s Pastry. It has the addition of an egg, and happily it’s still very quick and easy to make. Pâte à foncer is one of Michel’s basic shortcrust pastry recipes in the book, the other being pâte brisée. The flan pastry, he says, is crispier and less delicate.

Shortcrust flan pastry lining a pie dish.

My shortcrust flan pastry lining a pie dish.

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A Granary Loaf by Any Other Name…

Posted 17 December 2010 by
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I learned something new today. I learned that “granary” is not a type of flour; “granary” is a trade name owned by Hovis. Who’d have thought? Granary flour is made with malted wheat flakes. Granary bread has a lovely nutty flavour, and a denser texture than white bread, but lighter than wholewheat. This recipe uses roughly 2/3 white flour and 1/3 malted wheat flour, making an even lighter loaf, but with the more interesting texture and flavour of a granary loaf. Closeup of loaf made with white and malted wheat flour. Continue reading “A Granary Loaf by Any Other Name…”…

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Posted 15 December 2010 by
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I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered how to make your own chocolate syrup… I can’t say I had until recently. It’s the kind of product that people don’t think twice about buying ready-made. This recipe for homemade syrup is so quick and easy though, and it allows you to cut out all the extra unwanted chemical ingredients there are in commercial products. You can use the syrup in other recipes, as a chocolate sauce on ice-cream, or to make chocolate milk!

Jar of homemade chocolate syrup with a glass of chocolate milk

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Chocolate Brownies with Dulce de Leche and Maya Gold Chocolate

Posted 14 December 2010 by
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Dulce de leche chocolate brownies are somewhat of a departure from the classic chocolate brownie, and a decadent one at that. Dulce de leche is not something well known in the UK, at least not under that name, although it is slowly gaining popularity. It is a “milk caramel”, popular in the US and Latin America, and is similar to the French confiture de lait. Although it’s not a household word here, if you’ve ever boiled up a tin of sweetened condensed milk to get caramel, you’ve pretty much made dulce de leche.

Jar of dulce de leche

It is gradually creeping onto British menus, and when I caught sight of a jar in my local gourmet (ish) supermarket, I made a quick impulse-buy. I then had to quickly find a recipe to use it up, as the temptation to just eat it out of the jar is fairly high! This recipe for dulce de leche brownies came from David Lebovitz.

Dulce de leche chocolate brownies.

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Cheddar Cheese Loaf

Posted 13 December 2010 by
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This tasty cheese bread includes a good dose of mature cheddar cheese. I like cheddar as mature as you can get, so strong that it’s almost gritty in texture. For this loaf though, you could use whatever cheese you are partial to. I cobbled this bread recipe together after looking at several recipes in books as well as online, like this one for cheese batter bread from Tastes Like Home.

Closeup of cheddar cheese bread

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Lemon Curd

Posted 9 December 2010 by
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How can you not love lemon curd? It’s tangy, sweet, fruity, creamy — it’s like summer in a jar. I was so excited to make homemade lemon curd for the first time and, although it seems like it might be complicated, it was really quite easy. There are, of course, many recipe variations out there, with different proportions of lemon, sugar and eggs. Some (yes you, Delia), include cornflour, which seems a bit bizarre to me. I used The Pink Whisk’s recipe for Super Zingy Lemon Curd.

A teaspoonful of yellow homemade lemon curd

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Christmas Bulb Earrings

Posted 9 December 2010 by
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It’ll soon be Christmas and all that, so it’s about time I made some Christmas earrings. I recently got hold of these lovely acrylic Christmas bulb / fairy light pendants and had to turn them into earrings. They reflect the light so well they look like they’re glowing.

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Crunchy Shortbead

Posted 9 December 2010 by
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This was not supposed to be crunchy shortbread, just shortbread. It didn’t exactly work out as planned though and now, not only am I looking for the perfect brownie, but I am also on a quest to find the perfect shortbread. This batch actually worked ok, it tasted very nice, and if you like your shortbread crunchy and light, this recipe is great. For me though, it just didn’t have the right texture. It’s not like I didn’t do my research. I trawled the Internet and ended up at Felicity Cloake’s excellent Guardian blog (which I love; she’s always looking for the perfect way to make things!) Although I didn’t go with her final recipe, from her article I got to Sue Lawrence’s recipe for petticoat tails, which seemed to be what I was looking for. Alas, no.

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White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Posted 9 December 2010 by
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These cookies are pretty much what you’d expect from their name. They don’t look gourmet, but distinctly homemade, whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to you!

White chocolate chunk cookie

You could use chocolate chips, but I thought it would be more indulgent to use nice big chunks of chocolate. The main flavour comes from the chocolate, so you  might as well go for good quality. I used Green & Blacks.

Yum

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Nutmeg, Cream Cheese and White Chocolate Palmiers

Posted 8 December 2010 by
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These nutmeg, cream cheese and white chocolate palmiers were inspired by these palmiers from Cookin’ Canuck. I’ve never made palmiers before although I’ve wanted to for a while. They looked easy to make and they were really, although I might need a bit of practise at rolling the puff pastry up into the palmier shape. My finished specimens lacked visual finesse, but were very tasty. They weren’t as chocolatey as I imagined; the main flavours are the cream cheese and nutmeg.

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