Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Felafel burgers

Another BBC Good Food recipe. I'd possibly try this again but there are so many things to change I should really look for another recipe!
  • Not enough texture - blend for less time, or maybe mash.
  • Not enough oomph to the flavour - more cumin, coriander. I used Ras-el-hanout instead of harissa, so if I did that again I would (a) use more and (b) add something else for heat.
  • Too oniony - chop the onion more finely first, and use only half.
  • Too soft (crispy outside, bleh middle, hard to flip). I added water in an attempt to get the chick peas to do something other than plaster the wall of the food processor - that was a bad move.
Or I suppose I could just buy a mix ;)

Monday, 3 August 2009

Great marinade for pork

Picked up some nice pork fillet from the butcher last week, and fancied it marinaded so did a bit of a web search. This BBC recipe did the job from storecupboard ingredients. Very tasty, not too salty, slight curryish tang from the turmeric and cumin. After browning it in the pan and transferring to the oven, I used the same pan to braise some shredded savoy cabbage, adding black pepper, and we had some roast potatoes with it. An excellent easy dish.

Not such a success...

I had some bananas and butter to use up and was tempted by this "lighter" banana cake (as opposed to the usual banana bread). Unfortunately, it came out rather squidgy, and I don't think I'll bother making it again.

I followed the instructions as best I could (excellent step by step photos on the recipe), apart from not having a stand mixer (how big a kitchen do these people have?). I even included the stated amount of sugar, despite the fact that my instinct with any American recipe is to halve it. I didn't have 3 cups of plain flour, but subbed in one of self raising and reduced the baking powder/soda by a third. Was that where I went wrong?

The recipe said to bake in "three round pans". I only have one, so I baked it in two square ones instead. There wasn't a huge amount of batter (they must have been intending three very small tins) but I figured they would rise. They didn't rise much, but at the end of the baking time the skewer test indicated they were done, so I pulled them out, but they then sank while they cooled.

I cut the uneven bits off, sandwiched them together with some spare apricot jam, and there you have it. Banana squidge. Tastes OK, but less than great texture-wise. Cross that one off the list, I can't bothered faffing to find out where it went wrong.

[Edit] The cake was so squidgy it went mouldy in under a week. Big-time fuzzy mouldy. The birds liked it though!

Monday, 20 July 2009

BBQ afters

Afters: I thought of doing trusty glamorous fairy cakes with a chocolate topping, and while searching for ganache I found this. So I made two-tone cupcakes with the cake mixes, topped with ganache and a cherry. Based on experience I would modify the recipe a bit as follows:

1) use the traditional mixing method of creaming butter/sugar, mixing in the eggs and milk until smooth, then combining the flour, before proceeding to split the mixture and add the chocolate.

2) do not melt white chocolate in the microwave! Use better quality (Green & Black's?) and melt gently over simmering water.

3) use a lighter chocolate for the ganache, e.g. Green & Black's "darker" milk chocolate, or something else with less than 70% cocoa.

To make the two-tone cupcakes I just dolloped a good spoonful of each mixture into a muffin case, in a tin. One on top of the other, side by side, however it goes. You could marble it with a spoon too. Baking was definitely on the longer side, 25 mins. Lower and slower might help stop them sinking too.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Barbecue with friends

My contribution to mains: a roasted vegetable salad.

I started with this and made a few changes. OK, a lot of changes! Final recipe was:

2 medium-large butternut squashes, peeled, deseeded, cubed (1-1.5cm)
1 red onion, roughly chopped
3 long sweet red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 handfuls rocket
8 rashers streaky bacon
1 pack stilton

5 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1-2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Coat the chopped squash in oil and roast slowly (about 1hr at 150-170C) until soft, sweet but not too charred.
Roast the pepper and onion alongside for the last 20-30 mins.

Tip into a bowl with the combined dressing ingredients and leave to absorb while the veg cools.

Grill the bacon until crispy, and cut into strips.
Chop/crumble the stilton.

Add the stilton and bacon and rocket to the dressed vegetables, and toss gently. If you are serving this to vegetarians, just put the bacon (and cheese, if non-vegetarian) in separate bowls for people to add.

Why not?

I can never remember what I cooked when and how I tweaked the recipe. This will help!

Not many photos so far, but will try and remedy that as I go.