Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding

One of my favourite comfort food is Bread and Butter Pudding. It has that ability to be classified as both a dessert or a snack depending on how you serve or how much you eat.

A lot of bread puddings I have the experience of buying in shops are too stodgy. They resemble more like slightly sweetened thick chewy bread. But not this one. I do love this recipe because is lighter and the ratio of the egg to milk/cream is just right. Plus the sugar is just right - not too sweet. I got this from an old ripped-off page of the BBC Good Food magazine with the recipe coming from the chef Paul Heathcote. Thanks Paul.

Bread and Butter Pudding

I know I burned some of the pudding top but believe me it's not that badly burnt. It's probably just the lighting angle of the picture. Not a problem for me because I'm partial to slightly charred food!


Bread and Butter Pudding


Bread and Butter Pudding

6-7 slices of white bread - crusts removed
65 g  [1/4 cup] butter - softened
100 g  sultanas or raisins
250 ml  [1 cup] full-cream milk
250 ml  [1 cup] double cream (heavy cream)
3 medium eggs (or 2 large eggs)
50 g  [1/4 cup] caster sugar
1 tsp  vanilla extract
25 g  icing sugar
25 g  apricot jam - warmed and sieved (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F. Grease a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish, about 2.5 inch deep.
  2. Butter the bread slices generously and cut each into 4 triangles.
  3. Arrange a layer of the bread in the prepared dish.
  4. Sprinkle the sultanas on top.
  5. Then arrange the remaining bread slices on top of this.
  6. Make the custard - mix the cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and caster sugar in a bowl.
  7. Strain the cream mixture over the bread slices and leave to soak for about 5 minutes.
  8. Put the dish in a larger roasting tin in the oven. While the oven rack (with roasting tin) is about a third out of the oven, carefully pour hot water in the roasting tin to come halfway up the side of the dish.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the custard is lightly set.
  10. Remove the dish from the roasting tin and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
  11. Preheat grill to the highest setting.
  12. Generously dust the top of the pudding with sifted icing sugar and glaze under the grill until golden brown. If it starts to puff up remove and leave to cool a little longer before returning to the grill.
    Note: It will be more efficient if you use a cooking torch to glaze the icing sugar.
  13. [Optional] Brush the top with the warmed apricot jam. Serve with clotted cream or warm custard.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Daing na Bangus

Daing Na Bangus

One of the ways Filipinos flavour and preserve fish (especially bangus or milkfish) is by marinating and drying them. One such technique is called 'daing'. By which the fish is marinated for hours and optionally dried out in the sun afterwards.

I don't have the luxury of having the delicious bangus in our neck of the woods. So I go for the nearest one available - sea bass. The one advantage of sea bass over the bangus is its got less bones. So there's less to be wary about.

It's been years since i have marinated bangus and I have forgotten that it takes several hours or overnight to make the vinegar-based marinate to permeate the fish completely. Otherwise, once you've pan-fired it, the flavour is hardly noticeable. So make sure to marinate it for a long time - I reckon at least 8 hours or overnight.

Daing Na Bangus


Daing na Bangus
(Fried Marinated Fish)

2 pieces bangus (milkfish) or other white fleshed fish like sea bass
2/3 cup  palm vinegar or any white vinegar
2 tsp  sea salt flakes
1 tsp  black pepper corns - cracked
4 cloves (or more) garlic - smashed
  1. Ask your fishmonger to butterfly or fillet your fish.
  2. Combine all the other ingredients and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  3. Put in a non-reactive container (plastic, glass, or ceramic) and marinate the fish in it for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove from marinade and drain briefly.
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Pan fry the fish about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Filipino-Style Caramel Cake

Filipino-Style Caramel Cake

It's that time of the year again for my husband's birthday. Another excuse to experiment with one of the listed cake recipes in my to-bake list. I chose a caramel cake because I know my husband's fond of caramel. So Corinne's wonderful looking Filipino-style caramel cake recipe gets taken out.

Filipino-Style Caramel Cake

It is essentially an airy chiffon cake with a pourable icing. The cake was good although I would have liked the caramel icing to be a little bit sweeter so I adjusted the recipe. And be very careful in caramelizing the sugar. I found out it burns very easily after it starts turning brown. Also, I didn't bother with cutting the cake in half horizontally and ice the middle. I thought there was not enough icing to spread around. This step is marked optional because our cake was just fine as it is.



Filipino-Style Caramel Cake

*For the Vanilla Chiffon Cake:

4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp  cream of tartar
1 cup  plus 2 Tbsp  sifted cake flour (or plain flour)
1 1/2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp  salt
3/4 cup  white sugar - divided
1/4 cup  corn or vegetable oil
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup  water
1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. Line the bottom of an ungreased 20cm/8-inch round 3-inch high pan.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until frothy.
  4. Add in half of the sugar (6 Tbsp) gradually while beating until stiff peaks form.
  5. In another bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, salt and the rest of the white sugar. Mix well.
  6. Add in the egg yolks, water and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched or a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate.
  10. [Optional] Cut the cake in half horizontally. Invert the top half onto a cake plate and spread a little icing on it. Top it with the other cake half cut side down.
  11. Pour the rest of the icing on the cake spreading evenly on top and the sides.
**Tip: For easier handling, wrap your cake very well in cling film, then refrigerate overnight before frosting.


*For the Caramel Icing:

2 egg yolks
1/2 cup  white sugar - divided
1 1/2 cups  evaporated milk (one 375 ml can) - divided
1 1/2 Tbsp  cornstarch
1/4 cup  boiling water
1/4 cup  butter - cubed
1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
  1. Whisk the egg yolks with 2 Tbsp of the sugar in a small bowl/jug. Add in 1/4 cup of the evaporated milk and all of the cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, over low to medium heat, carefully caramelize the remaining (1/4 cup) sugar.
  3. When sugar is completely melted and a golden brown colour, add boiling water (careful it will splatter).
  4. Bring back to a boil while stirring ocassionally making sure all the caramel well mixed into the water.
  5. Gradually add in the rest of the evaporated milk (1 1/4 cups) while stirring. Heat ;mixture just until it starts to boil.
  6. Without turning off the heat, pour a little of the caramel mixture into the egg yolk mixture while constantly stirring to temper the eggs. Mix until smooth.
  7. Pour this back into the remaining caramel mixture in the saucepan. Mix until icing reaches a thick consistency.
  8. Remove from the fire and then add in the butter and vanilla extract. Let cool just a little bit, whisking once in while. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.
  9. Pour onto cake while still warm.
Note: This icing is pourable. Let it flow smoothly over the top and sides of the cake. Put strips of baking paper under your cake to catch the drips.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Mamon

Mamon is a well-loved little sponge cake snack in the Philippines. For this recipe, the sponge is essentially a chiffon cake. I adapted the recipe from the wonderful baking blog Heart of Mary which is penned by a Filipina based in Australia.

She suggested there that greasing of the little cake tins is optional. Well you know me, anything to save labour is most welcome. But it did not work for me. The cakes stuck in the tins especially at the bottom. So that's one thing required in mine - grease the tins well.

Mamon

The cakes came out really fluffy and they did not sink (which I was afraid it might do). They tasted wonderful, too, and not dry at all. I just had to reduce the salt because it came out a bit salty. So this recipe is well recommended.


Mamon


Mamon

{A}
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sifted cake/plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine salt
6 Tbsp white sugar

{B}
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
4 large egg yolks - at room temperature
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp flavouring (vanilla, butter, lemon, or orange extract)

{C}
4 eggwhites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

{D}
6 Tbsp white sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. Grease 10 small mamon tins. You can also use small brioche tins or small metal pudding moulds.
  3. In a bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
  4. In another large bowl, combine {A}, mix well. Add in {B}. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
  5. Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  6. Pour the cake batter equally into the 10 tins. Give the tins a gentle shake and a tap to remove air bubbles and to level off the batter. Arrange them on a large baking tray.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes come out clean.
  8. Immediately invert the tins onto a baking paper-lined wire rack. Tap the tins to release the cakes. Turn the cakes over and let ir cool off completely.
  9. [Optional] While still warm, brush the tops with melted butter. This will allow the cakes to absorb some of the butter thus giving it more flavour. Finish off by sprinkling some granulated sugar on the tops.

Mamon

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Chocolate Babka

World Bread Day 2016 (October 16)It's that time of the year again where baking and blogging for breads is compulsory for the World Bread Day. I don't mind it at all. In fact, I look forward to it come October knowing that I will add something in my list of breads that I've tried. As always every year this is hosted by the very generous Zorra of Kochtopf.

I have decided to bake something with chocolate to hit two birds with one stone. For it is also Chocolate Week here in UK. This recipe I adapted from a special insert in the current September issue of Waitrose's magazine. It is very good except that the filling was quite runny. So the instructions said to cut it in half lengthwise and then twist them together, I knew that it will be a messy affair if I did that. Hence, I just twisted them intact. I expected that it won't be too good looking when finally baked but I was rewarded with a nice swirl inside that was revealed when cut. And the taste of the bread itself was excellent. This is a definite keeper of a recipe. I just have to tweak that filling so it won't ooze out too much.


Chocolate Babka


Chocolate Babka

*Dough:
7 g  sachet easy bake yeast
250 g  strong white bread flour
3 Tbsp  dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp  fine salt
1/4 cup  whole milk
1 large egg - beaten
75 g  unsalted butter - softened

*Filling:
1/4 cup  whole milk
75 g  milk chocolate - finely chopped
50 g  dark chocolate - finely chopped
1 Tbsp  cocoa
3 Tbsp  caster sugar
1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
1/2 tsp  ground cinnamon

*Glaze:
3 Tbsp  dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp  water

*For the dough:
**Manual method:
  1. Gently warm the milk in a pan until it is just lukewarm, remove from heat. Stir in the yeast and set aside for about 5-10 minutes. By then, then yeast should be foaming (it is activated). If not, discard it and start again from the beginning with fresh milk and yeast.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the milk-yeast mixture, egg, and butter.
  3. Knead mixture in an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment for 6-8 minutes or mix and knead by hand for 10 minutes until smooth.
  4. Cover with cling film, put in a warm place and leave to double in size (about 2 hours).

**Bread machine method:
  1. Put all ingredients according to the manufacturer's instructions (usually with the yeast first) and put on the dough program. This will include its first rising.

*For the filling:
  1. While dough is doing its first rise, heat the milk until steaming. Remove from heat and then add the chopped chocolates.
  2. Stir until chocolates has completely melted.
  3. Add in all the other ingredients. Stir to mix completely. Set aside to cool completely.

**Assembly:
  1. Punch down dough and lay out on a floured surface. Roll out to a rectangular size about 12 x 18 inches (30 x 45 cm).
  2. Spread the chocolate filling all over the dough. Roll up tightly like a log starting from the short end. Pinch the edges to seal it.
  3. Trim the ends of the roll. Cut in half lengthwise with a floured knife.
  4. Tightly twist the two strips over each other with the filling facing outwards.
  5. Transfer to the prepared tin. Cover with cling film or tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place to double size (about 1 hour).

**For the glaze:
  1. While the dough is doing its second rise, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and boil for about 2 minutes until syrupy. Set aside.

**Baking:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.
  2. Brush half the syrup over the babka and leave for 15 minutes.
  3. Brush again with the rest of the syrup then cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Babka

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs of Beef

Braised Short Ribs

A surprisingly delicious beef stew was unearthed from the Bon Appetit website. I bought a kilo of meaty beef ribs (short ribs) in the Birmingham market a few weeks ago and was looking for a recipe to make a tasty dish out of it. And I was not the least disappointed. The things that made it standout are the bones, which gave extra flavour, the garlic (surprising I know) and the excellent red wine I got in our pantry.

This is great with rice, mash potatoes, or just boiled new potatoes with steamed veggies on the side. I only cooked half of the recipe so I adjusted it accordingly.



Red Wine Braised Short Ribs of Beef

1 kg  bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion - chopped
1 large carrot - peeled, chopped
1 celery stalk - chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp plain flour
2 tsp double-concentrated tomato puree (tomato paste)
375 ml  [half a bottle] dry red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon)
5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs oregano
1 sprig rosemary
1 fresh or dried bay leaves
1/2 head of garlic - halved crosswise
2 cups beef stock

  1. [Optional] Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. Season short ribs with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a large oven-proof pot over medium-high. Brown short ribs on all sides in batches, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. drippings from the pot.
  4. Saute onions, carrots, and celery in the same pot and cook over medium heat. Stir often, until onions are browned and tranlucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add flour and tomato paste. Stirr constantly, until well combined and deep red, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Stir in wine, then add short ribs with all of its juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer uncovered until wine is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
  7. Add all herbs including the garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until tender for about 2-2.5 hours.
    OR
    Cook on the hob in very low heat until short ribs are tender, about 1.5 hours.
  8. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard.
  9. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes or boiled new potatoes with sauce spooned over.

Braised Short Ribs

Monday, 19 September 2016

Chocolate Banana Toffee Cake

Chocolate Banana Toffee Cake

I quickly post any recipe I find that worked marvellously first time I tried it. This particular one came from the recent Waitrose Magazine for September 2016. The combination of chocolate (milk or dark) with the banana and toffee glaze is so moreish. My only complaint is that it is hard to make the glaze settle on top since the suggested cake tin is a bundt cake pan. Next time I will bake this in a square or rectangular pan so that the delicious glaze will stay on top and nothing will go to waste.

For the Daim chocolate bars, the equivalent of these are Hershey's Skor or Heath bars or any chocolate covered hard toffee bars.



Chocolate Banana Toffee Cake

200 g  unsalted butter - softened
75 g  caster sugar (suprefine sugar)
100 g  light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
4 very ripe medium bananas - mashed (about heaping 1-1/2 cups)
3 Tbsp sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
50 g  cocoa powder (plus extra for dusting)
225 g  plain flour
50 g  cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
75 g  chopped Daim bars or dark/milk chocolate chips (plus some chopped for topping)

Glaze:
200 g  light muscovado sugar
75 g  unsalted butter
100 g  double cream
25 g  dark chocolate - chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F. Butter 10-inch bundt pan and then dust with cocoa powder. Tap out the excess cocoa powder.
  2. In a bowl, mix thoroughly the plain flour, cocoa powder, cornflour, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda.
  3. In another bowl, add sour cream to mashed banana and vanilla.
  4. Cream the softened butter and the caster and muscovado sugars in a big bowl for about 5 minutes or until light and creamy.
  5. Keep beating while adding eggs one at a time.
  6. Add the banana mixture. Beat until well combined.
  7. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the flour mixture.
  8. Fold the chopped Daim chocolate bars or chocolate chips (whichever you're using).
  9. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Take out of the oven, cool for 5-10 minutes and then invert into a rack and cool completely.

*For the glaze:
  1. Gently heat butter, cream and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat and add dark chocolate, vanilla and pinch of salt. Stir until smooth.
  4. Cool for 10 minutes or until a bit thickened while stirring from time to time.
  5. Drizzle over the cake. Let set for a few minutes.
  6. [Optional] Scatter chopped Daim over the top.