Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella

Baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella
I think this kind of recipe is like a comfort food for me, soft and sticky cheese is easy to fall in love with. I like mozzarella cheese very much and reading this recipe; it’s a lot of cheese in it (so, if you like cheese, this can be your answer). This recipe came from ............. this is Italian school lunch (oh, I would like to have it every lunch too), for me, I had it in front of the TV. Top of the pasta is covered with a lot of cheese and while it’s still warm, it’s delicious.
Baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella
Serve 4




sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil
1
white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2
cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 or 2
dried red chilies, crumbled
1.5kg/3½1b
ripe tomatoes or 3 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes

a large handful of fresh basil leaves

optional: 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
400g/14oz
dried orecchiette (pasta in the shape of ears)
4
big handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 x l50g
balls of mozzarella


Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6
To an appropriately sized pan add a couple of glugs of good extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic and chilies and slowly fry for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until softened but without any color. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
If using fresh tomatoes, remove the core with the tip of a small knife, plunge them into the boiling water for about 40 seconds until their skin starts to come away, then remove with a slotted spoon or sieve and remove the pan from the heat. Put the tomatoes into a bowl and run cold water over them, then slide the skins off squeeze out the pips and roughly chop. Add your fresh or tinned tomatoes to the onion and garlic, with a small glass of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes. Now put them through a food processor or liquidizer to make a loose sauce. Tear your basil leaves into the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper and a little swig of red wine vinegar (if using). And this is very importance because the main flavor comes from here.
When the liquidized sauce tastes perfect, bring the water back to the boil. Add the orecchiette to the water and cook according to the packet instructions, then drain and toss with half of the tomato sauce and a handful of Parmesan. Get yourself an appropriately sized baking tray, pan or earthenware dish and rub it with a little olive oil. Layer a little pasta in the tray, followed by some tomato sauce, a handful of grated Parmesan and 1 sliced-up mozzarella ball, then repeat these layers until you’ve used all the ingredients, ending with a good layer of cheese on top. Pop it into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden, crisp and bubbling.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Old Magazines

I have a new habit lately, after I set up my Blog, I always go through my old magazines and wonder why I didn’t try all the recipes ( I found out that I didn’t read some of them too, Oh my.). So, from now on you may find the recipes from the magazine that can date back to 10 years(I collected a lot of the magazine too). Not that I will leave my cookbooks behind but just to tell you not to wonder when you see where are the recipes come from).
Today is not very old (when you get older 2 years is not too long, right?). Buttery crescent rolls is not hard to do, and I include the how to from the magazine too.
BUTTERY CRESCENT ROLLS
MAKES 2 DOZEN


¾ cup (1½ stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for bowl and plastic wrap, plus 2 tablespoons melted
1 ¼ cups whole milk
¼ cup vegetable shortening
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2½ teaspoons salt
1 envelope (¼ ounce) active dry yeast (I use 2tsp instant dry yeast)
¼ cup water (105° to 110°F)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
5½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (about 390g-410g)


  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Butter a large bowl; set aside. Put milk, shortening, sugar, softened butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely.
  2. Put yeast and water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes Mix in milk mixture on medium speed until combined; mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour. Raise speed to medium-high; mix until a soft dough forms, about 1-2 minutes. (If using instant yeast mix the yeast into the flour whisk to combine. Mix the water in to the milk mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour. Raise speed to medium-high; mix until a soft dough forms, about 1-2 minutes. )
  3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes, then transfer to buttered bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel; let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  4. Roll dough into a 13-by-2o.inch rectangle. Trim edges to be straight. Cut dough in half lengthwise; cut both strips into 12 triangles (about 3 inches wide at each base). Gently stretch each to 2 to 3 inches long. Starting at widest end, gently roll up. Space 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets, pointed ends down. Cover loosely with buttered plastic wrap; let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush rolls with the melted butter (I use egg wash, it produces more shine, if you want to just mix egg and 1 tbsp of water and brush before baking). Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Easy Pullman Loaf from Bread Machine

As I say that bread machine is convenient, but if you want to get the best from it you have to do some little work too. I got this recipe from Japanese cookbook name: .............. the recipe name:ミルク たつぷり パン.オ.レ ( Milk Bread). In the book, the author bake in the machine but it will be better to bake in the oven. (You can bake in your machine but the result won’t be as good as in the oven. Because when you form the dough again to fit in the pan, the air pocket will be well distributed and the texture of the bread will be better.)
Because I want to use large pan, I double the quantity. Using Pullman pan is not tricky, just remember to brush it with a lot of butter (I like to use unsalted butter than shortening but fell free to use what you like.) to prevent the bread from stick in the pan.
Easy Pullman Loaf from Bread Machine
4 X 4 X 12 inches Pullman pan



Small
4 X 4 X 12 inches Pullman pan



Whole Milk
210 ml.
420 ml.
Bread Flour
250 g.
500 g.
Sugar
20 g.
40 g.
Unsalted butter (soft)
20 g.
40 g.
Salt
4.5 g
9 g.
Instant Yeast
2.8 g
5 g.
Put all the ingredient in the pan of the machine and select the dough making program.
Generously brush a 12-inch Pullman loaf pan with butter, making sure to coat the underside of the lid, as well as the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.
When the dough program is finish, take the dough out of the machine. Punch down the dough.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to a 12-by-8-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you. Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log. Pat in the ends to make even. Gently roll the log back and forth to seal the final seam. Place the loaf, seam side down, in the prepared pan, and slide the lid three-quarters of the way closed.


Let rise in a warm place until the dough is ¾ of the pan, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.
Close the lid completely and bake, rotating pan halfway through, until loaf is light golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and let cool completely before slicing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home Bakery


This is the word that Japanese people use to call bread machine, and by their way of using it can be their own bakery. They make many kind of bread by use it to knead the dough and bake or just knead. For me I like my home bakery too but I rarely bake in it, because the texture of the bread is not as good as bake in the oven (may be in other people’s machine, it can be good but I don’t like my results.). But using bread machine is so easy, just but all the ingredients and it will do all the kneading, the temperature is under control and some say that the texture of the bread is better than using your hand. For me home bakery is good both for a lazy day and for some recipe. But you just can’t use any recipes in the machine, the moisture of the dough that make in the bread machine have to be more. You have to adjust the recipes. But if you have the bread machine recipe and you want to try, just use less the liquid (little by little you may use all the liquid but if you put all you can’t take them all).

Anyway, when having new recipes you have to beware that every machine behave differently so watch the dough if they have been dry or too moist, you will adjust the recipe to be suitable to your machine.



Pictures from: Japanese cookbook

The bread made by using bread machine.

Friday, November 23, 2007

BASIC PASTRY INGREDIENTS WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

For the people who want to use weight measurement than cup, this is the conversion table. I got this from.........The table is good for the people who have a recipe with cup measurement but want more accurate results, the key is to read the way the Author measure the ingredients because there are different in sifted, lightly spoon and "dip and sweep". After some test you will be happy with the way that you can control the recipes better, you can reduce or increase the ingredients with more confident. So just copy and print so you will have it by your side when read the recipe.

Page:1

Page:2

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Curry Puff

This is the recipe that my sister (who live in UK. and may miss the taste of it) asks for it, I have to test it before so now it’s your recipe.
For other people who may not know curry puff, it is a savory treat, the shell is formed by layering two different dough, one is lean and the other one is rich. So when fry the shell will be crispy. In Thailand the curry puff is a famous souvenir from Saraburi Province. But today we will make it at home and it’s can become your famous savory treat too.


Curry Puff

(Makes 30)

Filling

Oil 15 ml

Potato (½ inch dice) 250 g

Onion (½ inch dice) 150 g

Carrot (½ inch dice) 100 g

Sugar 15 g

Soy Sauce 15 ml

Curry Powder 2 tsp

Pepper 2 tsp

Salt tsp

(You can season according to taste.)

First make the filling by steam the carrot and potato together, when done set aside.

Set the pan over medium heat; pour the oil and sauté the onion until fragrant and soft. Put the carrot and potato into the pan and sauté a little, put all the condiment in the pan, adjust the taste with salt and pepper (or you can add more of anything, it’s your recipe, I just give you a guideline). After that set aside because you will make a shell now.


Shell

-Outer Dough

All purpose flour (sifted) 290 g

Sugar 2 tbsp

Cold water 125 ml

Salt 1 tsp

Oil 100 ml

-Inner Dough

All purpose flour 150 g

Oil 60 ml

Oil for frying the curry puff.

Note on oil: use unflavor oil like soy or corn.


Make the outer dough by mix the flour and the oil together, until the flour is moisten. Add the sugar and salt in the water, whisk to combine then pour into the flour mixture. Knead until soft and pliable. Cut into 15 pieces (about 30 g/ piece). Cover with damp cloth.

Make the outer dough by mix the flour and the oil together, knead until smooth. Cut into 15 pieces (about 13 g/ piece).

Now we are going to make the shell.





Pat the outer dough into a small circle, put the inner dough on top of the outer dough pat a little and cover the inner dough with the outer dough.

With the rolling pin, roll out the dough into an oval shape. Roll the dough by the small side into a cylinder.

With the rolling pin, roll out the dough into a long rectangular. Roll the dough by the small side into a cylinder again, this time roll tightly.

Cut the dough in half, you will have 2 shells now. With the rolling pin, roll out the dough into a small circle; try to be gentle or you will tear the dough.

Put about ½ - 1tsp of the filling into the shell, fold in half and fold the rim of the dough to seal.

Do the same with all the remaining dough.

Fill large pan with oil, heat to medium.

Fry the curry puff until golden, and enjoy the curry puff while still warm.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

KENTARO’S CHEESE CAKE


Komura Kentaro is a Japanese chef. He’s famous for his modern and easy style (everything that he make seen easy and quick). This book: バーンと、うれしいおやつ (Brunch and Good Snack) has a lot of easy recipes ( French toast, cookies, pound cake, pudding and etc.). And if you want to follow his style using your hand to cream the butter is a good start.

This cheese cake is the first recipe that I try many year ago (I got this book for 4 years now.) but I still make it now and then. Using your hand to cream the cheese and butter is quite fun and it’s really help to soften the cheese faster. Because the cake is not so sweet and a little bit tangy, it’s great to serve with fruit compote, jam, preserve or even a fruit topping.


KENTARO’S CHEESE CAKE

Make 20 cm cake in a pie pan




Cream cheese, softened to room temperature 200g

Unsalted butter 40g

Sugar 40g

Egg yolks 3

Lemon juice 1 tablespoon

Lemon zest a little

Cake flour (sifted) 30g

Meringue

Egg White 3

Sugar 1 tablespoon


Preheat the oven to 160°C. Brush the pan with butter.

Cream the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl with your hand (ok, you don’t have to cream the butter with hand like Kentaro always does). When the cheese and the butter are homogenized, add the sugar mix until combined. Pour the egg yolk in a bowl little by little until they are smooth mix in the juice and zest of the lemon then add the cake flour. Set aside.

Make the meringue by pouring the egg white into a clean bowl, beat with an electronic beater until white add sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Lighten cream cheese mixture with one third of the meringue. Gently fold in remaining meringue until all the meringue is distribute. Pour the mixture into pie pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the surface is golden the cake will puff up like a soufflé but it will deflate when get outside of the oven.

Serve with the companion of your choice, it’s your cake now.

Recipe from:バーンと、うれしいおやつby ケンタロウ


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Apple Crumb Pie

For anyone who love crumb, this one is very good. My sister crazy about crumb, crumb bread, crumbs cake, crumb pie you name it, she love them all. Most of the times I like to taste the crumb, it as to be delicious before get into the oven (and its taste is like shortbread dough, yummy yummy). I get this recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, I didn't make any change in the recipe. I have some suggestion that if you like a lot of crumb like my sister do, use all the crumb to make apple crumble it’s delicious too.



Apple Crumb Pie
Makes one 9-inches pie



2 ½ pounds assorted apples (such as Macoun, Cortland, Jonagold, Empire, or Rome), peeled, cored, and cut into ¼ -inch-thick slices
Almond Crumb Crust (recipe follows)
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
⅓ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 35 0°F. Evenly and firmly press a little more than half of the crumbs about 2½ cups) into the bottom, up the sides, and onto the rim of a 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly into the edges. Freeze pie shell until firm, about 15 minutes. In a large bowl, toss together apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the mixture into the chilled pie shell, mounding apples slightly in the center. Dot with butter. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs in clumps over the apples to cover completely.
Bake, rotating halfway through, until the crust turns golden and the juices begin to bubble, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The pie can be kept temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

Almond Crumb Crust
Makes enough for one 9-inches pie
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons blanched almonds, finely ground
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almonds, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry Blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. Using your fingers, squeeze the mixture together to create pea-size to ¾-inch pieces. If not using right away, cover and chill until ready to proceed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart



I have only one cookbook from Martha Stewart even I subscribed to her magazine Martha Stewart’s living I don’t buy her other cookbooks, not that they are bad but I don’t want them. But for this book, I really love it.

The book starts with the picture of the equipment and techniques that one’s need to know to start baking (ok, it’s not all but I think it’s enough for the beginner). The recipes in the book are beginning from the easiest like simple baked goods, then follow by cookies, cakes, pies tarts, cobblers and crisps, yeasted baked goods and pastry. (And if you want to make a wedding cake the book has recipe too).

What I like most from this book is pictures. The photographs of the finished products are not all perfect, look really like something that we make at home. It makes me feel comfortable to see that baking at home is easy, even they don’t look like store bought product they’re still good. I believe that home baking is good to your health too, so pick some recipes and start baking, you will love them even when they don’t look perfect.



Picture from: Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Friday, November 16, 2007

Easy Cream Shortcake

I always love biscuit, scone or shortcake. They are easy to make and take very little time. Most of them can finish in just 30 minutes, and when just come out of the oven the warm and sweet aroma always bring a smile on my face. Making them have the only key “Don’t overwork the dough” you just turn the dough to make some skin form on the surface. This recipe I taken from “Spiced Peach Shortcake” in the book name:............ I make shortcake only, but if you want to try I include the Spiced Peach topping recipe too.

Spiced Peach Shortcake
Makes 6 shortcakes


Shortcake:
All-purpose flour 2 cups (260 g)
Baking powder 1 tablespoon
Granulated sugar 2 tablespoons
Salt ½ teaspoon
Heavy cream 1¼ cups
Milk for brushing
Whipped cream for topping

Topping:
Medium-size ripe but firm peaches,
(peeled, pitted, and cut into ½ -Inch pieces) 5
Firmly packed light brown sugar ½ cup
Ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon
Ground nutmeg ⅛ teaspoon
Pure almond or vanilla extract ⅛ teaspoon
Fresh lemon Juice 2 teaspoons



1. To make the topping, in a large, heavy saucepan combine the peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract, and lemon juice and stir till well blended. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook over medium-low heat till the peaches are just soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
3. To make the shortcake, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt, add the cream, and stir just till a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead about 8 times. Pat out the dough ½ inch thick and cut out rounds with a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Pat the scraps together and cut out more rounds till there are 6 in all. Arrange the rounds on a large baking sheet about 1 inch apart, brush the tops with milk, and bake in the center of the oven till golden, about 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool.
4. Split the Shortcake in half, arrange the bottom halves split side up on 6 dessert plates, and mound equal amounts of the peaches on top of each. Top each mound with the other biscuit half and a generous dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Crème brûlée for 3?

It may sound funny but this recipe only makes 3 Crème brûlée (but for something this rich, it’s can be good not to make many). I got this recipe from ....................... The book filled with a lot of dessert recipes that not hard to make like easy Mont Blanc, pumpkin pudding, cupcake, blanc- manger, and etc. All come in small portions, but I still have a question when thinking about the number, why for 3? Most of the recipes will make even number (2, 4, 6 or for 1), this is odd. Anyway, I make them today and I think this can be one for you, one for me and the other one is mine too.
Crème brûlée
Make 3



Milk 45 g
Sugar 15 g
Heavy cream 200 g
Egg yolks 45 g
Sugar 20 g
Vanilla pod 1/6
Brûlée Sugar: light brown sugar 20 g
Granulate sugar 10 g
Preheat the oven to 130°C.

Place the milk and sugar (15g), vanilla (scrap the bean out) and 50 g of the cream into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, pour the remaining cream in the saucepan (to lower the temperature) and whisk to combine discard the vanilla pod.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 20 g sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 3(7 to 8-ounce) ramekins.
Place the ramekins into a large cake pan lined with paper towel. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes then lower the temperature to 120°C and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove the ramekins and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days).
Remove the crème brûlée from the refrigerator. Mix 2 type of sugar together and divide them equally among the 3 dishes and spread evenly on top. Put the crème brûlée under the hot grill (or using a torch) melt the sugar and form a crispy top.



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Avocado, anyone?

I really like avocado, I can take it in any form, fresh, mash in salad, bake in a cake or just pour the condensed milk over it, yummy. I like the soft texture of the avocado and its mild taste (my sister tease me that I like baby food when I mash and eat the avocado). Avocado is very good for our health too because of its monounsaturated fat to helps fighting heart disease (raise the levels of HDL “good cholesterol”, prevent cancer and keep eyes healthy, it’s so good). So, today how about the avocado salad, that’s fresh and so good to your health.

Guacamole Salad
Serves 4



Little gem lettuces (or 2 baby cos) 4
Ox heart or vine ripened tomatoes (sliced) 3
Small onion (finely chopped) ½
Garlic clove (crushed) 1
Coriander leaves 1 tbs
Ripe avocados (flesh sliced) 4
Lime, (halved) 1
Dried chili flakes 4 pinches
Semi-dried tomatoes in oil
drained, oil reserved 100 g

Separate the lettuce leaves and divide among plates. Divide the tomatoes slices among plates, then scatter over the chopped onion, crushed garlic and coriander leaves. Arrange the avocado slices on top and squeeze over the lime juice to prevent them from turning brown. Sprinkle each salad with a pinch of chili flakes, then season. Scatter with the semi-dried tomatoes drizzling over about 1 teaspoon of the reserved oil.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Poppy Seed Fruitcake

OK, I know “poppy seed” again; this is an adaptation from “Lemon Verbena Scented Fruitcake” from ............. in his original recipe the lemon verbena is the key, but for me this fruit cake is great because there are a lot of poppy seed. I like fruitcake with a load of fruit, but not the one that makes me feel like eating a block of candied fruit and I hate the green and red candied cherry. So this cake is my answer (because I make it myself I can add something or take anything that I don’t like out). I add the candied mango and the apricot and I take all the spice out because my mom doesn’t like them (but I write it down because someone may have a feeling that fruitcake must have some spices). Because no brandy adds, everyone can enjoy it, all year round, and this cake is my nephew’s favorite.


Poppy Seed Fruitcake
Make 2 loaves 25 x 7.5 x 7.5 cm each



Candied mango 55 g
Dried currants 85 g
Light raisins 85 g
Candied orange peel, diced 55 g
Dried apricot, diced 55 g
Dark rum 60 ml
Unsalted butter 340 g
Granulated sugar 340 g
Egg yolks 6
Cake flour 340 g
Baking powder 2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Poppy seeds 85 g
Egg whites 6
Ground ginger ½ tsp
Ground nutmeg ½ tsp
Ground doves ½ tsp
Preheat the oven to 190°C.Line the loaf pans with baking paper and set aside.
Place the mango, currants, raisins, candied orange peel, and dried apricot in a bowl. Add the rum and stir to combine. Cover and macerate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Place the butter, half of the sugar (170g), the egg yolks in a bowl. Cream until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, spices (if using), and salt; mix in the poppy seeds. Combine with the fruit mixture, tossing to coat each piece of fruit with the flour mixture (to prevent the fruits to fall into the bottom and make them separate).
Beat the egg whites with the remaining granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. Stir half of the whipped egg whites into the butter mixture. Fold in the fruit mixture, followed by the remaining egg whites.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans and spread out evenly. Bake for 1 hour or until baked through; use a cake tester to check. Let the cakes cool in the pans for a few minutes before take them out of the pans.
(If you like, sift powdered sugar over the top of the loaves before serving, but for me I eat them plain.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Professional Pastry Chef



I like professional baking cookbooks (I have to tell you that there are two books that I use all the time Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft by Culinary Institute of America and The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry by Bo Friberg ,the other one from Bo Friberg The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef I rarely use it but I bought it because I like his fundamental books very much. For the book About Professional baking by Gail Sokol I read about it from from the review in the amazon so I bought it and I never try anything from the book until now but the book have a lot of good information too) , they are different from the TV chefs’ or food writers’ books, they have a lot of information that one need to know to be a pastry chef or working in commercial kitchen. For me reading them help broaden my knowledge about many things, they have plenty of recipes some of them you won’t find in other books, like making mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese, sweetened condensed milk, fondant and many pastry kitchen’s basics (I know you may not try making them at home but it’s good to know, right ?). And most of the instructions are clear, the recipe are reliable. Not that I’m so serious but it feel like having some reliable friend (or teacher), sometime when I get new recipe, I will read some instruction from these book to make sure that I won’t fail.

But they have some weak points too, the recipes always come in large scale size and look like a formula , so for using them I have to scale down the recipe and recalculate that sometime I make a mistake and the result is not good enough (except for The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry by Bo Friberg, that have a small scale in some recipes and it’s different from other books that he always have some story to tell about the recipes, I like his style). The pictures of the finished products are less, they don’t give an inspiration and most of all they are heavy. But they are my trustworthy friends, and I really love them.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sausage Rolls


I got these recipes from the ESSE a Japanese cooking magazine (Oct.2006). The theme is the “Popular bread from the bakery that you can make at home” (and if you look at the magazine it seen to be very easy). They start with base recipes then just add some ingredients and you got a new kind of bread, sound interesting? I made two or three of them and they’re good, so today I will show you the sausage roll, the one that I make more than once. Because the dough is easy to handle I think that this could be a great start if you didn’t make bread before. This bread will be good for breakfast or picnic too, so let enjoy it. (The recipes from Japanese books are quite small quantity so it’s good if you want to make something new more often.)


Sausage Rolls

Make 8 rolls




Bread Flour 300 g

Instant dried yeast 5 g

Sugar 10 g

Salt 6 g

Unsalted butter (soft) 30 g

One egg plus whole milk to equal 220-230 g

Sausage 8

One egg plus 2 tsp of water for glazing


Put half of the flour and yeast in a bowl, whisk to combine, add the sugar and salt whisk again. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the bowl, use large spoon to mix everything together. Put all the remaining flour in, and knead briefly to bring all the ingredients together. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead, you will see the dough will be elastic after about 5 minutes, add the butter at that time, knead for another 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and pliable.

Put the dough into a light buttered bowl. Let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size (can be 1 hour or 1 hour and a half check often depend on the temperature).

Take the dough out of the bowl and cut the dough into eight pieces, roll into a ball and let them rest for 10 minutes. Using a rolling pin to roll the dough into an oval shape, then place the sausage in the middle. Cut both side of the dough into 7 strips. Fold the strips alternating the left and right over the sausage.

Place the dough on the oven sheet. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Let the dough rise until almost double in size, brush with egg wash. Bake for 8 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for 5 minutes more.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Japanese Cookbooks

I have a lot of Japanese cookbooks; at first I like the small portion of the recipes. Most of them will be enough for 4 persons or less (some recipes are just for 1 person). Cakes, cookies and breads are come in the small quantity too, because I like to try something new, making them just enough for tasting is great, (my family can finish them in one day, no left over, hooray).

They’re good in other dimensions too; there are a lot of instruction pictures (most of the baking books have pictures from start to finish, very good for the beginner.). The books are cute and filled with a lot of inspirations.

The recipes from the books are weight measurement, it will be uncomfortable for some people but I hope that you can get electronic scale (that will make your measurement be more accurate and your baking goods be more controllable), so you can enjoy trying all the recipes with me.




Friday, November 9, 2007

The Pastry Queen


I have her book a long long time ago but never have a chance to try anything (in fact I have too many books that I can’t test all the recipes in my entire life), I really like the cover of the book, it’s the main reason for buying it. The book has many interesting recipes and lovely pictures (the customers seen to be very happy), so I just kept browsing without trying anything. But today I decide that I have to start and the result is good, so this is Rather Rich Corn Muffins

Rather Rich Corn Muffins
Yield about 2 dozen

This recipe I convert from cup measurement to weigh measurement because using weigh measurement is easier and more accurate. The electronic sale is not expensive now (and they can be weight from 1 gram, enough for us to bake at home), but I still include the original cup measurement for anyone who feel good with it. The muffins are easy to make and not too sweet to accompany foods and I suggest using canned corn kernels because they are softer (they are cooked already).


Unsalted butter, melted 170 g / ¾ C
Heavy whipping cream 3 C
Large eggs 3
All purpose flour 400 g / 3½ C
Coarse cornmeal
(plus extra to sprinkle over) 230 g / 1½ C
Sugar 200 g / 1 C
Baking powder 2 tbsp
Salt ½ tsp
Fresh corn kernels
or canned corn, drained (optional) 140 g / ½ C
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Generously grease twenty-four standard muffin cups or line them with disposable muffin wrappers. Pour the butter, cream, and eggs into the large bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt the bowl whisk to combine. And put on top of the butter mixture. Mix at medium speed just until the ingredients are combined and not lumpy. Stir the corn into the batter. Using a medium-size ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups about two-thirds full with the batter. Sprinkle cornmeal over the tops of the muffins.
Bake the muffins for 12 to 15 minutes (but my muffins take longer than that, about 17 minutes), until lightly brown; they should spring back when you touch the tops lightly with your fingertips. They are best served warm (and I hope you can, they’re very good when just come out of the oven).
Tip from the book: This batter can be refrigerated in a covered container for 3 days and baked just before serving. Be sure to add 3 to 5 minutes to the baking time to compensate for the temperature of the refrigerated muffin batter.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

About Jamie Oliver



I really didn’t pay attention to him when he launched his first about 8 years ago, I thought that Jamie Oliver was just a young famous chef that didn’t have much to care for. I didn’t buy his book, didn’t watch his program, at that time the new faces were many. So, I didn’t think he is special. Until about 3 years ago, I subscribe to ABC Delicious magazine, and I started read his recipes. I have to admitted that I like him, reading his recipes is funny and relax (I read cookbook more than novels or may me I think it’s some kind of the novel). Don’t have to feel stress when cooking, all things comes naturally that what he make me feel. Now I have 4 of his books,

The Naked Chef

The first cookbook from Jamie Oliver, lively and funny.

JAMIE'S ITALY
Easy style Italian food.

COOK WITH JAMIE: MY GUIDE TO MAKING YOU A BETTER COOK

This cookbook is a fund rising for Fifteen Foundation that Jamie Oliver found to help teach people who have a problem to be a chef and working in Fifteen restaurant after they have trained.

Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life

This cookbook focus on organic food because Jamie Oliver start to grow vegetable and rise chicken too.

The recipe that introduce him to me is “Pasta with Olive and Fresh Cherry Tomato” from ABC Delicious magazine (I’m sorry that I can remember the issue and too lazy to search from the large piles of my magazines). I make it so often, it becomes my favorite, this of the recipe is like his style easy and fresh and I really love it.


Pasta with Olive and Fresh Cherry Tomato





Pasta (I use fusili) 1 C

Pitted dark olive (chopped) ¼ C

Cherry Tomato (cut in half) ½ C

Bell pepper (diced)

(this is my own version) ¼ C

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt, pepper

Parmesan cheese


Put olive, cherry tomato and bell pepper in a bowl, sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and salt, toss a little bit. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the package instruction. When the pasta ready, take them out of the water and add the pasta into the prepared bowl immediately. Toss the entire ingredient together; adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This makes one dish for one person.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Caramel corn

My sisters really want to eat it and ask me to make a real (good?) caramel corn. So I search for the recipe on the internet and voilla, it came from one of my favorite blogs “The Amateur gourmet”. But you know that my problem of the sugar still persist because from the original recipe the corn came out too sweet to enjoy them often, so I decided to reduce the sugar. This is the result that I hope that you will like it as well. I make them almost every week now because my sisters can finish it real fast.

Caramel corn





Unsalted butter 100 g
Corn syrup 100 g
Baking soda ¼ tsp
Brown sugar 100 g
Salt 1 tsp
Vanilla ½ tsp

Popped corn 15 c

Heat the oven to 150°C.

Melt the butter, stir in the corn syrup, sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 4 minutes (I find it burned if boiling too long). Remove from the heat, stir in the soda and vanilla (it will foams!). Pour the mixture over the popped corn immediately (it’s will harden if you wait for too long) and mix well. Spread the coated corn into large cake pans and bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let them cool, the corn will be crisp.

If you want the original recipe just click here.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery

by Rose Carrarini


Rose bakery is famous for simple and healthy foods. So after I read the synopsis of the book, I think this had to be good book. Because I also believe in having a good for everyday and good food not mean expensive one but the food that good to your body and fulfill you feeling.

Overall the book is filled with lovely pictures and Rose’s famous recipes. But after I read the book I love it more. Because Rose’s motto is “Life is improved by great food and great food can be achieved by everyone.” So she shows it in her food and in the way to preparing them, she really cares about the food, I like the way she approach her foods. She uses as much organic and locally produces as possible, but still uses import products if they’re better and not too far. She uses less sugar in many recipes for health purpose without sacrificing the flavor.

I have to admit that I start baking because I can’t find cake and cookies that not too sweet for me (you will find that I always reduce the sugar contain in the recipe and it become my nature). Sweetness is not the only flavor that you want. This book is for someone who likes to enjoy natural and refreshing food (light meal) cake, and cookies.

Recipe Update 7 December 2007: CHESTNUT AND WHITE CHOCOLATE TARTLET



To read in Thai Click Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose bakery

Monday, November 5, 2007

Okonomiyaki


Do you know okonomiyaki? Some people call it “Japanese pizza” but I don’t think it can call that way. For okonomiyaki, you mix everything in a bowl and fried it on a pan, then brush it with okonomiyaki sauce, some mayonnaise and sprinkle with katsuo. Mostly inside the okonomiyaki the egg is still running a little bit and it’s delicious, you can cook it through but the outside will get a little tougher (and the egg flavor will be less). Okonomiyaki is easy and fun party food if you have an electronic pan. Inviting some friends, they can make their own style and flavor, you just prepare the base mixture and other ingredients; let them add anything they like, fish, vegetable or sea food. For me, I like it with cabbage and bacon, a common combination that tastes so good.




Okonomiyaki

Base mixture:

For 1 person

Egg 2

Hondashi ¼ tsp

Sugar ½ tbsp

Plain flour 3 tbsp

My combination:

Bacon or pancetta (chop) 3 rashers

Cabbage (thinly slice) 2 C

Egg 1

Finishing:

Okonomiyaki sauce (you can use tonkatsu sauce if it what you have.)

Mayonnaise

Katsuo


Heat the pan to medium heat; whisk all the base mixture until blend. Add the bacon and the cabbage pour in to the pan, cook for 2 minutes and flap. When it almost done crack the egg and pour it on top of the okonomiyaki, flap again then wait for 1 minute to let the egg cook. After the okonomiyaki is done take it out and brush with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise then sprinkle with katsuo. Enjoy it while it’s still hot.

And just in case that you don’t cook Japanese food often, I add the picture so you can shop without confusion.








Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cream Cake with Poppy Seed

I always like poppy seed, a little blue seed that can change plain cake in to something lovely. May be because of the little dot that scatters around and a flavor that not too heavy (think about a dot of chocolate that will affect the flavor of vanilla pound cake, it’s different). After I tested Neil’s whipped cream pound cake, I find it’s too sweet for me, so I want to play around with this recipe by adding poppy seed and reduce the sugar. This is my version of cream pound cake (you can increase the sugar if you like, you can use up to 130g.). The texture is airy, so be careful when you take it out of the pan.



Chilled heavy cream 125 ml
Large eggs 2
Sifted all-purpose flour 90 g
Sugar 110 g
Pure vanilla extracts 1 tsp
Baking powder ½ tsp
Poppy seed 1 tbsp
A pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 8½” X 4½” loaf pan with baking paper (the cake is quite sticky). Set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl whisk in the poppy seed
3. Whip the cream on medium- low speed until firm peaks form. Take care not to over whip the cream. Set aside.
4. In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed, add sugar 1 tbsp at a time until the eggs are pale and light then blend in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, in 3 additions mixing just until blended.
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream, one-third at a time. Be sure the cream is thoroughly folded through the batter.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and firm to the touch, and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Take the cake out of the pan onto the rack, peel of the paper (beware the cake is fragile). Let the cake cool completely.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More

Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More: 200 Anytime Treats and Special Sweets for Morning to Midnight

by Carole Walter






Hooray I got a new book again, this time “Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More” from Carole Walter, this is the second of her book that I have the other one is “Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets” which is very good, the recipes is reliable and turn out well. So I thought that she won’t let me down. I was waiting to order it from the Amazon, but my local bookstore is quicker, so I don’t have to wait for my delivery. The book is good for the people who like home baking sweets not a decoration dessert, the recipes are homey and not hard to follow (I made cream pound cake but have to say that I like it less sweet anyway I already fix the problem). The book is not for anyone who likes to have a look before follow the recipes, there are few photos. I have lot of recipes to try from cake, yeast coffee cake and cookies, so I find good reasons to buy another book again.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

SWEET CREAM BISCUITS



SWEET CREAM BISCUITS
MAKES ABOUT 12 BISCUITS



All-purpose flour 284 g (I don’t like to measure the flour by using cup but if anyone want it is about 2 C)
Baking powder 1Tbsp
Sugar 2 Tsp
Salt ½ Tsp
Cold heavy cream 1¼ C
Heavy cream for brushing
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Pour the cream over the dry ingredients; use a fork to toss the ingredients together, until you’ve got a nice soft dough. Then using your hands to give the dough a quick, gentle kneading 3 or 4 turns will be enough to bring everything together.
Dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands until it is about ½ inch high. Use the 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Transfer the biscuits to the lined baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1 thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. Brush the top of the biscuits with cream.
Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown.

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