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What do you call a chicken in a shell suit?* December 5, 2010

Filed under: Days of our chickens' lives — titchandboofer @ 6:48 am
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The first of 21 days of A Chicken Joke A Day

Because…

It’s the silly season.

Our feathered ladies have been neglected too long here in blogville.

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*From the first Christmas Cracker of the season.

 

 

 

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Recipe catch up: Part 3 November 13, 2010

Or how to accidentally eat one’s body weight in rice in one day:

Lunch – Due to tragedy of zero leftovers at home, eat emergency cafeteria lunch of sushi hand rolls

Dinner – Scarf down large amount of heavenly chilli eggplant, with rice

Afternoon tea –

Rice Pudding Pie

otherwise known as Tamara Milstein’s Torta di Riso, from her very excellent book Bake Your Cake & Eat It Too

120 grams of rice flour

130 grams of plain flour

50 grams of pistachio kernels

70 grams of brown sugar

100 grams of white sugar

220 grams of butter, cold

2 large eggs

750 mls of full fat milk

160 grams of arborio rice

4 egg yolks

zest of 1 large lemon

2 tablespoons of almond flakes/slivers

1/2 a teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1/2 a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Put the rice flour, plain flour, pistachios, and a pinch of salt in your food processor.

Whizz until the nuts are roughly chopped.

Add the brown sugar, 120 grams of the butter and 1 egg.

Whizz until combined.

Remove the dough and knead very briefly, just to bring it together.

Shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Put the milk and rice in a medium saucepan with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then simmer for half an hour or until the rice is tender and the milk absorbed. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, combine 75 grams of the white sugar, 50 grams of the remaining butter, the 4 egg yolks, lemon zest and almonds and mix very well.

Stir this mixture into the rice.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 fan forced)

Butter a 22cm springform cake tin.

Get your pastry out of the fridge. Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper, rolling until it is about 5mm thick and large enough to line the entire cake tin.

Carefully line the tin, patching any torn or split areas.

Pour the rice mixture into the pastry shell.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining egg, butter and sugar with the nutmeg and cinnamon.

Drizzle this over the surface of the rice mixture. You can gently swirl it in with a fork to spread it across the whole cake.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until nicely set and golden.

Allow to cool in the tin, then gently remove to slice and serve.

We ate this cool and by itself, which was super tasty. But I suspect it would be even lovelier with some cream whipped up with a smidge of nutmeg. And it may be drawing a long bow to suggest that this falls within Loophole number 3, but we did have an awful lot of rice in the cupboard. Surely it can’t last forever?

 

Recipe catch up: Part 2 November 12, 2010

Filed under: Ice creams etc — titchandboofer @ 2:16 am
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Loophole number 4: The Weather

Or, a hard-earned thirst needs a big, cold bowl of…

Mango Lime Sorbet

4 large, ripe mangoes

4 limes

100 grams of sugar

1 egg white, lightly beaten until frothy

Squeeze the limes, straining out the pips and pith.

In a small saucepan, bring the lime juice and sugar to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Set aside to cool.

Chop up your mangoes, discarding the skin and seeds.

Whizz the mangoes in a blender or food processor.

Add the sugar syrup and whizz a little more.

Transfer the mixture to your ice-cream machine.

Churn until cold and beginning to thicken.

Pause the churning and add the frothy egg white.

Churn until thickened enough to scoop.

Fine to eat straight away, but can be stored in a 1.5l, airtight container.

Eat on its own, or with chunks of fresh mango, or spoonfuls of passionfruit, or both, and a bit of vanilla ice cream. Whichever way, it’s good.

 

 

The Ghost of Chocolate fixes past November 3, 2010

Trying to get at the keyboard under the mound of random stuff on our desk, I unearthed two recipe books. When I got over the distracted drooling and planning for desserts of the future (coconut mousse! dondurma kaymalki!), I remembered I had dumped them here to post from. Apparently two weeks ago I must have been on some kind of quest to plough through as many 250 gram blocks of Whittaker’s 72% as I could get my hands on. And who can blame me?

Unadulterated Brownies

courtesy of the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, largely unphotographed due to general rushedness and distraction

200 grams of dark eating chocolate, roughly chopped

175 grams of unsalted butter

325 grams of caster sugar

130 grams of plain flour

3 eggs

icing sugar to dust

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celsius (150 fan forced).

Butter and line a brownie tin (I use a square cake tin, from which I get about 16 brownies, 12 if I’m feeling greedy)

Melt the chocolate and butter gently in a bowl over just simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth.

Remove from the heat.

Add sugar and stir to combine.

Add the flour and stir to combine.

Add the eggs and mix until thick and smooth.

Spread into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes. They should be just dry on top but still soft in the middle. Less is always more for brownies.

Leave to cool, dust with icing sugar and eat.

These are a dense, fudgy delight. One is never enough. And you can eat them with…

Very Chocolate Ice Cream

courtesy of Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis’s ice ceam and iced desserts

4 egg yolks

6 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of cornflour

350 mls of full fat milk

350 mls of thickened cream

250 grams of dark eating chocolate

Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a medium bowl.

Whisk until thick and foamy.

Prepare a bowl over a bowl of iced water. Set aside.

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and bring it just to the boil.

Gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring continually until thick enough to coat the back of your wooden spoon.

No wonder I was making ice-cream…how gorgeous was the weather? And how idyllic the view from our stove. I love finding photos like this, a reminder of the moments of domestic contentedness that make up for all the ragged, weary, shouty times.

Take off the heat and pour into the bowl that you’ve set aside.

Break up 210 grams of the chocolate and stir this into the custard until melted.

Set aside while it cools.

Whisk the cream into soft peaks and fold into the chocolate custard mixture.

Churn in an ice-cream machine (begged, borrowed, stolen, owned, just grab one somehow) until scoopable.

Chop the remaining 40 grams of chocolate as roughly or finely as you prefer and throw into the ice cream machine at the last minute. Churn for a few minutes to combine.

Transfer to a 1.5 litre airtight container and freeze for a few hours.

This requires no further description. Just eat it.

 

Sunshine in a 1 litre tub October 29, 2010

Filed under: Ice creams etc — titchandboofer @ 5:45 am
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The small one has gone right off the idea of day sleeps. Usually I’d be typing this in a heavy-fingered tone of grimness, but not today. Who cares! Who can blame him! The sun is shining mightily down on faux-farmville. Hens are clucking happily and laying up a storm. Plants are growing. The windows are open and a breeze is swirling through the house pleasantly, cooling but not door-slammingly strong. Small and I are smeared with sunscreen and coated in dirt. Our feet are bare, padding over a floor that is a little bit sticky from dropping spoonfuls of this:

 

Lemon Passion Sorbet

1 cup of sugar

1 1/4 cups of water

4 eureka lemons, well scrubbed

2 egg whites

The pulp of 5-6 passionfruit

Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally.

As it starts to boil, peel the lemons thinly over the pan, dropping the rind into the sugar syrup.

Turn the heat down to a simmer while you juice the lemons.

Add the lemon juice to the sugar syrup and leave to simmer for a few more minutes.

Strain into a bowl and allow to cool for at least ten minutes.

In the meantime, whisk the eggwhites until just frothy.

Now, churn the syrup in your ice-cream machine until thick and opaque.

Add the eggwhites and continue to churn for ten to fifteen minutes. The sorbet will magically expand and become white as white can be.

Transfer to a container (at least 1 litre capacity) and swirl the passionfruit pulp through. Freeze.

 


 

 

More defiant baking: Part one October 14, 2010

If I’ve been out and about during the day, far from the kitchen and thoughts of dessert planning, I sometimes think to myself ‘Ah well, perhaps we don’t need dessert tonight. Perhaps I can just have a cup of tea and maybe a teensy piece of chocolate or twelve’. I’m almost convinced of this. Until about seven thirty pm. Then I get completely distracted, eyes glazing over, while I compile a mental list of potential dessert ingredients. Then I start grilling the beloved:

If I was making pudding, what would you want?

Don’t want pudding, am busy.

But if I was and you did, what would you want? (such a stupid question, beloved cannot understand the overwhelming need to make something different and will invariably suggest making these chocolate fondants)

Don’t want pudding. Thought you weren’t baking today? WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT BAKING? I’M WATCHING MY STORIES!!

What about something with cherries?

NO BAKING! STORIES! CHERRIES BAH!!

Lemon?

Gah. Can’t you just make chocolate fondants?

Hmmm. Lemon. Something quick and lemony? Lemon delicious? No. Boring. Lemon lemon lemon.

muttering… fondant fondant fondant

Hah! Lemon fondants! Would still need chocolate. Hmmm. White chocolate?

Ugh.

That’s it! White chocolate and lemon fondants! (could be way too sweet, but worth a shot)

8pm Puddings

300 grams of white chocolate (at least 35% cocoa butter: ie. Green & Black’s or Whittaker’s)

75 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature

75 grams of brown sugar

40 grams of plain flour

6 eggs of various sizes*

Zest and juice of a lemon

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 fan forced).

Butter six ramekins/small cups/small glasses.

Gently melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over just simmering water. Set aside to cool a little.

Put the butter, sugar, flour and eggs into a food processor and whizz until combined and smooth.

Add the zest and juice and whizz to incorporate.

With the processor running, add the melted chocolate in a continuous stream.

Divide the batter evenly between the six ramekins.

Bake for 8-9 minutes.

You can prepare these up to two days in advance. Just cover and chill the filled ramekins before the baking stage. I usually do this if I’m only baking for the beloved and I – bake two at first and the remaining four can be plucked out and baked as we like for snacks and whatnot. When you cook them, increase the baking time to about 12 minutes.

Turn out the puddings into bowls and top with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Dig in…with the first spoonful, the shell of the pudding will burst and molten pudding will ooze out deliciously.

The verdict: almost there, but not quite perfect. The balance of white chocolate to lemon needs to swing more to the lemon for my liking, to balance out the white chocolatey sweetness – next time I would add the zest of two more lemons. I would also use Whittaker’s white chocolate instead of Green & Black’s – the vanilla isn’t needed here and adds unnecessarily to the sweetness. We still have four in the fridge waiting to be baked, so I’m going to cook up some lemon curd this afternoon and try one with that for some added lemony oomph. Watch this space…

In exciting news, Betty is back on the lay after two months of concentrated chick-raising. Pictured (back left) are the shells of two of her gorgeous little eggs. Darker than Lola’s creamy shelled eggs (back right) and Mrs P’s bright white delights (front), Betty’s eggs are light brown, slightly glossy and oblong, with compact golden yolks and very viscous whites.

 

One October 6, 2010

Filed under: Beautiful baking — titchandboofer @ 11:41 am
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Seven am, small awake and break-dancing on my pillow. At least we’re not calling it six am any more. Kettle on. Small playing with noisiest toy in whole house. The blue cow says moo. The blue cow says moo. The blue cow says moo. The blue cow says moo. The blue cow says moo. Sodding cow. Should we be teaching small that cows are blue? Nope, don’t care. Must remember to do things on list today. Ring someone. Who? Where is list? Not that list. Other list. Why is beloved pretending to be dead under the doona? Make small’s breakfast of hated porridge extra loudly. Success. Breakfast. Drop in on LMF for tea and mini-playdate. Drink tea in LMF’s yard in glorious sunshine. Small hijacks her work phone and sends random blank messages to her clients. To shops. Unsuccessful attempt at buying food or a wedding gift. Home. Wedge spoonfuls of mystery mash into small’s mouth while he tries desperately to pull my top off.  He breastfeeds like he’s not been fed for days. He sleeps. Still no sign of list. Pay a bill? Cook something? Yes! Food for a friend, another LMF, who’s just had her fourth baby. Macaroni cheese. Brownies. Soul food for the breastfeeding mama. Find letter reminding me to re-enrol in deferred university course. Will I have time to study next year? Small awake, trying to climb up me to plunge his hands into all the pots on the stove. Pouring rain. Chickens all huddled under one shrub. Overgrown chicks trying in vain to squeeze under Betty’s wings. Very entertaining. Alarm going off? Oh, brownies.

Brownies for the Breastfeeding Mama (and her children)

200 grams of dark eating chocolate

125 grams of unsalted butter

1/2 a cup of brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of almond meal

1/4 of a cup of plain flour

160 grams of dark eating chocolate, chopped roughly

80 grams of flaked almonds

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 fan forced).

Grease and line a square tin.

In a medium saucepan, melt the 200 grams of dark chocolate with the butter over low heat, stirring until smooth.

Take off the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes.

Stir in the sugar, eggs, almond meal and flour.

Stir in the chopped chocolate and flaked almonds.

Spread into the tin and bake for 25 minutes, until just firm to touch.

Allow to cool in the tin for ten to fifteen minutes.

Turn onto a wire rack. Turn again and dust with icing sugar.

Cut into as many pieces as you like.

Wrap brownies. Think for the hundredth time how useful it would be to have a big basket to carry food in. Must put that on list. Damn. The list. Ring who? Never mind. Everyone in car. Arrive at house of new baby. Baby is breastfeeding, on the brink of blissful sleep. Her older sisters and brother bounce about. Biggest sister carries small off to play. Tea with our friend. We chat about the uni course she has just finished, the same one I am procrastinating about. Hmm. That puts things in perspective.