Friday, 30 March 2012

52 Recipe Challenge - Week 38

A few weeks ago, I gave in to a craving I had and dug out a recipe for a cheese soufflé. Unfortunately it's somehow taken me three times as long to write up and post this recipe... why this is remains a mystery to me!
The recipe I used was the Easy Cheese Soufflés recipe from Sam Stern’s Real Food Real Fast.
To make this you need:
Some butter for greasing your casserole dish with & 35g of butter for cooking with.
25g flour
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
300ml/ ½ pint milk
A few drops of lemon juice
75g Cheese grated (I used double Gloucester but the recipe suggests cheddar, gruyere or parmesan.)
4 eggs separated
Salt and black pepper.
To start with, I turned the oven on to pre-heat and got out my casserole dish.  The original recipe says to use ramekins; however, I don’t own ramekins and as there are, only two of us it would be silly getting four ramekins for one meal... Anyway, I digress, I greased the casserole dish with butter and grated a bit of the cheese in there as it apparently helps rising.
I popped the casserole dish on one side and then melted some butter in my pan.

Sifted the flour into the pan and also added the cayenne pepper and nutmeg then stirred them together whilst letting it bubble.
After about a minute, I took it off the heat, added the milk a bit at a time, and beat it into the mixture with a wooden spoon. 

When I’d beat the lumps out of the sauce and was sure that it was smooth, I put it back on the hob and brought it to the boil.  I the kept the boiling mixture on a high heat for a few minutes and stirred it to ensure it wasn’t burning.
A few minutes later I removed the pan from the hob again and added the cheese, egg yolks, salt, pepper and lemon juice, then mixed them all together until they were combined. So once I did that I turned the hob off and put my pan to one side as I whisked the egg whites in my food processor.

As soon as I’d whipped the egg whites up until they were all cloud like I put the pan back on the hob, got a tablespoon of the egg white mix and stirred it into the sauce. 

After that was combined, I tipped the rest of the mix in and folded it together trying to be careful not to lose the air trapped in the whipped up eggs.  Once combined the mixture in the pan and the egg whites were combined I tried to fill my casserole dish with it but the casserole dish was too large so I just settled with getting it all in. I also ran my finger around the edge of the mix before putting it in the oven to encourage it to rise.
I then put the soufflé in the oven and turned the oven down from the maximum temperature to 200c/ gas mark 6.The original recipe said to bake for 11-12 minutes but that is for cooking it in ramekins so I set my timer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes it appeared to have risen but looked a bit anaemic so I left it in for another 20 minutes until it had browned and a skewer poked in came out clean.  As I was confident that it would be ok, I started dishing it only to realise that one side was completely cooked and the other was undercooked.
Under cooked souffle.
I dished up the cooked side with some salad to my boyfriend and blasted the undercooked part in the microwave before tucking in myself.
Cooked half of the souffle.
After all the preparation, stirring and whisking the cheese soufflé just tasted like cheesy scrambled eggs to me in the end.  Due to all the work involved and the underwhelming result, I don’t think I’ll try this again... well not this exact recipe!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Bit of an Appetite

Last week I was luck enough to get myself a place at Appetite Sheffield's first event, an event dedicated to the food and food producers of this fair city.

Appetite is the brain child of two fellow food bloggers Clare and Ros who write Nibbly Pig & Feast and Glory , a creation formed by their love of food and Sheffield produce.

The actual Appetite event took place on the evening of 6th March at Butchers Works, which isn't a place I've visited before.  Popped by in the past... but never lingered for some food.  For those of you unfamilar with it, Butchers work is in an old mill building inbetween Arundel Gate and Brown Street.

I decided to go to the event alone as I was confident I would meet like minded people there and thought my boyfriend may appreciate the peace and quiet!

Entry to the event was £5.00 which, included a drink on arrival.  I went for a blonde ale as I am unsure about ales... normally I'm a larger drinker but when in Rome!

I found a seat next to two friendly girls and was then joined by another solo food enthusiast.

The night passed in a blur of conversation and good food samples.

The producers gave talks about their companies and methods of production.  Moss Valley even did a sausage making demonstration!

I enjoyed samples of: bread, sausages, bacon, pork pies, chutneys, tea, cake, pasties, sweet chilli chicken & prawns, poached egg & kale salad, coffee and ice cream!

Not bad for a fiver! There was also a food based quiz and produce to buy at the end... first time I've come back from a night out clutching sausages!

A big thanks goes to Appetite for hosting the event and all the producers

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

How not to sew...

I'm one of those people whose ambitions sometimes dwarf their skill levels.  I love the possibilities involved in sewing but am not naturally gifted at being amazing at it and often learnt through mistakes.

Point in question... do not prepare to sew around cats.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

52 Recipe Challenge - week 34.

As I mentioned in my last blog I've fallen into bad habits of not cooking new recipes or blogging as often as I feel I should, so I've decided to rectify this.  Another thing that I've noticed is that I've been mainly posting about sweet treats so the savoury dishes have been falling a bit by the wayside... I've tried to rectify this by making a curry and naan breads. Not entirely getting away from things I make too often on the blog at least it’s not another cake! I decided to try a few more recipes from my Indian Cookbook.
My Indian Cookbook and a few spices..

The recipes I decided to try were the Naan recipe and the Baigan Ka Bhurta (roasted aubergine with tomatoes and ginger) recipe although I followed the Naan recipe nearer to the letter than the curry recipe!

To make these dishes you will need:

For the Naan -

1 teaspoon of Sugar
100ml lukewarm Water
1 7g sachet of dried Yeast (the recipe says 1 teaspoon but I only had sachets in)
250g/ 8 oz Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 tablespoons Natural Yogurt
2 tablespoons Oil
1 tablespoon melted Butter

For Baigan Ka Bhurta -

1 Aubergine
3 tablespoons of Oil
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of Ginger (the recipe said use 2cm of fresh ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger but I only had ground ginger in.)
1 teaspoon Coriander
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Chilli
3 Garlic cloves
1 Onion chopped
200g of chopped tomatoes (this is what I used the recipe says vine tomatoes but I had didn't have these.)
2 teaspoons Lemon juice
(The original recipe aslso says use 1/2 teaspoon ground Fennel which I don't have and 1/2 a teaspoon Gram Masala which I didn't notice and forgot to use...Ooops!)

I started off looking at the recipes and cursing myself that I hadn't really left myself with enough time to make them properly after trying to dig a tree out of my garden... but that's another story! So I turned on the oven to pre-heat and measured 100ml lukewarm water into my measuring jug then poured in my sachet of yeast, gave it a stir and popped it on the hob whilst I waited for it to turn frothy.

Then I got the flour, salt and baking powder out and sifted it into my mixing bowl before making a well in the centre for the wet ingredients.

Next I put my Aubergine on a baking tray and then placed it in the oven and turned the oven down to 200c/ gas mark 6 and set my timer for 20 minutes.

As the yeast water mix wasn't frothy yet I got a pan out and put some oil in it in preparation for when I needed to cook the cumin seeds and put this on the hob as well.  As things seemed to be taking their time I sat down to watch a bit of telly for a minute then checked on the yeast and water mix, which had gone frothy so I added it to the flour, baking powder and salt.  Next, I added the yogurt and oil and mixed it all together, initially I used a spoon and then my hands. 

 When the dough was combined, I kneaded it in the bowl for about five to ten minutes and then put some cling film over it then put it on the hob for about half an hour.

The original recipe says to let the dough rise for 3 - 4 hours but I'd have been eating in the early hours if I did that!  Whilst I was waiting for the dough to rise and the aubergine to cook I watched a little more telly then was asked how long tea would be and started to prepare again... So I looked at my recipes and got out a bowl for the aubergine and filled it with cold water to put it in once it came out of the oven.  I then checked on the aubergine and turned it over so it didn't cook funny.

Once I did that I started to cook the cumin seeds and chop up the onion then realised I should probably wait before cooking the cumin seeds, turned the gas ring off and moved the pan.  It was at about that time I got the aubergine out of the oven and put it in the bowl of cold water only to find that the bowl was too small to fit the aubergine in! I tried transferring it to the slow cooker bowl, which was also too small but not quite as bad as the other one.  I ended up turning the aubergine over a few times, so I could dip the unsubmerged end in the water and cool it down.

After I did this I put the pan back on the hob and started to cook the cumin seeds again whilst peeling my aubergine.  Then when I thought the cumin seeds were cooked enough I added the garlic and ground ginger and cooked them for about a minute before adding the onion. 

I gave it all a quick stir and then I returned to my aubergine. When peeling the aubergine I emptied the water out of the slow cooker bowl and then put the peeled aubergine in it.  I looked at the recipe and it said to mash the aubergine with the back of a spoon but I didn't have much luck with this so I turned to my potato masher.  This did a bit of a better job but it still didn't look like the aubergine in the recipe book but I decided not to worry about that too much.  

When I mashed the aubergine I went back to my pan and stirred the onions, garlic, cumin seeds and ginger powder then added the mashed up aubergine and the coriander cumin and chilli. The mashed aubergine was still mainly intact but a bit flatter so I jabbed it with my spatula until it separated up a bit more and combined it with the other ingredients.

Whilst that cooked I put my baking tray in the oven to heat up and took the dough from the mixing bowl, kneaded it for a few minutes then divided the dough into 6 separate balls of dough of roughly similar sizes.
 I tried to form the dough balls into roughly naan bread shapes with my hands after miss reading the second to last paragraph of the recipe and put 4 of them on the baking tray at the top of the oven for a few minutes. I left the other 2 balls on the side to rise.

Next I added the chopped tomatoes to the aubergine mix in my pan.  This is where I cheated by using the other half of the pizza sauce I made the night before which consisted of 200g of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and various spices.  Once these were mixed together I melted a knob of butter in the microwave, took the naans out of the oven and brushed them with melted butter then returned them to the oven for another couple of minutes.

When the naans were done I put them on a plate and sprinkled coriander on them as I worried they looked more like pita breads...

I then returned the baking tray to the oven and shaped the last 2 naans with the rolling pin then putting them on the hot baking tray, repeating the process I used for the other 4 naans.

When the naans were cooked I added a bit of extra ground coriander and lemon juice to the curry and dished it out.  

It ended up being a nice curry and one I'd happily try again but I think I'll try to make more of an effort to get all the ingredients next time and start it earlier as we ended up eating it quite late.  I would also be happy to try to make naans again but need to work on my shaping technique and might try coating them with garlic butter at the halfway time on my next attempt.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Things I have been doing instead of blogging...

Sometimes the time just seems to fly away from you like cats fleeing the sound of a hoover or a hairdryer.
This month has been one of those months where I've turned around and realised it's March already!

So I neglected the blog last month for a few reasons, the first being that I got a new full time job after just over a month of unemployment.
First payslip of the year!

This is obviously great news but it's leaving me a bit shattered in the evening and driving me to making my tried and tested fast dishes over new recipes. (This is something I need to counter!)  My new team are treating me well though and feeding me up with donuts.
I don't like pink but I am a fan of sparkly things! 

 Things have started to get sorted a bit more with the house. (I've finally got a shower not just a bath!)
A shower at last!

I also started up a baking club... which I forgot to take pictures of.  Rest assured there was copious amounts of cake involved! 

At a similar time I came up with the idea of doing a payday tea post. My plan was to try out the food at The Great Gatsby next to my work but alas they only served crisps that night.  So I went back to my old favourite, The Wick at Both Ends and enjoyed a lamb curry & wedges from the Wick and Mix menu.
My boyfriend had his usual massive burger.

And I treated myself to a Dark & Stormy as well as a Bit of a Ginge whilst I was there too...
On the same night we went to see the rather good Standard Fare.
As well as the frankly brilliant Allo Darlin'!
This was in The Queens Social Club, a working man's club just out of Sheffield centre, complete with sparkly backdrops and an absence of stage lights. It was still a packed show filled with new treasures and old favourites like Dreaming and the Polaroid song.

I may have got excited and danced so much my bobble fell out of my hair... what of it?

So that's my excuse for being lax with my blogging, what have your distractions been recently?