Monthly Archives: May 2012

English Muffins

English Muffins

English Muffins

 

I love English muffins, especially the sourdough variety. I cannot remember eating English muffins while I was in London though scones with clotted cream and home made jam were always on the menu on the weekends. I do think clotted cream from Devon was my favorite.

I looked up Wikipedia to find out the origins of the ‘English’ muffin  and of course they are just called muffins in England. I will have to check with my cousins as to their take on them.

When Janak’s sister came back from California she raved about the muffins made by Bhanva. So I got Bhavana to send me her English muffin recipe. This is a recipe that  has passed on from person to person and it is just like when my mum used to first give me recipes. The first time I tried it I left my batter fairly wet and sticky but I think that was a little too wet. The problems I had were when I rolled out the dough I could not cut it with a muffin cutter. I then sliced them up into squares. However, they all expanded on the second rise and merged. Then I pulled them apart so I got different heights and sizes for the muffins.

My second try was highly successful. I also changed the recipe a little bit leaving out the egg white and kneading in all the flour that I needed in the first go. One thing that helped a fairly quick rise was putting my batter in the trunk of the car. The batter doubled in size in 30 minutes. I was able to roll out the dough and cut the rings very well and they were almost of similar sizes. Alton Browns suggestion is to use old tuna tins, so the muffins all have the same size. I, however, love my slightly off shaped muffins.

Recipe

Makes 36 muffins

  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • ‘1 tablespoon sugar
  • 7g yeast (1 sachet)
  • 4 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk, warmed

Method

Use tap hot water or heat the water in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. You should be able to dip your finger in and it should be just warm. Dissolve the sugar in the water. Then add the yeast and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. You know it is done when there is a nice frothy rising about the water.

Put the flour, salt, butter and milk into a bowl. Add the yeast mixture to it and knead with your hand or a dough hook for about 3-5 minutes.The batter will be a tad bit sticky.  Oil a clean bowl and put your batter in it. Cover it with a towel and put it in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size (winter the dough rise would probably be longer).

Flour your work surface very liberally. Dump your batter on to the work surface. Dust the top of the batter generously with flour. Roll out your batter to about a 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut rounds and put those rounds on a floured tray. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let the little cut outs sit for about a half hour covered with a kitchen towel. They will rise again (This sounds like a terminator statement).

Heat your griddle to 300F. Spray the surface, lightly, with cooking oil. Bake for about 12 -15 minutes on each side or until you get a nice brown color as in the picture.

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No bake Cheesecake

No Bake Cheesecake

No Bake Cheesecake

Janak loves cheesecake and he reminded me that my sister made a no bake cheesecake that he loved when we were visiting her. I tried to find the recipe that she had given me. I did look through my vast collection of recipes but had no luck finding it and so I did the next best thing, I came up with this recipe.

This was my second go at making it. I made the first version for a pot luck and I topped that one with a strawberry glaze. I also made it in a 8×12 baking dish. I made the topping for that one by pureeing fresh strawberries, mixing in some strawberry jam and some sugar. It was a bit sweet but everyone loved it. The other difference was that I had added 2 tablespoons of Quarante y Tres (a Spanish liqueur) to the cream cheese mixture but the flavor did not come through. I did increase the liqueur in this one to 1/2 cup with this trial but the cream cheese flavor was still quite strong and the brandy flavor came through but very faintly.

The texture of this cheesecake is really light and airy. The other good thing about this dessert is that it is not heavy and the portion sizes help.

You can easily do any topping with this and any flavor of alcohol that you wish to try. Dulce de Leche, Caramel, Mango, Pineapple .. as you can tell I love tropical fruits and in the summer they are great.

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 8oz packets of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brandy (optional)
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups passionfruit syrup (or any other topping of your choice)
  • 24 blackberries, washed

Method

Mix the crumbs and butter until all the crumbs are well moistened. Divide the moistened crumbs evenly between the 12 bowls.

Whip the cream cheese (using the paddle attachment) until it is creamy. Then add the icing sugar half a cup at a time whipping until it is incorporated. Then add the vanilla extract and whip until incorporated. Then add the brandy (if using it) and whip until incorporated.

Whip the heavy whipping cream with a wire whisk. As it starts to thicken add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Continue whipping until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Take a quarter of the whipped cream and fold it into the cream cheese mixture to lighten. Then add the remaining the whipped cream and fold in gently mixing until all the cream is incorporated. Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 bowls.

Top with the passionfruit syrup and then top with the blackberries.


Sage Pesto

Sage Pesto

Sage Pesto

Well I am calling it pesto – why because I used basil leaves in it – haha. I actually bought sage to make a sage brown butter sauce for the ravioli that I was going to make well I was short on time and decided to make a pasta from a packet and needed a sauce. I initially only used sage, basil, walnuts, garlic and lemon juice. I thought it was a little bland so out came the jalapeno and the sun dried tomatoes and they made such a difference. If you want it to be spicier just add another jalapeno.

When your pasta is ready just toss it with your pasta and eat it.

Recipe

makes 1.5 cups

  • 1 cup sage leaves (washed)
  • 2 cups basil leaves (washed)
  • 1 jalapeno (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • juice of half a lemon
  • zest of the whole lemon
  • salt (to taste)

Method

Blend all ingredients together in your food processor. Voila!


Nutella Mousse with Burnt Marshmallows

Nutella Mousse with burnt Marshmallow

Nutella Mousse with burnt Marshmallow

It was a while before I actually tried Nutella. I had an aversion to nuts and refused to eat anything with nuts in them and if I did get something with nuts, I would very patiently separate all the nuts out. Well I finally got around to eating them and then I was introduced to Nutella. I try not to keep it in the house as I just eat it straight out of the jar. It is so irresistible. When we go camping someone always brings along a Costco sized jar and it is cleaned out pretty quick. We just have to try and find different delivery systems to transport the nutella from the jar into our salivating mouths.

I wanted to make something with Nutella as I have a lot of friends who love it and I have been promising a friend whose birthday has gone by that I would make him a Nutella dessert. You can just make the nutella mousse as it is delicious on its own. I had egg yolks hanging around as I had just made a fresh batch of sugarpaste and decided to make a pastry cream. Hopefully you enjoy it as much as the folks who ate it here at home.

Oh and I was just looking at stats and I wanted to say hello to all my readers. You are from all over the world and it tickles me pink to see where I have hits from. Don’t be shy drop me a line. I would love to hear from you.

Recipe

Make 12 5oz dessert cups

Nutella Mousse

3/4 cup whole milk
12 heaped tablespoons of nutella
3oz dark chocolate
1 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar

Heat the milk until it boils (or microwave for for 2 minutes in a microwave safe container with higher sides). Add the nutella and dark chocolate to the milk. Stir until everything is well mixed and then set it aside to cool.

Once the nutella is cool you can start whipping the cream. After the cream starts to thicken slowly add the sugar. Keep whipping until it get to the stiff peak stage. Fold a small portion (about a 1/4 of the whipped cream) into the nutella milk mixture to lighten. Then add this to the rest of the whipped cream and fold gently. Distribute among your dessert cups

Pasty Cream

2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon butter

Put the milk into a quart sized pot and bring it to a boil, then turn it off.

Whisk the egg yolks, flour and sugar in a small heatproof bowl. Whisk in about a 1/4 cup of the hot milk slowly into the egg mixture. Once it is blended you can then pour this mixture into the hot milk and put it back on the stove on a low heat, continue to whisk continuously until it is thickened. It should take about another 4 – 5 minutes. Take it off the stove.

Whisk in vanilla and butter. Pour it into a heatproof bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cream. This will prevent if from getting a skin. Set it aside to cool.

When cool distribute evenly among the dessert cups pouring it over the mousse. Then top it with mini marshmallows. Use your torch to singe the top of the marshmallows. Be careful as the marshmallows will continue to burn. Serve and enjoy.