Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Happy Easter

I reprised my hot cross buns from last year, (the recipe is here) it is nice to come back to a recipe and have it work so well after a while of not making them! My new house has a hot water cupboard in it, so I did the kneading part in the bread machine, then tipped the mix into a large bowl and raised the dough slowly in the hot water cupboard. It took about 2 odd hours to get it to double in size. I then shaped them and left them to rise a further 30 mins. I haven't yet got the measure of the oven in my new kitchen, it seems a little hot so I have to keep a close eye on things! I need to invest in a proper oven thermometer I think......
Anyway, as per last year I glazed them straight out of the oven with a sugar syrup, then piped on crosses with icing. It gives a nice sweet kick to the buns! I have indulged despite my low carb regime, I have restricted myself to a few and the rest have been given away. They were utterly delicious!Hope you have a happy Easter, I will have my nose in academic articles unfortunately, I have an assignment due next week which I really need to get on with.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sugar Fiend

I have mentioned many times what a love affair I have with sugar! As well as I have been doing with cutting back I just can't resist a yummy dessert and this one is dangerous in it's quick preparation. We gave Rex Jamie's Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hoursfor Christmas- it is his first serious cookbook. He is becoming such a great cook and since we moved house he has not really spent any time in the kitchen (that makes two of us!!). So I decided to remedy that by suggesting he cook something from his new book and what should he choose but this lovely recipe. He has made Jo Seagar's microwave puddings before- her version has jam and tinned peaches in the bottom and was ok.
To be honest I have never been much of a fan of 'cakey' things made in the microwave, to me you just don't get an acceptable enough result. Well, these puds of Jamie's are better than acceptable- and because they are a 'steamed' pudding they definitely work in the microwave. The steaming aspect is something that microwaves do well and Jamie extends this by putting a wee circle of greaseproof paper on top of each pudding to maximise the steam. I will getting Rex to make this again and with this basic pudding recipe I reckon you could mix things up a bit and pop different things in the ramekin, like stewed fruit etc. The mix itself is quite runny but don't be alarmed, it cooks up beautifully. Just don't muck with the size of the ramekin - Rex made these first in coffee cups and divided the mix by 4 - they didn't cook evenly despite adjusting the cooking time. I actually made them again in coffee cups (cappuccino size) and they worked really well.Just another quick note. I am a truly Kiwi cook in that I have always had an aversion to baking in weight measurements- if it didn't have cup measurements I didn't want to know. I overcame that by investing in some good electronic scales (they are about $50 on special at Briscoes) and I honestly haven't looked back, so many cakes and sweet recipes turn out better now that I bake this way!!!!

Quick Steamed Microwave Puddings (Jamie Oliver- Ministry of Food)

175g plain flour
50g brown sugar
75 g butter melted
1 level tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 large eggs
juice and finely grated zest of an orange (it's ok to leave this out!)
150ml milk
11 tbsp golden syrup
butter for greasing

Grease the inside of 6 little microwaveable dishes or teacups with butter until well coated. Tip all the ingredients into a large bowl (except the golden syrup) and mix well. Add in 1 tbsp of golden syrup and mix until well combined. Spoon 1 tbsp of golden syrup into the bottom of each cup/ramekin, then divide the pudding mix between them.
Tear or cut 6 circles of greaseproof/baking paper a little larger than your dishes. Grease them with a little butter and then butter side down, pop them on top, pressing down gently onto the pudding mix. Place all dishes in the microwave and cook on medium heat for 7 1/2 minutes. Leave the puddings to stand for a further 5 minutes before carefully removing the paper.
To serve:
Warm 4 tbsp golden syrup in a microwavable jug for a few seconds. Turn the puddings onto serving plates and drizzle over the warm golden syrup. Accompany with creme fraiche, custard or icecream!