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Friday, 21 March 2008

Brie Bites for Taste & Create

It's time for another round of Taste & Create, the event where you are paired with another food blogger to make one of their recipes, and they in turn make one of yours.

This month I was paired with Jen from Beantown Baker. She has a fabulous blog which is overflowing with, amongst other goodies, delicious cupcake recipes.
I couldn't decide whether to make some cupcakes or the Brie Bites, which looked very tempting indeed. I printed off the recipes for both and after much deliberation the Brie bites won.

They were really easy to put together. I used this recipe to make the filo cases as I couldn't find them over here. After making the cases, you simply put a cube of Brie into each case, bake in a medium oven for about 7-8 minutes and finally pop on some toppings and voila! Simple, quick and delicious!
Half of mine were topped with red pepper jelly, and the other half with fig preserves and toasted chopped pecans. The pecan ones were my favourites, I liked the crunch of the nuts against the soft melty Brie - for more ideas on toppings see Jen's recipe.

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Now, one of my boys spotted the cupcake recipe that I had printed and asked if I could make them. I made half a batch and they must have been good, because when I went to add the cream, caramel and chocolate to photograph them, there was only one left!
My son complained that his cupcake had been 'a little bare on top' - well that's what you get for secretly pigging them!

And here's the lone Carmel Mocha Cupcake!!

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Thanks for the recipes Jen, and thanks to Nicole from For the Love of Food, for putting this fun event together.

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Crawling Past The Irish Coffee Tart

Irish pub crawl logo 08

When I read that Emiline, over at Sugar Plum, was going to be having a St. Paddy's Day Pub Crawl blogging event, I thought - oh yeah - that's right up my alley! Boozy dishes, what's not to like?
Well, after making this dish, I really didn't want to post about it, I even found it hard to photograph - and anyone would think I had already been on the pub crawl after tasting it. The recipe, written by Irish chefs Paul and Jeanne Rankin, fitted the criteria and was swimming in Irish booze.

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Irish Coffee Tart. Sounds fantastic, even looks tasty.
Unfortunately, the base of the tart was very heavy, difficult to cut properly and it tasted quite greasy. The middle layer was smooth, you couldn't taste the coffee - actually that didn't matter so much because the Irish whiskey came through quite well - usually on desserts like this you can't taste much alcohol. On the plus side, even though it was a bit too sweet, the topping had Baileys Irish Cream in it.
I didn't add the gelatine - the veggies in my house wouldn't touch it if I had. Over all, I was rather disappointed.

I am hoping that we will be near to the end of our pub crawl when we get to eat this, we'll be so plastered nobody will notice.

I won't be giving up on Paul and Jeanne, I have a few more of their recipes to try, I'm sure there's a winner somewhere! If you want to see the
recipe, you can find it here, and if you make it, I hope it turns out better than mine!

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Tana's Lemon Drizzle Cake

International Women's Day

Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day. Zorra from Kochtopf and Fiordisale are hosting a blogging event and they have asked that we bake or cook something yellow to celebrate.
You may be wondering, why yellow?
Zorra writes, 'on this day in Southern countries, there is the tradition to give sprigs of bright yellow Mimosa flowers to women. The flowers are intended as a sign of respect, and also an expression of solidarity with the women in their support for oppressed women worldwide'.

The round-up is now posted here, and here.

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Domestic Goddess in Training is one of the blogs that I visit regularly, and when Jules posted this recipe for Lemon Drizzle Cake, I knew it wouldn't be long before I would be baking it. It's a really fast, easy cake to throw together. I made half the amount and added some extra drizzled lemon icing on the top. A sure fire way to feed your lemon cravings in a hurry - thanks Jules!

Tana's Lemon Drizzle Cake
Adapted from Domestic Goddess in Training

For the cake:
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self raising flour, sifted
zest of one lemon

For the drizzle icing:
juice of 1.5 lemons
85g caster sugar

For the extra lemon icing that I added:
75g icing sugar
Lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180ºc. Line 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the flour and then the lemon zest. Pour this mixture into the tin.
Bake for 45-50 min.

Mix the drizzle icing ingredients together, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. While the cake is still warm prick with a fork and pour the icing over cake. Leave in the tin until cool.

If you want to add the extra lemon icing, once the cake is cold and out of the tin, mix the icing sugar with a few teaspoons of lemon juice and drizzle over the top of the cake.

(Printable Recipe)

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Ooh la la - Macarons!

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I am so behind the times! I should be making no-knead bread at the moment - it seems to be the latest craze among food bloggers. Instead, I'm making my first macarons, which were pretty hot last year.

After seeing these irresistible chocolate macarons from
Ms. Adventures in Italy, I came clean, admitted I was a macaron virgin and set out to do something about it.

The first recipe I tried came out quite well, but the macaron batter was just a little too runny and they didn't puff up as much as I would have liked. So, I looked though as many recipes as I could lay my hands on, even bought a French macaron cookbook whilst in France last week, to help me in my quest. Luckily, my search was fruitful, mainly because other food bloggers have tried and tested many recipes, which led me to this one by Robyn at Serious Eats. It worked well because the measurement of egg whites came in weight, rather than volume, making it far more accurate. There were also many other hints and tips for making macarons in Robyn's post.

I followed the
recipe closely, adding some powdered coffee to the almonds and used a Silpat sheet to pipe the mixture onto. The results were pretty good, a crisp macaron with a soft centre, filled with some Nutella cream - my latest favourite filling.

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Coffee Macarons with Nutella Cream
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

225 grams icing sugar
125 grams ground almonds
1 level tablespoon powdered coffee
110 grams egg whites (about 4), brought to room temperature
30 grams granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

200 ml double/heavy cream
2-3 large tablespoons Nutella

Mix the ground almonds, icing sugar and powdered coffee in a bowl and put to one side.

In a large clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they become foamy and stiff. Gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking well after each addition, until the mixture is stiff and shiny.

Gently fold in the almond mixture, using a large spoon or spatula, until incorporated. The mixture should be shiny and firm, but with a bit of 'flow' to it. Don't over-mix it or it will be too runny.

Fill a piping bag with a 1cm round tip and pipe the mixture onto Silpat or baking parchment. Tap the sheets gently to remove air bubbles and let dry at room temperature for about an hour or so before baking.

Bake in a preheated oven, 160º/325F for about 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of them. Use a wooden spoon to keep the door ajar slightly, and rotate the baking sheets after 5 minutes for more even baking.

Remove from the oven and leave to go cold. Peel off the Silpat or baking parchment.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and gently fold or whip in the Nutella. Pipe or spoon onto half the macarons and top with the other half before serving.

(Printable Recipe)

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.