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Monday, 25 January 2010

Seasonal Pancake Challenge

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Pancake Day is on the 16th February this year, and I have been busy making a few different kinds of pancakes for Morrisons. They sent me everything I needed to make and create some pancakes using seasonal ingredients, and to give their customers some new ideas for Pancake Day.

I started with some American style pancakes - light and fluffy, they are the perfect pancake to serve with fruit, and are easy to make for breakfast.

Hot on the heels of the American pancakes were some English style pancakes. Us Brits love our thin, crêpe-like pancakes and these always appear on our table on Shrove Tuesday. We like them served simply, with lemon and sugar - straight from the pan, but you can also serve them with fruit or stuffed with a savory filling for a main course.

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rhubarb pancakes

Rhubarb Pancakes
Finely slice 200g of fresh rhubarb and gently fry it in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Add 50g of sugar and cook until the rhubarb is soft.
Add some of the cooked rhubarb to the American pancake mixture and stir it in. Make the pancakes and serve with the rest of the cooked rhubarb.

gingerbread pancakes with caramel pears

Gingerbread Pancakes with Pears in Butterscotch Sauce
To the American Pancake mixture, add 2 teaspoons of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and replace the caster sugar with brown sugar.
For the pears, peel and slice 2 pears and saute them in a frying pan with 75g of butter for half a minute or so. Add 225g of soft brown sugar and 140ml of double cream to the pan. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat when the sugar has melted. Serve with the spiced gingerbread pancakes and top with some chopped roasted pecans.

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Sunshine Pancakes with Grilled Grapefruit and Brown Sugar
My mum used to make us grilled grapefruit with brown sugar for breakfast when we were little, and this recipe idea is based on that.
Peel and segment a grapefruit, placing the drained segments into a small baking tray that has been lined with non-stick foil. Top the grapefruit with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar and place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until the sugar is bubbling. Place the grilled grapefruit onto the pancakes and fold them in half, and half again. Spoon some of the juices over and serve.

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Pancake Cups with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce
I saw this nifty idea over at the Food Network site and couldn't resist trying it out. Take one of the British Style Pancakes and fold it in half, then press it into a muffin tray to form a little cup. Bake in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes until slightly crispy around the edges, keep checking to make sure they don't get too brown. Remove from the oven and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream into the cup, then drizzle with caramel sauce.
You can use different flavours of ice cream and sauces, I bet the rhubarb sauce would be good as well.

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British Style Pancakes
Adapted from Delia Smith.
I prefer to use an old, well seasoned, heavy cast-iron pan that is used only for pancakes. It's easier to pour the mixture from a jug, rather than ladle it into the pan. That way you can swirl the pan with one hand, while pouring the mixture in with the other, and you get really thin pancakes.
Makes about 10-12 x 8" pancakes.

110g (4 oz) plain flour
A pinch of salt
2 large eggs
275ml (10 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
50g (2 oz) butter

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs – I use a wire whisk – incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.

Next, gradually whisk in the milk, don't worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk. When all the liquid has been added, scrape any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream.

Now melt the butter and spoon 2 tablespoons of it into the batter and whisk it in. Use the rest of the butter to smear on the pan, using a bit of kitchen paper or a silicone brush. I pour the pancake batter into a jug and use that to pour it into the pan, or you could just use a ladle to pour the mixture into the pan.

Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you're using the correct amount of batter. Using either the jug or ladle method, pour the batter into the pan and swirl it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a heat-proof spatula or palette knife – the other side will only need half a minute or so – then simply slide it out of the pan on to a plate.

I like to serve these as I am making them, or you can stack the pancakes on a plate and keep warm until ready to use.

American Style Pancakes
An easy, fast recipe that you can adapt by adding flavourings, spices or a handful of oats if you wish.
Makes about 8 small pancakes.

1 large egg
140ml (5 fl oz) milk
140g (5 oz) plain flour
3 level teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon caster sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Whisk the egg in a large bowl, using a wire whisk. Add the milk followed by the flour, baking powder, sugar, the pinch of salt and whisk everything together. Finally add the melted butter and whisk again.

Heat and brush a non-stick frying pan with butter. Ladle about 2-3 tablespoons of the pancake batter into the pan. When you can see tiny bubbles on the surface of the pancake and the underside is nicely browned, flip the pancake over and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter until all the pancakes have been made.

caramel pears and crepes

On the Morrisons website there is a large database of recipes to browse, including recipes for pancakes and healthy eating tips.

tossing pancakes
From last year, tossing pancakes.

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Banoffee Macarons for MacTweets!

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This month's Mac Tweets challenge was to try something new with your macarons.
I wanted to create a mini dessert with mine, and see what would happen if I used brown sugar instead of the granulated sugar. I also added a couple of spoons of grated dark chocolate to the mixture. The result was very chewy macarons and they had larger feet than I wanted, but they still tasted pretty good. I used a one egg white recipe again, as I was experimenting.

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Ready for the oven

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Out of the oven and waiting to be filled

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Top with sliced banana and drizzle with caramel

Banoffee Macarons

This recipe uses 1 egg white and only makes about 14 halves, 1½" across. Bear in mind that these were experimental using some brown sugar, and that did make for a more chewy texture. I did not age the eggwhite overnight, but bought it to room temperature for about an hour before using.

42g ground almonds
75g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
Dark chocolate - a couple of squares, finely grated
38g egg white (roughly 1 large egg white, which you can 'age' overnight if you prefer)
10g light soft brown sugar
pinch of salt

60ml double cream, whipped until stiff
½ banana finely chopped or top with slices of banana
Couple of tablespoon of caramel

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

In a large clean, dry bowl, whip the egg white with a pinch of salt until it becomes foamy and stiff. Gradually add the brown 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. Let dry at room temperature for about an hour or so before baking.

Bake in a preheated oven, 160º/325F for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.

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

Whip the cream until stiff and gently fold in the banana. Pipe or spoon onto one half of the macarons, drizzle with caramel and top with the other half before serving.

Mac Tweets logo
Don't forget to look at all the other macarons that have been made this month by heading over to the Mac Tweet blog!

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Other Macarons on Cherrapeño:
Christmas Macarons (Cranberry & Pistachio with White Chocolate & Vanilla Cream)
Chocolate Macarons with Caramel Cream
Coffee Macarons with Nutella Cream

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Bread Rolls with Leftover Christmas Pudding

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Where did the last year go? Or the last 10 for that matter!
I know it's a New Year and all that, but I still needed to use up some Christmas pudding from the recipe challenge back in November 09.

I made some bread rolls, using my Buns with Berries and Cherries recipe, swapping the dried fruit for about 4-6oz of Christmas pudding, but you can use your favourite bread dough. Christmas may be over, but you can enjoy the leftovers for a little longer!

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I must remember these for next year, it would be lovely to eat them on Christmas morning, fresh from the oven!

I'm submitting this to YeastSpotting, which is a weekly showcase of yeasted baked goods and dishes with bread as a main ingredient. If you love baking with yeast, check out the beautiful breads and other yeast recipes here.

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.


Friday, 1 January 2010

Sugar High Friday #60 : Holiday Edition Round-Up!

Happy New Year!

Thanks for all the entries for this month's Sugar High Friday. It looks like you all enjoyed the festive holidays and have come up with some truly stunning desserts and sweet treats!
I've discovered lots of new, wonderful blogs, have made some new friends along the way and have a list of great recipes to try out this year!

Here are all your wonderful creations, in the order that they came in:

Dhanggit from Dhanggit's Kitchen celebrated her birthday with this beautiful festive Orange Charlotte with Chocolate Porto Sabayon. Sabayon is an Italian cream which is perfect for your citrus fruit salads. Happy Birthday to you Dhanggit, and I hope your romantic-gastronomic escapade with your husband was magical!

Mansi from Fun and Food Cafe works wonders with saffron - she shares her recipe for Saffron-Kissed Strawberry Muffins. They are light, airy and soft, with just the perfect amount of sweetness and adding the saffron gives the muffins a wonderful aroma!

Mansi's second entry from her Food and Fun Blog was this deceptively simple Chocolate Raspberry Pudding. Mansi urges us to use raspberries instead of cranberries in our desserts this year, and paired with chocolate and almonds I can see why!

Laura from The Spiced Life challenged herself to make caramel, and comes up with some amazing Salty Vanilla Bean Caramel Chews. There's something wonderful about the sweet and salty combination, but it would be hard to resist eating just one!

Graziana from Erbe in cucina (Cooking with herbs) is trying many new Christmas recipes this year. One of these recipes is Pepparkakor, Swedish Christmas Cookies - which are spiced traditional Christmas cookies from Sweden, with ginger, cloves and cinnamon. You could store these in a jar, but I think they will be gone long before they even see the jar!

Maunika from Cook in a Curry is keeping in with the Christmas spirit. She has made a delightful Berry Meringue Terrine, which can be made ahead of time and frozen until the festivities get under way. Meringues, crushed raspberries & strawberries, mixed with crème fraiche and some berry coulis is my idea of festive heaven!

Arfi from HomeMadeS has created one of my favourite holiday treats, French Macarons. Using milk chocolate, flavoured with raspberry essence and plum coloured powder, the macarons transform into the most fabulous Christmas gifts and Arfi is baking them for her neighbours, family and friends this year - aren't they lucky?

Vanille from At Down Under has made me very jealous with her Chocolates Filled with Pistachio Paste. She's going to be sharing them with her sister during the Christmas holidays, I wonder if she knows she has a long lost sister in the UK!

Susan from Food Blogga has captured my heart with her Easy Ginger Chocolate Truffles. I adore ginger, and these rich chocolate truffles are enhanced with spicy candied ginger. Pop them into decorative foil cups and you have fabulous festive holiday gifts!

Soma from eCurry comes armed with pomegranates! You can't help but get into the holiday mood with her Layered Pomegranates, Cranberry and Chocolate Mousse. It's an easy mousse to make, and you can decorate and serve it in individual cups. I'll be humming holiday tunes all day after a taste of this!

Ben from What’s cooking? warms us up with a hot Christmas drink called Rompope Atole, which is popular in Mexico. It's a Mexican egg punch created during the colonial era in the convents of the city of Puebla. One particular nun went to great lengths to convince the church to let other nuns enjoy this delicious drink, I wouldn't need telling twice that a small cup of this would be good for me!

Saveur from Taste Space has the holiday season all figured out with her Cranberry Buckle with Vanilla Crumb. It's a cake with vanilla streusel topping and comes complete with 'dancing cranberries'! Just make sure you don't halve the recipe because the leftovers taste just as good!

Bee and Jai from Jugalbandi made me laugh out loud when I read their post about making Vegan Nutella (Hazelnut-Chocolate Spread). The recipe comes with a statutory warning, which should be carefully heeded, but make it and you will be blissfully rewarded - especially if you spread it on toast with grilled bananas!

Bong Mom from Bong Mom's Cookbook brings us the warm fuzzy feeling of the holidays with her Nutella Chocolate Truffles. These truffles will light up your cold days, and make great holiday gifts, but best of all, they are so easy an 8 year old could make them!

Judith from Foodie Loves Baking has indulged us with some fabulous Gingerbread Cupcakes. Not only are they spicy, dense and laced with drunken rum soaked raisins, the cream cheese frosting has been infused with orange zest!

Anne from Anne's Kitchen gets all nostalgic with her festive Sweet Christmas Cracker. Using all butter puff pastry, boozy mincemeat and an extra scattering of Barbados rum soaked sultanas, Anne then decorates her cracker with colourful glace cherries, slices of orange, silver balls and finally a sprinkle of hazelnut crackle - wow!

Ulrike from Kuechenlatein has made this special dessert called Spekutlatius-Tiramisu. It's a simple, but light and delicious dessert, made from Spekutlatius, which are spiced biscuits in the shape of a human or other figure, and is eaten at Christmas in Germany.

Cathy x from aficionado can no longer consider herself a pie making virgin, as she adds this Cherry Pie with Almond Pastry Cream to her baking repertoire! The pie is stunning, made with weaved-lattice crust and tender, flaky, buttery pastry; filled to the brim with sweet, black and bubbling cherries; smothered with velvet-smooth pastry cream, infused with the nutty, earthy taste of almonds.

Zorra from 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf had the idea of turning some traditional Puerto Rican Christmas Punch into some festive Coquito Ice Cream. In doing so, she created a unique Christmas dessert that is very addictive!

Deeba from Passionate About Baking carries on an annual tradition when she makes her Mom's Christmas Fruit Cake. It's got a special secret ingredient - garam masala, which just enhances the flavour throughout the cake once mixed with cinnamon & brandy etc. Some of the best recipes are those which have been handed down and if you make this a few of weeks in advance, you will be rewarded with a luxurious mature cake!

Kristen from Something Sweet has thrilled me with this easy-to-put-together Rustic Apple-Cranberry Tart. You can use any fruit combination you like, but sweet apples and tart cranberries are particularly welcome for the festive season.

Wizzythestick from Breakfast Lunch Dinner and Punch says it just wouldn't be Christmas without her Black Cake. She actually has to mail tins of this wonderful Caribbean cake to her friends and family abroad who crave a taste of home. And if you make it, don't forget to drench it in a whole bottle of rum!

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe had to exercise great self-control to stop nibbling her warm Chocolate Panforte, and who can blame her when she used home-made fruit mince! Her mother loved the Panforte so much that she encouraged Johanna to make one to take to her grandmother for Christmas!

NerdMom from NerdFamily Food has used chocolate to give her Super Easy Chocolate Pecan Pie a twist. This fabulous pie has become their family tradition, for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and no-one will ever know if you cheat and use a deep dish frozen pie crust!

Jennifer Hamilton from Domestic Goddess and creator of SHF comes armed with Cranberry Bliss Bars, a copy-cat recipe of the delicious treats you can only get from Starbucks...until now! The bars are sweet, tart, delicious; a hybrid of a cookie and a cake and topped with scrumptious cream cheese frosting. The perfect treat to put you in the holiday mood!

Mangocheeks from allotment2kitchen admits to never having made Christmas biscuits before, but you would never know that after seeing these amazing Cranberry 'Belly' Robin Biscuits! The biscuits were made using a template cut from an old Christmas card, and they are beautifully decorated with fresh cranberries - an ingredient that has gained worldwide popularity lately.

And finally my own SHF entry, Mince Pie Ice Cream!

If you sent me an entry and it's not here, it's possible it got lost on the way or eaten by the spam box. Please email me again and I'll include it - thanks!

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Thank you once again for all your wondefully festive entries, the holiday season may be coming to an end, but these recipes can be enjoyed throughout the year, or put on your list for the next time we are celebrating something special!

And many thanks to Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess, for letting me host this month.

Jennifer is looking for a host for January's SHF, just go to her page and email her for the details!

Hope you all had a wonderful festive holiday!

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.