30.10.11

Bananas and Burgers

I'm spending the weekend at my boyfriend's mums house and last night we decided to cook up a storm in the kitchen to give his mum a rest from cooking for us.
My boyfriend wanted to do something with fish so I suggested we do a salmon in papillote and set to looking through http://photograzing.seriouseats.com/ to find an inspirational recipe. What I did stumble upon was a total gem. It wasn't a recipe for fish en papillote, but for a salmon burger. When they say it's the best, they really mean it. The flavours were so well complemented and the salmon remained deliciously moist. Here's the link for the best salmon burger.
Dessert, of course, was my responsibility. So I gave my boyfriend the choice of three recipes and he chose the banana pudding one. I may have slightly helped his choice my saying, not entirely truthfully, that it was like a take on a banoffee pie. In fact it had nothing to do with a banoffee pie apart from the bananas, but it was a great pudding, and I was pleased I could get my hands on some real vanilla pods so didn't have to use essence because it really does make a difference to the taste. I made mine in little ramekins and they were the perfect size. Unfortunately we were too hungry to take photos of the burgers and then I was too keen to try the dessert to take photos of that! But the blogs that I found them on have lovely pictures anyway. Here's the link for a lovely banana pudding.
It's halloween tomorrow so what I really want to do instead of writing my essays is make lots of spooky treats. We'll see what I decide. Happy baking.

17.10.11

Great British Bake Off...do I have a chance?

I have applied for the Great British Bake Off (3). It's official. I don't really rate my chances but for a laugh my friend told me "Why not?!". So, I did it.
That then led me to think...wait a minute I have never even attempted to make half of the recipes that featured on Great British Bake Off (2). So I went onto amazon and ordered the official book.
Of course I had to wait until I visited my parents to actually have a chance to make anything from is as my university baking cupboard has limited utensils and ingredients do not come cheap.
What I really wanted to make were melting moments (are they the same as Viennese whirls?) because I wanted to test out my piping skills.
I set about mixing up the ingredients. However, I stumbled at the first hurdle of creaming the butter with the icing sugar. For some reason the butter was very watery and so so yellow and would just not become light and fluffy. I called upon some man power in the form of my father, which brought the mixture slightly more towards a reasonable texture. But without being able to make it any better I decided to just use what I had, so added the flour and continued. Now, I don't know if it was because of the inferior creaming kills I seemed to possess, or just a fault with the ingredient amounts but there was no way that the mixture I ended up with for the biscuits could be piped, no matter how hard I tried! So I used my favourite tool: my hands, and shaped the mixture into small balls and then pinched around in a twirly fashion to mimic (very badly) the shape piping it would have made.
All-in-all I didn't have high hopes for the outcome, especially not for the "melting"ness.
But lo-and-behold, they came out of the oven perfectly golden and biting into the finished product definitely gave the desired "meting" effect of the biscuit. 
So I may not have got 10/10 for presentation likeness, but taste I think I have in the bag.
Here they are (I have included the recipe from the book in my "recipe" section):

I am about to eat the last one with a cup of tea whilst I get on with my uni work. I will definitely make it last...at least in my memory that is.

Following the bake off theme, I was able to spend the weekend with my boyfriend at my parents home and one night we decided to have our own bake off. Now, I have to admit we both took the easy route with this because we were doing pasta bakes and we used a ready made Dolmio sauce in our bakes! I did have the best intentions to make my own but our local tesco didn't have any passata or any mascarpone so my plans were scuppered. Here's a photo of both of our bakes (you decide which you think is best)
My boyfriend's is on the left: a bacon and chicken italian bake; and mine on the right is  a salmon bake with pine nuts and spinach (the recipe called for basil but again the shop let me down)
They were both really good bakes so I will give you the links to the recipes just incase you fancy a meaty bake or a fishy bake on these cold autumn nights. chicken and bacon pasta bakeSalmon pasta bake recipe

4.10.11

Should people really be putting a limit on thank you's?

So, I've been having some trouble with my parking (I think I mentioned this before) but a kind family on my street helped me out by giving me visitor passes for almost two weeks. I made them a crumble slice the first time they gave me some, and then I had to ask for some more passes so the next time I went back to my parents I made them some wholemeal chocolate chip cookies to thank them for helping me again. Only this time they weren't so grateful. In fact, the words used were "I think that's enough thank yous" now. I'm not really where to go from here as it just shocked me too much. I had to hold my self back from turning around and demanding the cookies back from them. That's how good those cookies are. Thanks again to "Wholegrain goodness"!