On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place


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Muesli Bread

Another weekend goes by where I’ve not baked. Ok, that’s not quite true. Last weekend I did make a batch of muffins, but hardly anything to shout from the rooftops.

Missing some slashes

Muesli Bread minus the slashes (I forgot)

So far no baking this weekend either, and I can’t imagine there will be.  It’s close to dinner time and tomorrow I’m out at Lindy’s taking a handpainting class with Amber from Wildberry Cakes. That’s handpainting on fondant. So while I’m not making a cake to practice some new technique, I will be doing something within the “cake decorating” realm. I hope I don’t suck at it completely. It’s been some years since I did anything remotely artistic with drawing. And even then (despite having won a prize) it was as a child and I can’t imagine it was really very good.

Anyhow, I do have a recipe to share, something I made a couple of weekends ago, something that I’d spied several months ago and was itching to make if I could convince Mr Fussy it would be alright, and he wouldn’t die from trying.

2014-02-07 20.13.51I did convince Mr Fussy, but had to concede a few ingredients to make it palatable for him. I upped the amount of dried fruit and skipped the almonds. Instead I added some apricots (the start with A, so it’s a fair replacement – right?) and more fruit, up to one cup max.

Dumping in all the seeds/nuts and dried fruits

Dumping in all the seeds/nuts and dried fruits

Although the recipe didn’t say you could leave the dough overnight in the fridge, that’s just what I did. I went to the original source of the recipe and King Arthur Flour where it was explained you can leave the dough in the fridge for many days before using.

Talk about another easy yeast bread to make. I added everything together in the same bowl. Once it was mixed I did a few stretch and folds of the dough before covering the bowl with Gladwrap, leaving it in the fridge until I was ready the next day.

About 3 stretch and folds. It's sticky so you'll need to oil the bench.

About 3 stretch and folds. It’s sticky so you’ll need to oil the bench.

I made a few mistakes in preparing it for baking. I didn’t have it out as long it should have been to rest and I forgot to cut the slashes into the top.

I used half of the dough for our lunch and the remaining half the following day for lunch. Yes, both times I forgot the slashes.

Slow rise overnight in the fridge

Cover and leave to rise slowly overnight in the fridge

The bread was really lovely. Despite not having any spices in it, it had a surprising spicy flavour to it. It reminded me of hot cross buns. It was a bit baffling I have to confess, since I new there were no spices in the ingredients. I can only put it down to using the Jumbo Raisins (I’ve found them at Pak ‘n Save and New World supermarkets). There seems to be 3 varieties in the raisins and eating them raw, each has a unique flavour.

Try to let the bread rest 15 minutes after removing from the oven. It's hard to resist but do your best.

Try to let the bread rest 15 minutes after removing from the oven. It’s hard to resist but do your best.

My MIL really liked the bread and Mr Fussy also didn’t mind it. I think I might even get away with making it again!

We ate it all!  Each slice loaded with butter - of course.

We ate it all! Each slice loaded with butter – of course.


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No Knead Brioche

Brioche1Have you heard of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day?  I’ve made it once. It was fine, but I didn’t quite get all the hoopla. Which is kinda funny now that I re-read that post. I was quite taken by the whole idea and happy with how that bread turned out. I even said the recipe was “a keeper”. For all that I’ve never made another batch of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day.

Moving on. This recipe for Brioche has some similarities. Similar in that it could be kept in the fridge for several days and there was no kneading. Perhaps that’s where the similarities end, but it felt familiar.

First riseWhat I liked about this recipe is how easy it was for Brioche. That the recipe didn’t use as much butter (which may be the make or break of Brioche) and I could make it at night and it would be ready for breakfast 36 hours later. The recipe says it should be baked between 24 and 48 hours.

In time for breakfast, well, it took the 3 hours for rising and with me popping it in a pre-heated oven (to 50 deg, then turned off) for 40 minutes. By then everyone had risen and we ate normal breakfast while this was baking.

Prepare for bakingBut we had it for lunch.

I really get a kick out of watching bread rise, then transform as it bakes. Once the bread was out of the oven I brushed melted butter over it. I was transfixed looking at this beautiful bread from every angle. I loved seeing how those 6 little rolled balls had joined forces and baked as one.

This is only the second time I have baked Brioche, actually only the second time I’ve eaten Brioche. If it hadn’t been for Mum’s curiosity asking if we’d been served it at breakfast when we were traveling, I probably wouldn’t have looked into it, and tried my hand at baking it.

Baked ready for devouringWith that said, I really don’t know what it should be like in texture, but it looked pretty much like the photo. The reason I’m saying this is that this Brioche went a bit gummy when chewing it. It was perfectly baked, it looked like bread should be, but as soon as I began chewing it changed. I’m not saying it didn’t taste good, but the experience wasn’t what I expected. For all that, I don’t know if that is how it’s meant to be, because I’ve only eaten it from my own baking, and the first time I made Brioche Snails, baked differently than a true loaf.

I might have been a bit stingy, though we all had 2 slices each, but I purposefully kept enough aside so I could try it as French Toast.

I used my usual “recipe” as the base, but omitted the orange peel, and used cinnamon sugar. Mr Fussy doesn’t like French Toast, what’s a bet he’s never had it, and I don’t think my MIL does either.

BriocheAs French Toast it was fabulous. I had enough for French Toast this morning as well. Will I be saying this recipe is a keeper too? Why not. I like French Toast, but I wouldn’t eat it as plain sliced bread from the loaf (maybe it needs toasting?). I think I’ll give Dean Brettschneider’s Apricot Brioche Breakfast Plait a go.

If you are familiar with Brioche, I’d love to know what it’s like to chew. Does it go a bit gummy as you chew or is it just mine? Should it be eaten as is, or are you expected to pop it in the toaster? I image toasting it would solve the gummy problem.


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Waffles – Annabel Langbein’s recipe


Annabel Langbein Waffles

Long weekends seem like the perfect excuse for having waffles for breakfast. It’s not a weekend breakfast we regularly have, but if the mood takes me, this is what I fall back to for making breakfast a little more special.

We’ve had waffles and Louise and Simon’s place several times before and it’s because of those waffles I bought a waffle maker.

Now it was my turn to give their recipe a go. Up until now I’ve made the Overnight Waffle Recipe which I got from Smitten Kitchen blog.

While I’ve been really happy with these waffles, I’d been meaning to try the recipe Louise emailed me, and I just couldn’t be bothered making the waffle batter the night before. I was having a lazy night.

Breakfast beginnings

Louise typed out the recipe that she got from “The best of Annabel Langbein Great food for Busy Lives”. Louise knows that I’m really petrified about the copyright laws. So often I wont write a recipe out (especially from American websites) rather link back to the original recipe, unless I tweak the recipe and feel like typing the whole thing out, or I’ll just explain my tweaks.

Anyway, I found a website that had typed out the recipe, though I’ve only just realised Louise had written the waffle batter could be left overnight, or 2 hours. The recipe I followed from this blog only mentioned leaving it a couple of hours, so that’s what I did.

I made the batter using farm fresh eggs. Ruth had given me a dozen on Wednesday and I knew I’d be using some of them this weekend with the Christmas Cakes I was planning to bake.

1310_Farm eggs-2-2

Just look at how yellow the batter is. The flash has whitened the yellow but you can still see the colour is a little richer than you get from supermarket eggs.

I used my double whisk to hand whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. I actually set the microwave timer to see how long it took me. I was pretty impressed that at one minute I almost had the stiff peaks. Another minute and I’d almost gone too far!

Although I was having a lazy night Friday, I still made a half batch of Pizza dough and caramel sauce. I’m planning another Caramel Chocolate Tart for dessert on Monday along with my much-anticipated Pork Belly for dinner. During our weekly grocery shop I’d picked up a couple of extra punnets of Strawberries (Mr Fussy has a fresh fruit salad each day of the work week and during summer, when strawberries are in season, he’ll add those as an extra fruit).

Breakfast was Strawberries and caramel sauce plastered all over the waffles. I only made a half recipe of the waffles. 8-10 waffles was going to be too many for us, since it was just Mr Fussy and I for breakfast.

1310_Stiff Egg Whites Folded-2-2

As for the waffles, I loved that the batter was thicker which meant it never spilt over the edge of the waffle maker as they baked, but the waffles weren’t as nice as when we’ve had them with Louise and Simon. They were almost glugy on the inside. They were lovely and crisp on the outside, but a bit doughy on the inside. Maybe I needed a bit more liquid. I must admit I don’t like recipes that don’t give flour as a weight measure. You can end up with too little or too much when you’re measuring in a cup. Perhaps I had too much flour since I did use my usual 140gm = 1 cup measure, and had to then covert the half recipe. I think I might have forgotten to halve the ¼ cup of flour.

1310_Making Waffles-2-2

Nevermind. It was still a very filling breakfast, and still enjoyable, just not as nice as I’d expected based on past experience. Any opportunity to have caramel sauce is a worthwhile meal  🙂

Always better with Caramel sauce


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Another birthday, but bucking the traditions somewhat

It was my MIL’s birthday on Friday and for birthdays on that side of the family, the tradition is to have KFC and Christmas Pudding. I kid you not!

Mr Fussy and I have run away the last few years for our birthdays, and I can tell you we’ve not missed that birthday meal one little bit. I was a bit shocked that my MIL decided against KFC this year too. But first we’ll start at the beginning which involved Waffles for breakfast using a recipe I’ve previously posted, and Caramel Sauce. I’ve also posted that too. Waffles aren’t necessarily “special” in our house, they don’t require some occasion to be made, but they’re not made every weekend either. Having Caramel Sauce on them for breakfast, is a little decadent and that did make them just a bit special. Just one note on the caramel sauce, I used the full measure of Fleur de sel salt. It really is a bit more salty than I’ve previously had, but I think that’s because the salt doesn’t dissolve and it seems to settle at the bottom of the spoon or jar, so you’re left with the last mouthful giving a full blast of salt.

Waffles with Caramel Sauce

Given that it’s still winter (but it’s on the way out) the berries were Sujon frozen berries. I drained the juice into a pot, added a few teaspoons of sugar and after it came to the boil added a bit of cornflour which I’d mixed together with a spoonful of the boiling juice. I let boil again for a few more minutes. It made a nice little sauce. Two sauces, now that’s getting a bit carried away.

I wont come as a surprise to you that I was pretty much over eating (and over-eating) at the end of afternoon tea.

During Thursday night I torted and crumb coated the cake. I used the White Almond Sour Cream (WASC) cake with lemon extract. And I used the left over Swiss Meringue Buttercream( SMBC) from Dad’s 70th cake. I realised that SMBC wasn’t quite the same as it had been pre-frozen. It almost looked like it was weeping some liquid. And I realised that despite adding a bit more icing sugar, it would be too soft to take the weight of fondant.

Friday night I made a buttercream out of Butter, Crisco and icing sugar, and I made it quite stiff. Funny thing is, I could take a teaspoon of the frosting and then roll it between my hands and make a sausage from it. And believe you me, I used it like that. With the stiffness of the normal buttercream, and the slippery SMBC, I was having a really hard job getting a good coverage. The buttercream kept pulling away from the cake as I was smoothing it. I kept at it and in the end just had to give up. I used paper towels to try and even things out and smooth as much as I could. But it wasn’t a flash job and I expected the fondant to show up every one of those uneven surfaces. I also expected the fondant to bulge, that the SMBC would burst through the buttercream and have its wicked way causing all my fears to be realised. But that actually didn’t happen.  There’s a lesson to be learnt here. The SMBC I made is perfect for use the day it’s made, but not suitable for freezing and re-using.

Covering the birthday cake

You can see how the teal SMBC has come through the outer layer frosting. I did end up with a few air pockets around the side (and one I missed from the top) but managed to press them out. The scissors were made with a silicone mould and took a really long time to get the gumpaste/fondant to fit and sit right given I had to basically cut out the finger holes before putting the mould into the fridge. I think each one (there’s only 5) took around 10 minutes each. I had coloured the gumpaste/fondant lilac. I had read purple fades and sure enough, these are now grey, a really non-descript colour anyway.

I managed to find a way to make some gumpaste Tulip flowers in secret. Not easy when your MIL lives with you and is always around when you’re home.  Unfortunately you can’t see the really nice dusting of white sparkle and the yellow and green powder around the base of each flower and up the centre of each petal (the yellow).

TulipsBut I got there, having to hide them away in a wardrobe out of sight. In fact, when I was making the Mexican paste patchwork scissors I had Mr Fussy on guard duty to tell me when my MIL was returning from church and then I hurriedly moved the lot into our bedroom and then had to wait until the coast was clear again to finish them off. It was tiring being all covert.

Patchwork scissor cutter

I made the cookies last weekend and put them into the freezer. I then used a silver dusting powder with vodka to paint the blades. I made sure the dust was non-toxic and food safe. But I forgot to check the petal dusts I used for the coloured handles. The magenta ones are NOT suitable for eating. The petal dusts were awful to use with Vodka. The dust clumped and wouldn’t brush on easily. The magenta on the other hand was really nice to use. I guess what makes it easy to apply is what makes it unsuitable for eating. I iced the cookies Friday night too (make caramel, ice and cover the cake, make waffle batter and ice and decorate the cookies – it was midnight before I got to bed). I thought it would be nice to pipe the royal icing to mimic the scalloped edge of the cookie. Yes it would be nice, if I could do it. I was busy getting my phone to take a photo of how badly I was doing when I dropped the phone onto the cookie ruining the royal icing. See that yellow cookies?  That’s fondant. I scraped the royal icing off (the next morning when I had a brainwave of how I might be able to recover my faux pa) and then cut out fondant using the same shaped cutter, just one size smaller. Then I added the white dots in the ugly scallops I’d piped. The cookie bottom left, well the disposable bag actually slipped right off the coupler. I decided that was the last sign I needed to pack up and call it a night. Not my best work. But I learnt some valuable lessons, and no one pointed and laughed – thankfully Smile

I woke on Saturday far too soon for someone who didn’t get to sleep until after midnight. I slipped out of bed to the kitchen to see how bad the cake looked, fully expecting the fondant to have bulged due to the soft SMBC. But it hadn’t. Win!

After everyone had left me to it in the kitchen I put in the plastic dowel so that I could then feed the wires from the Tulips into the cake.

Attaching the flower arrangement

This is called a floating arrangement. The stems are fake. They are a plastic tubing. I melted a Wilton Candy Melt to put over the cut end to make it less obvious what it was. I should have used royal icing or softened fondant but that was too much trouble for the time I had available. The ribbon is covering up the join from where the flowers and leaves are then attached to the fake stems.

We skipped lunch, really who needed it knowing afternoon tea was coming. I spent a little bit of time knocking up the Rosemary Flatbread and then it was time to lay it all out for afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea

After the cake was cut Mr Fussy was asking why I wasn’t taking a photo. See, everyone now knows that all food must be photographed. I was reluctant, it gets a little embarrassing, but I took his question as permission. So here’s the cake, and the only reason I’m really showing the photo is to show how much the buttercream and fondant are a perfect match. See I did something right, and I wasn’t even trying Open-mouthed smile

A slice of birthday cake

I was a bit disappointed in the flavour of the cake. I had flavoured it with lemon extract. I knew it didn’t have that flavour when I torted the cake and took a nibble of the discarded top. I flavoured the buttercream and I could taste that. Without the buttercream it would have been a pretty bland cake. So I’m not sure I’ll make this my vanilla cake of choice. Back to the drawing board.

And as if we’d not had enough sweetness in the day, dessert for dinner was not Christmas Pudding (which we do have in our pantry – bought after Christmas when they’re on special, with the sole purpose of having for birthdays), but a variation, a fruit mince tart. My MIL requested Silverside for dinner since it’s something my BIL doesn’t often get, and she knew he’d enjoy it. Anyway the point of mentioning this is the crockpot was in use with the piece of silverside, so I was without the usual warming method for a Christmas pudding, hence the fruit mince tart.

This side of the family don’t have any warm pudding without custard. Oh my, as if my belly wasn’t already full, custard as well? No thank you! I put a spoonful of whipped cream on mine. Yeah I know, hardly doing without the extra empty calories Winking smile

Fruit Mince Tart

I’ve now used the last portion of the pastry I made for the Lemon Meringue Tart. I should have made fruit mince tart in a smaller flan dish to give a little more thickness to the pastry since I emptied 3 pottles of Tasti Fruit Mince into this shell. And as you’d expect, once I cut into the tart the filling oozed out.

Boy, what a huge day eating non-stop. Well it felt like non-stop. There’s been left over tart for pudding tonight. At first I vowed not to have any, then as I was rejuvenating the custard I decided I’d finish off the last of the prunes and have custard with it, which progressed to me nibbling at the pastry since the tart was directly in front of me. I have no restraint when it comes to desserts. None at all.


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Waffles for breakfast

I wasted no time using the Waffle maker after having bought it. Just 1 day later the batter was made and left on the bench to rest overnight.

Waffle ingredients

The recipe is simple and the fact you can leave it overnight and just chuck in the eggs and baking soda just seconds before needing the batter makes this breakfast so easy. I can see why some people might have waffles every day. It’s certainly less effort and energy than the Muesli.

Batter ready to rest

The batter was really interesting. I watched it closely during the evening and noticed that it had risen well. But then it deflated. And I worried. I didn’t know why but hoped it was ok. By the time we wandered off to bed it had begun to rise again. So strange.

Morning after a rest

You can see from this photo the point that it had risen before deflating. And you can still see the batter has risen.

The texture was strange, sort of think and spongy. And I wasn’t sure how it would actually turn out once the eggs and baking soda had been added.

Eggs and baking soda added

I needn’t have worried. It came good and was a lovely light thin batter.

Because the waffle maker was new I really didn’t know what setting to use for the colour, or how much batter was needed. I started out with the recommended 1/2 cup and put the bake setting at 3 of 6. The middle of the road seemed a sensible place to start.

A bit of spillage

I wasn’t really surprised there was some spillage. From what I read you just leave it as it. Trying to clean up was only going to smear the stuff and make it harder to clean. So left it I did. Sometimes the spilled batter pulled away when the waffle was removed. That was handy. And it certainly was easy enough to wipe clean. But see that groove. Batter in there was a bit fiddly. I used a toothpick and dragged it through that groove which pretty much sorted things out.

In the end this much shy of a half cup was about as perfect as I reckon I’ll get.

A bit shy of half a cup of batter

My MIL asked if it was like a pancake batter. And I guess it pretty much is, except the part about using yeast in it.

The recipe is one I’d spied on Deb’s blog, Smitten Kitchen. I thoroughly recommend adding it to your list of recipes to try. Light and crisp, these were a real treat to eat.

Essential Raised Waffles

Ingredients

1/2 cup warm water (about 105 to 110 degrees, so not too hot)
7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (use the yellow lidded Edmonds yeast)
2 cups milk, warmed (again, not too hot)
115 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups (250 grams) standard flour
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Oil or melted butter for waffle iron

Instructions

To a large bowl add add the water and sprinkle the yeast over.

Gently stir the yeast to help it dissolve then leave it around 15 minutes to begin to foam.

While the yeast and water and sitting for 15 minutes melt the butter and leave aside to cool.

In a medium bowl add the flour, salt and sugar and mix together.

Warm the milk in a glass measuring jug by popping it in the microwave for 10 or so seconds to take the chill off it. Give the milk a bit of a stir then microwave again in 10 second bursts until it’s just warmer than body temperature, so it’s just warm to the touch.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk and melted, but cooled butter.

If the batter appears to be lumpy use a whisk which will mostly work the lumps out.

Cover the batter and leave it overnight.

If you do happen to watch it, you may find that it will rise and fall and rise again. Don’t be worried by this.

The next morning add the eggs and baking soda and mix with either a wooden spoon, spatula or whisk.

Once you’ve mixed the remaining ingredients you’re ready to go.

When the waffle maker is up to temperature (mine makes a noise to let me know), add about 1/2 cup of batter and use a spatula to move the batter to reach the edges if it’s a bit lazy to move that way without assistance.

Your waffle maker may required more or less batter and may not need any coaxing of batter to reach the edges.

A light crisp waffle

You can see there was a little more batter to the edges than needed but I still reckon this is a pretty good looking waffle.

Then the toppings are endless. You could cover in a light dusting of icing sugar (confectioners sugar), sliced fresh fruit, yoghurt, sauces of any type or curd. We had ours with frozen mixed berries and a mix of equal parts softly whipped cream and lemon curd. That cream/curd combination is just perfect for me. Such a treat.

Serving ideas

Have as much or as little as you like.

And then you can go all out and slice up bananas over the top of warmed caramel sauce and toss the bananas a little.

This is what I did on the Sunday. It was more a dessert than breakfast, but since it was 9am I’m pretty sure it was breakfast.

Banana and caramel sauce

It was better than good, it was GREAT.

I made my own lemon curd using this recipe, and the caramel sauce was left over from when I made caramel sauce for the Apple Pie. You can find the recipe (for both), here.

Those of you in New Zealand enjoying a long weekend this weekend, Queen’s Birthday weekend, get your laughing gear around these. You have time to start the batter now ready for a very lovely light breakfast treat tomorrow.


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Not looking forward to the power bill

Our last power bill arrived on Friday. It’s the highest bill we’ve ever had. And it’s not yet Winter.

But did that stop me from using the oven this week?  No.

I’ve got so much to share. It’s almost frightening all the things that have happened this weekend I want to jot down and share on my blog.

Thank goodness this time next week we’ll be in Melbourne and I’ll have a week of shopping, relaxing, and catching up on my posts.

But in the meantime here’s a preview of what I’ve got tucked away ready to give a blow by blow account of.

Let’s start at the very beginning. That would be Friday. This is a progression of the weekend from start to finish.

Friday

I first made Lemon Curd because I wanted to have the lemon curd with soft whipped cream on the waffles I was making.

So following the curd came making the waffle recipe which used yeast and had an overnight rest.

We had waffles for breakfast both Saturday and today.

Start to finish - Waffles

This morning I more of less had dessert rather than breakfast. I used the caramel sauce I made a few weekends ago with chopped up banana. Oh my goodness. What a terrific way to start off the day!

But we’re not yet finished with Friday.

If there was one thing I really wanted to put to bed this weekend it was finding out if I could make an Angry Bird fondant topper. But to begin with I needed to make the cake balls. I used a 9” strawberry cake layer I had in the freezer with some left over strawberry frosting and I was good to get rolling.

Cake balls

Alastair at work, one of our Account Managers, was kind enough to buy me some liquid egg whites which he’d seen on one of his many trips to Wellington. What he’s doing in the supermarket I’m unsure of, I must ask. Anyway the egg whites were best by 1 June and we’re away so there’ll be no baking being done for a week. What intrigued me was the note on the back of the packet saying “not suitable for whipping”. So I had to experiment, right?

Liquid Egg Meringues

These actually might have been great had I not burnt them. I gave the best to my sister with a bottle of cream and some frozen berries and suggested she crumble them up and serve it for pudding.

Ok, Friday done and dusted.

Saturday

Other than the waffles for breakfast, that was it until mid afternoon. I was off to Mercato, meeting mum there, to learn about tempering chocolate, making ganache and understanding all sorts of things about chocolate. I had a thoroughly good time, learnt a ton of new information, sampled everything that was made (and there was a lot!) and handed around (cocoa nibs, and all sorts of Valrhona goodies). I then proceeded to buy a bunch of stuff in preparation for home made pizzas for Sunday.

I had a late start arriving home after 3pm but got onto a Lemon Meringue Tart. I got the recipe from a French blog, but the lemon cream is the same I have previously made. Both the dough and the lemon cream needed to be made a day ahead.

Stages of a Lemon Meringue Tart

And tonight I made Italian Meringue. I’ve never made it before. And I learnt heaps.

Made Saturday, and completed Sunday. I started the day with more or less dessert, and ended the day the same way.

I’m not yet done with Saturday, because I decided to get cracking and try to make an Angry Bird character.

The first Angry Bird I made wasn’t particularly “angry” looking. So with a bit of feedback from Facebook I re-made the red bird on Sunday. Oops, I just realised I deleted all the photos I took of it because it wasn’t right.

Here’s a few photos I took on my phone.

Red bird, first attempt

To round out the evening I made yet another batch of meringues. This was using rehydrated egg albumen. I was almost certain it wouldn’t work and secretly glad that I would be able to just wash the bowl and sit down. But oh no. It actually worked. Not wanting to over cook the meringues this time I turned the temperature down and checked the meringues every 10 minutes from 40 minutes on. And guess what, they seemed dry at around 80 minutes and this morning when I touched them, they’re tacky. Geez.

Egg Albumen Meringues

Sunday

Well there was a repeat of Waffles. They were so light and crisp.

Then it was onto rolling the dough for the tart, letting it sit in the fridge for 3 hour before baking, then filling it an hour before adding the meringue. And as I mentioned, making an Italian meringue. It’s the type of meringue you make for a Bombe Alaska. It’s cooked when the boiling liquid syrup is slowly added to the egg whites. But it’s not all that attractive stark white. And without a little butane torch I popped it under the grill for to brown.

During the morning I made 2 other characters from Angry Birds and repeated the red bird. I reckon I proved I can make these, well at least these 3 characters.

Angry Bird characters

I made a quick lunch using puff pasty filled with a nice Cranberry chutney, shaved ham and Cheshire cheese. It’s a recipe I used before and have blogged about in the past. Really simple, quick and easy and full of flavour and texture.

Following lunch I made a quick batch of Mr Fussy’s Vanilla cookies. He almost begged me not to make cupcakes. He’s over them. And I don’t blame him at all. So am I, but I didn’t have any last week, and only 1 the week before. It’s been left to Mr Fussy to eat them ALL. But he loves his Vanilla cookies and they’re a breeze to make.

So along with the cookies I made the pizza dough. This is a recipe I’ve made several times now and love. This time I used Wholewheat flour as the original recipe calls for but in the past I’ve used Semolina flour instead.

V Cookies and Pizza Dough

Then I had just enough time to prep pumpkin and kumara for roasting, along with another clove of garlic and get all the meat and other veggies cut ready for making pizzas. There’s quite a lot of work to do all that.

I found a little bit of time to tend to my worm farm, fold laundry and trim some trees before getting properly stuck into making dinner, and that meringue.

So I owe anyone here reading a few detailed posts about all of this, and for me too. I refer back to my own recipes when I want to remake something.

 

It’s been a very adventurous weekend, I’m exhausted but I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thank goodness there’s just one week of work before a holiday. At this pace I’m going to wear myself (and the oven) out.


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Brioche Snails

Ahh bread. Love it. And really enjoying working with it.

It’s been almost 12 months since we were on the other side of the world. I remember while in Paris Mum asked if we’d had Brioche for breakfast yet.

Truth is I didn’t know what it was. I had to Google it. The best I could do was take a photo of a Brioche loaf that we found in the little Supermarket.

Over past few months I’ve bookmarked a few Brioche recipes. Actually I’ve bookmarked a LOT of recipes.

This is a photo of what was I grabbed for our first breakfast at the hotel , and that photo from the Supermarket. Whatever it is on the left of the plate is what I thought Brioche might be. I’m still not sure.

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Interesting that what we see as a bit of a specialty bread is sold at the supermarket like any loaf of bread.

Almost 12 months later I gave Brioche a go. And it was relatively easy if only I could understand the written instructions. I’ll get to that in a minute.

This is what the Brioche Snails look like complete, with Lime Frosting:

Single serve Brioche Snail

But we need to look at how we got there, and what the journey was like.

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s book My Home to Yours. I don’t have the book, but someone had kindly copied the recipe out, and then someone else had been part of “Tuesday’s with Dorie” and had made the Brioche, using it for the Brioche Scrolls. It’s this second link that has the recipe for the Lime Pastry Cream.  The frosting is the same as I made for the Cinnamon Rolls, minus the cream because I had more Lime juice (1/4 cup).

It’s a long process, but mostly because the dough has to sit overnight in the fridge. There was a fair bit of slapping and manhandling on my part before not only could the dough rest, but me too. I didn’t climb into bed until 11:20pm, waaaay past my bedtime. I started this before 7pm.

Right, now for the photos and story telling. The first set are taken at night, so there’s some mood lighting. Not really, it’s just a lack of anything that resembles “natural light”.

Making Brioche Dough

First up is a shot of the dough having the water, milk, salt and yeast mixed to a “shaggy dry mix”. Then there’s the eggs followed by the sugar, and a PILE of butter. If you’re worried about all that butter, then this is not the sort of bread you should be eating. But I wont tell if you don’t Winking smile

Simple ingredients and pretty simple method of incorporating them. You start adding the butter in 2 tablespoons at a time until it’s almost all disappeared. You need to know that the butter preferred to hang out on the sides of my bowl and have nothing to do with the actual dough. To begin with the dough is really tough, but the more butter that is incorporated the slacker the dough is until its this beautiful golden colour, thanks to the butter. It’s soft and very pliable. It took me 15 minutes to get all the butter in, and then only 5 minutes of what was suggested to be 10 minutes, before the dough no longer stuck to the side of the bowl. Actually it was good after 3 minutes. I was just too scared that if I didn’t keep kneading it in the KitchenAid that I’d be doing it a disservice.

Talking of all this heavy mixing and length of time, understandably the KA was getting very warm. I kept hoping not to see any smoke. I don’t want to think about having to wait the full 10 minutes before the dough no longer stuck to the side of the bowl.

Overnight Brioche Dough

When the dough is finished kneading you leave it to rest in a bowl for around 40-60 minutes. That’s pretty quick going. And it was all it took, just 60 minutes. It still looked really good. I completely misunderstood the instructions about deflating the dough. This is what it says: Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl.

What did I do? Pick up a piece of the dough from the side of the bowl, stretch it and let it fall into the bowl. But it never slapped. And I didn’t understand. It wasn’t until the very last “deflation” at 11:20pm that it finally dawned on me how I was meant to deflate it.

So this is it, scoop your hands down between the dough and the side of the bowl, lift the whole lot up and then let the dough go, sending it back to the bowl which will result in the “slapping” sound. So for 2 hours, or 5 rounds of deflation I manhandled the dough by pulling bits from around the bowl.

What worried me more was leaving the dough uncovered overnight. I understood the dough needed to dry out a little, but I fully expected that it would dry with a slight crust to the top. And it did. And it was my turn to feel deflated. I really thought it was ruined. I went back to gottagetbaked’s website and looked at her photos of the dough being prepared for the pans and I knew it was not even close to what mine looked like. See how dry and solid it looks (above).

I decided to take a pinch of the dough and roll it into a ball to see if it softened up with the warmth of my hands. It did. Relief.

Next up was the Pastry Cream. It needed to be cold and I needed to get the Brioche Snails ready for the second rise by around 11:30am.

Lime Pastry Cream

The Pastry Cream was straight forward. Understanding “the consistency of pudding” still baffles me. I don’t know what “pudding” is, it could be any warmed dessert, but I sort of assume it’s like an Instant Pudding. I haven’t had that since I was a kid. A good many decades ago now!

I guess we need to back up a little here. I was looking for lemons at the supermarket on Friday, I wanted to make another batch of Lemon Curd, but there weren’t any lemons! As an aside, when I nipped to the local supermarket today, they didn’t have lemons either. Given there were no lemons I decided to splash out and buy Limes. I just needed to think of how I was going to use them. You can then imagine my joy when I found the recipe for the Brioche Snails using Lime Pastry Cream. It’s like all the planets had lined up.

With the cost of Limes there was no way I was going to let all that Lime zest go to waste. So I zested the limes first (and the zest is in the freezer) before squeezing the juice. I had to zap the limes in the microwave for 20 seconds or so to make them more ready to give up the juice.

Pastry Cream consistency

For anyone in doubt of the sort of consistency you’re after for “pudding”, hopefully the above photo will be helpful. I actually hadn’t left enough time, the thickening of the cream was taking a lot longer than the recipe suggested. In the end I put the cream into the freezer, first for 10 minutes, and then back in for the time I was away to the supermarket and back (possibly 20 minutes). When I got home I removed the cream and noticed the free-flow strawberries the bowl had been resting on now contained partially defrosted strawberries.

Making Brioche Snails

I don’t really know what Gingersnaps are, I can only think of Brandy Snaps, and only because of the snap. We had a packet of Gingernuts up in the “Naughty Pantry”, they were well passed their best by date, as is many of the naughty things in that pantry, but I gave 5 or so of them a bash with the rolling pin and they were still hard, and still needed many whacks of the rolling pin to crush. I also tested one, it still had enough crunch to make me hope it wasn’t going to knock a front tooth out.

I should have floured the surface but because the Silpat had a slight greasy feel and the dough seemed quite stiff I didn’t. But I paid for that when it came to rolling the dough up. Once the dough is rolled out nice and thin it’s back to being tacky and silky. And that meant it was reluctant to part ways with the Silpat. On went the pastry cream followed by the beaten up Gingernuts. And I rolled and pushed and sort of made the right shape out of the dough.

Slicing it was the next hurdle. I guess I thought it would be as clean and easy as the Cinnamon Rolls I made on Thursday. Wrong. I used the nylon thread which had worked so well for me then, and it did work well, but with the dough being so soft and with a wet-ish filling, it all wanted to slop out and sag.

Making snails

It didn’t take me long to realise that I should slice the whole thing up first before moving a slice to the muffin pan, which I sprayed first. I didn’t want to end up in tears because the jolly thing wouldn’t release from the pan.

As well as making the snails I used the other half of the dough to make little balls which were rolled in castor sugar, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and ginger. I would say you could bypass all that singular spice for good old Mixed Spice, something I understand isn’t available in the States.  I followed the directions from Noshing with the Nolands.

Bioche Balls 2nd rise

I also make mini Brioche loaves. I want to use the bread for French Toast, I’ve heard it’s the best.

Brioche Mini Loaves

These set of photos also show the before and after 2nd rise, which you need to allow 90 minutes for.

Brioche Snails 2nd rise

Unlike other bread, Brioche continues to rise during baking. I was sitting at the table, eating the Lasagne I made ANZAC day (yet to write that one up – I suspect it’ll be a mammoth task and I’m procrastinating) with Mr Fussy, my MIL and Mum and keeping an eye on the oven. I was almost convinced the snails would rise so much they’d pop out of the tin.

Baked Brioche Snails

After baking you could sort of make out that the snails were in fact rolled. Sort of.

And the little sugar/spice balls:

Brioche Muffin Balls

And the mini loaves:

Baked Brioche Mini Loaves

Under normal circumstances you’d brush the loaves with an egg wash, but since I’ll be using MY loaf for French Toast, which will be soaked in egg I decided it wasn’t necessary.

I guess I’m a little disappointed with the bread on several levels.

  • The Lime Pastry Cream was completely absorbed into the bread.
  • The Lime in the Pastry Cream was barely recognisable, I hoped the flavour would develop during the time it was in the fridge. It didn’t.
  • The Ginger taste was non-existent. Mum made a comment about it at lunch and Mr Fussy was taken completely by surprise, he had no idea there was Ginger in there.

The texture wasn’t nearly as silky as the photo that I saw on the blog culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.

Snail texture

All in all I enjoyed making the Brioche, even though re-reading through the post it sounds like I didn’t. While there are aspects of the Brioche that didn’t live up to my expectations, and I have nothing to gauge it on, never having had Brioche, the Snails were still pleasant to eat, albeit a little egg-y due to the pastry cream being absorbed. I’ve got 8 left, then the little balls, and plenty of frosting. I think we’ll be eating Brioche in many forms for a few days yet.