28 July 2009

Cake numba 4

Well today was the last day of cake decorating class number 2. We learned the basket weave and the rope border. I really like the border. It's a lot of fun to do. The top of my cake was incredibly smooth, much smoother than ever before. And then I covered it all up with my royal icing flowers. In some ways that's kind of sad, but at the same time the cake turned out looking pretty nice. It was a little sketchy at the beginning because my cake rose like crazy. It was like a mountain on top of my cake. It wasn't even an air bubble or anything, it was definitely cake all the way through. It was good. The royal icing flowers tasted pretty good too. It should be fun to see how the next cakes turn out...

26 July 2009

Indian Curries from Scotland

Last time I visited my local Macey's I picked up a bottle of chicken tikka masala paste. my next door neighbor had made it a month or so prior and I felt that it was delicious enough for me to give it a go. At length I finally got around to defrosting my chicken and marinating it. I found it quite amusing that on the bottle of curry paste it says to marinate the chicken for "an hour or overnight." Apparently if you marinate for some length of time between one hour and twenty-four then it won't work. I decided to defy the directions and I marinated the chicken for something like five hours. The chicken tikka masala turned out quite well. I was glad, though next time I think I'll use a little less yogurt and a little more of the paste, it wasn't quite as picante as I might have liked.As it turns out, chicken tikka masala isn't really an Indian dish at all. According to legend it was it was conceived in a Bangladeshi restaurant in Glasgow in the '60s. While that can be neither confirmed nor denied it does appear that it originated in the British Isles. Though the article that I read mentioned that it's popularity has broadened and that it is even served in restaurants in India now. Which I think is quite comendable.

No matter that origins of the delicious dish I still think that it is delicious. And I am quite proud of this delightful tikka masala paste in a jar.

22 July 2009

Custard Based Desserts are the Best

It seems that I can't manage to update my blog as often as I actually cook things. And in all reality I don't really cook that often. First off. I made flan. I found a recipe that looked pretty good and I am pleased to say that it turned out well. Next time I need to cook the sugar a little longer. It didn't turn quite the color flan caramel normally is. It was definitely a little anemic looking. But the custard tasted good. It had a nice eggy hint, but it wasn't nearly as overpowering as the creme brulee was. I've decided that heavy whipping cream is about my favourite ingredient to cook with.

On sunday I decided that I wanted breadsticks with my dinner. And I rediscovered a recipe that I had found, that looked really good, and decided that the "soft garlic breadsticks" would be my next adventure. They were a lot softer and more delicious than the last breadstick recipe that I made. I think one thing that made these ones so much better was that they had fresh grated parmesan cheese in them. They weren't stringy or anything but the cheese added a nice flavour and helped them to stay moist. The breadsticks were quite delicious, though I did manage to burn one batch of them.

My last adventure in cooking this week, was also a bread. Focaccia bread. Pretty much my favourite kind of bread. The recipe that I found didn't have any seasonings in it so I took the liberty of adding some (among other seasonings). I've decided that most things are better with a little minced garlic in it, and next time I think I'll even grate in some cheese. The bread was a little crispy on the bottom. I think though that it had a little more to do with the cookie sheet that I used as opposed to something that I did. I'll have to do some research and find out what sorts of pans other people use to make their Focaccia. I also think that next time I'll use a bit more olive oil. I was rather liberal with the olive oil and didn't follow the recipe but I think that a little more would be even better, and definitely more seasonings. The seasonings were good but not quite piquant enough for me. Overall though it turned out fairly well. I'm glad that all these yeast breads are working out. I remember a time when I would have shuddered and fled at the thought of cooking with yeast.

11 July 2009

Croque-Monsieur and Lemon Posset

It has been quite a while since last I wrote. Never fear, I have been cooking even in my long absence. My first new adventure was to make Croque-Monsieur. Essentially it is a hot, ham and cheese sandwich, though since it utilizes Gruyere cheese it tastes immeasurably better. This recipe uses the broiler part of your oven, to toast the bread. I found though that if I left the sandwich under the broiler only long enough to toast the bread then the sandwich wasn't warm and melty. So after initially toasting the bread I turned off the broiler and just let the sandwich sit in the oven to warm, before toasting the last slice. This made the sandwich nice and warm. Which is the way that all hot, ham and cheese sandwiches should be.

The next thing I experimented with was a Japanese recipe--chicken teriyaki. The sugar mixed with the soy sauce made for a delicious glaze on chicken, and served over Jasmine rice it was quite delicious. This recipe has you simply marinate your whole chicken in the teriyaki sauce, and I think that next time I will go ahead and cut my chicken up into smaller pieces before marinating so that I get more surface area, and also so that it doesn't take as long to cook.

I completed off my day with a new dessert recipe. Lemon Posset. A posset is a 16th and 17th century drink. A sort of drink that consists mainly of curdled milk and ale. Fortunately my posset really had neither, and due to the wonderful invention of the refrigerator my posset also had a consistency more like a custard than like a drink. This lemon posset is more than merely a pudding, it has a bit of grated lemon rind in it and so that makes it have a sort of satisfying crunch. The posset definitely fulfills the requirements of being cool and creamy, but it is also quite rich so you can't have more than a few spoonfuls at a time. Which I suppose isn't really a problem.

A few days after I made all of these wonderful dishes I made pretzels for one of my meetings at work. Pretzels are both surprisingly easy to make and extremely time consuming. I most certainly under estimated the time that I would need to prepare them, but they really were quite delicious, and use just regular ingredients that I had around. The pretzels went stale surprisingly fast but I suppose that if I had eaten them faster that wouldn't have been such a problem.

It has been a busy couple of weeks cooking-wise, but I am excited that all the things I made turned out so well, hopefully the luck will hold.