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Marble cake 16 May 2013

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Cooking, food, Happiness, Life.
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Marble cake

It’s been a while since I have been baking, but last night I brushed off the old skills. I had no idea that I had become so rusty, and was making rookie mistake after rookie mistake! The result was still tasty, but I think I will have to relearn my old tricks by getting back into baking!

An oldie but a goodie – marble cake

Ingredients:
200g butter (room temperature) (mistake number 1: the butter I used was too cold. It needs to be soft, but not melted).
250g sugar
3 eggs
vanilla (1 tsp of essence, 2 tsp of vanilla sugar, OR 1 vanilla bean)
250g plain white flour
2 tsp baking powder
100ml butter milk
2 tsp cocoa

Bread tin, 175 degrees, 45-50 minutes

Method:
– Take all the ingredients out of the fridge and measure out the necessary amounts.
– Make sure the butter and all the other ingredients are at room temperature.
– Butter a bread tin and line the bottom with baking paper (mistake number 2: I forgot the lining, meaning the cake is still in the tim now.)
– Turn the oven on so it pre-heats to the correct temperature.
– Whisk the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Make sure it becomes a fluffy texture.
– Add an egg at the time, whisk until just combined between eggs.
– Add the vanilla, combine.
– Sift the flour and the baking powder into the mixture.
– FOLD the flour through the eggs to maintain as much of the air in it as you can.
– Fold the buttermilk through.
– Separate about 1/3 of the mixture into a separate mixing bowl, and sift the cocoa into it. Fold through gently.
– Pour another third of the vanilla mixture into the baking tin, then the cocoa mixture, then the remaining vanilla.
– Use a skewer to gently draw a line through the mixture (ziggzag about 2.5 cm apart one way, then the long way). Don’t overdo this.
– Place in oven, and leave to bake.

Enjoy with coffee!

This cake also freezes well.

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Macademia and white chocolate chip cookies 29 November 2011

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Cooking, Happiness.
2 comments

I loathe to admit that I still haven’t got the hang of the oven in our house – for the first time since finishing Home Education classes at the age of 13, I am dealing with an oven which has a temperamental heating element and not is not fan forced. The results, to say the least, are variable.

For these cookies, I had to fashion a ‘deflector gadget’ (call me McGyver if you are so inclined, or Inspector Gadget?) out of aluminium foil to ensure that the bottom tray of biscuits did not overheat and the top tray had a chance to cook. Still, the resulting cookies were good, if not perfect. The recipe was delicious.

Ingedients
250 g butter (room temperature, not melted)
330 g sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
375 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
150 g macademia nuts (unsalted, roughly chopped)
200 g white chocolate chips

180C degrees, 12-15 minutes.

Method
– Cut the butter into chunks with two knives.
– Add the sugar, and beat with a mixer until combined.
– Add vanilla essence and one egg, beat some more until combined.
– Add the other egg, beat until smooth.
– Add the flower and the baking powder (sift if needed) and beat until combined.
– Add the nuts and the choc chips, and combine with a wooden spoon until the chunks are relatively evenly ditributed through the dough.
– Place heaped teaspoons of batter on baking paper.
– Bake.

Serve with cold milk.

Enjoy!

Easter Treats #3 8 April 2011

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Easter, Happiness.
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It’s been a while since my last Easter Treats, but it’s ok, as Easter is still some time away.

Today, I am introducing an Australian classic – although I understand it may have British origins. Enjoy.

As I realise that some people are struggling with their doughs, I’ll give you a fool-proof way of making dough. If you are pretty set on how to make dough, or if you have your own method, skip ahead to the bold part (which is just after the second lot of rising the dough).

Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients:
– 40 g butter
– 300 ml milk
– 14 g dry yeast
– 50 g sugar
– 500 g flour (about)
– 1.5 tsp mixed spice
– pinch of salt
– 200 g dried currants (or raisins if you must, both are optional!)
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten

– 110 g plain flour
– 4-5 tbs water

– 2 tbs sugar
– 1/3 cup water

Makes 15, 190 degrees, 20-25 minutes

Method:
– Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
– Add the milk, and heat for about a minute, to make it luke warm.
– Tip: when you dip your pinky in the milk and butter mix, you should not feel heat or cold.
– Pour the milk and butter in a large bowl. Add the sugar. If you have fresh yeast, keep some of it aside, and crumble the yeast in until dissolved, then add to the rest of the mixture. With dry yeast, put it directly into the bowl.
– Tip: Adding the sugar to the lukewarm milk and butter will give you the optimal conditions for your yeast to grow. Yeast feeds on sugar, but salt retards it. Yeast, being a fungus, also likes 37 degrees, so the lukewarm milk kick starts the yeast function. If it is too cold, the yeast will take too long to rise the dough, if it is too warm, it will kill the yeast.
– Put 4 heaped tablespoons of the flour into a bowl, add the salt and mixed spice. Mix together. Doing this will ensure that the dough will be evenly spiced, and the slat will not cause the yeast to stop it’s process.
– Add the flour and spice mixture to the liquid mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon.
– Tip: at this point, the mixture will create big lumps. Don’t worry, you will knead these out later.
– Add the flour bit by bit, until it is too heavy to stir with the spoon.
– Tip the whole dough onto the bench.
– Add the currants (if using) and the egg, then start kneading the dough. Every time it starts sticking to your hands, add more flour.
– Knead until smooth.
– Place back in the bowl, and leave to rise in a warm, dry place for 1-1.5 hours, or until twice the size.
– Tip: Cover the bowl with a clean, wet kitchen towel (cloth) to prevent the top of the dough from drying out. Some prefer to use glad wrap for this.
– Knead quickly again, then divide into 12-15 pieces.
– Roll into buns, place on a baking paper clad baking tray, cover with the wet kitchen towel, and leave to rise for another 30 minutes. It’s ok to put them close enough that when they rise, they touch each other!
Turn on the oven to pre heat. If it is a very old oven, you may have to do this earlier.
– While you are waiting for the buns to rise, make the flour paste: mix the flour and water in a small bowl until smooth.
– Spoon the paste into a snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner of the bag, to create a piping-bag. If you have a piping bag, you can of course use it, only make sure you use a small sized piping tip. Pipe strips of paste over the buns to form crosses.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom.
– Make the glaze by adding sugar and water in a small saucepan on low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then boil for 5 minutes. Brush the glaze over the hot crossed buns while they are still warm.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Hot cross buns are best when fresh, but they can also be frozen.

If you make the currant variety, and want to do something a little more fancy (but non-traditional, and some would say controversial!) you may want to ditch the glaze, and brush the tops of the buns with warm apricot jam.

Enjoy!

 

Easter treats #2 27 March 2011

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Easter.
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Time for another one of my easter treats, this time by request.

Next to the Pistoletjes (which are hard, small buns that we always ate for breakfast), we would also bake “tijgerbolletjes”, or tiger buns.

They are so called, because of the wonderful pattern that is supposed to form at the top of the bun, slightly (and with large amounts of imagination) reminiscent of tiger stripes. Honestly, they should probably have been named giraffe buns. But that ain’t quite as sexy, I suppose. So here goes:

 

Tiger buns

Ingredients:
– 500 g plain flour
– 25 g fresh yeast (or the equivalent of dry yeast, about 1 sachet, 7-8 grams)
– 10 g salt
– 18 g sugar
– 15 g butter
– 290 g luke-warm water

– 100 g rice flour
– 7 g of fresh yeast (2 g dry)
– 5 g sugar
– 2 g salt
– 70 ml olive oil
– luke-warm water

225 degrees Celsius, 30 min, 15 buns

Method:
– Make the tiger spread first (the ingredients below the line).  Mix all the dry ingredients, add the oil. Use a couple of spoons of water in the mix if it is too thick. It should be syrupy and gluey.
– Make the dough for the bread, leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
– Knead the dough, then divide into about 15 equal parts. Roll these into buns.
– Dip the top of the buns in the tiger spread, then place them, spread up, on a baking tray.
– Brush the sides of the buns with water to ensure that the bun will bake evenly even with the tiger spread on top.
– Leave to rise under for 50 minutes.
– Bake with steam for 30 minutes (add a large, oven-proof container to the oven).

Enjoy!

More recipes to come!

Easter treats #1 24 March 2011

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Easter, Happiness, Life.
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4 comments

Easter is rapidly approaching, and I never had the chance to share my Easter recipes with you! Have a look at my previous post on descriptions of my Easter growing up, great memories, and lots of good food. And, as I say at the end of that post: it meant family above all.

My dad and I would often bake together for Easter, so I will share his recipes with you first. We would eat these buns for Easter breakfast, just like little baguettes.

Pistoletjes

Ingredients:
500 g flour
25 g yeast (fresh, or 1 sachet of dry yeast)
10 g salt
3 g caster sugar
200 g water
rice flour
12 g butter
8 g sugar

Method:
– Make the dough, leave it to rise for 30 minutes. (For tips on making a dough, see here)
– Knead, divide the dough into 15, and roll into round buns.
– Leave again under a damp towel in a warm place for 30 minutes.
– Sprinkle riceflour over the top. Use a chopstick to make a crease along the middle of the bun (take care to not cut through the dough, but there should be two distinct mounds of dough barely attached.
– Rise for another 20 minutes
– Place a large oven proof dish of water in the bottom of the oven before turning it on, then preheat it to 230 degrees.
– Leave the container of water, and bake the pistoletjes for 15 minutes. (With steam)
– Remove the water, bake for another 10 minutes.

Childhood Memories 8 December 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Christmas, Happiness, Life, Sinterklaas.
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Today, I received a package from my mother.

It wasn’t supposed to arrive, as generally food stuffs are not allowed through the post. I expected it to be sent back upon arrival, without me even seeing the contents, just like what has happened to my partner’s packages of food before.

But it did arrive!!!

My dearest mum, who is one of the most well-meaning and well-balanced people I know, who sent me a post card every week while I was at boarding school, and who I can literally speak to for hours, sent me this package. I have all my nurturing abilities from her – I love doing things for others to make them happy. I like getting up early and making my partner coffee in the morning. I love cooking and baking for others, spoiling them rotten, to show them that I care. I like making home-made advent calendars for people I care about, and cheer them for the 24 days that it lasts. This is a page straight out of my mum’s book.

We disagree sometimes. And I can tell her that she annoys me, and she still listens. She is amazing. And now she’s sent me a package full of Sinterklaas goodies. For a moment, standing there in the kitchen, having run up the stairs like a child whopping and hooting, after which I ripped open the packaging, emptied the entire contents onto the counter, and stuck bits from all the goodies in my mouth at once, all of a sudden memories came flooding back.

I don’t know if this was my mum’s intent. But standing there, at the kitchen counter, eyes closed, savouring the sweets and cookies, my partner found me smiling, far away in memory land. He had to laugh at me, and my childish expression. He’s mentioned that exact face to me before – the ability I still seem to have to utterly enjoy something for the happiness it brings me at that time. The look of marvel that will flash across my face when I experience something new and turn around to smile at him. He once said he was jealous of my childlike ability to just enjoy something.

And this time it was triggered by the morsels of cookies that evoked my childhood, even the smell brings me back to cold winter nights, snow, rugging up and that special type of electricity that builds in December. And it reminded me of family, spending time around the fire, cat on my lap, parents reading or watching TV, brother being annoying.

And I do not know how my mum managed to get the food through customs, it must have been shear will power. And it’s not like she sent me a package with a few food items amongst other things, it was an entire box of food.

My poor man, who, a year and a half back, when I was in a real dip and feeling home sick, tried to cheer me up in the same way. I remember mentioning to him that I missed my family. I missed having them there. So the little darling hopped on the internet and ordered Dutch treats for me, including liquorice, and other things he knows I love due to my heritage, but which the rest of the world thinks is disgusting, and therefore doesn’t sell. He had meant to surprise me.

Yet this is the package that never made it through customs. He was gutted, because he had really wanted to do something nice for me, and it fell through. And here is mum’s package on my doorstep with no effort at all.

So thank you so much, mum, for the memories and the treats which we will enjoy so much! And thank you to my partner, who I know tried very hard, but whom the postal system thwarted. You both spoil me rotten.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 9 August 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Happiness.
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These were just too easy and too fabulous not to blog about. I love easy recipes that you can whip together.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
– 225 g plain flour
– 125 g soft brown sugar
– 50 g castor sugar
– 115 g softened butter (not melted)
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 0.5 tsp vanilla essence
– 115 g of choc chips

190 C, 10 minutes (until golden brown)

Method:
– I replaced 1/2 of the chocolate chips by chocolate that I had chopped roughly into chunks.
– Combine all the ingredients
– Spoon tablespoons full of cookie dough onto baking paper
– Bake in a pre-heated oven

Enjoy!

Serve with milk to an entire cast of a play, and they might all curl up and sleep in the wings of the stage.

The Dream Combo 13 July 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Cooking, Life, Travelling.
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Recently, the building I live in upgraded our TV reception from a ‘mere’ 20 something channels to 54 channels. I wasn’t excited about this until I realised that the new package also comes with Discovery Travel and Living.

Think about that for a second. Just think about it.

An entire channel devoted to travelling, food and baking… I’m in heaven!

Pavlova 5 July 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Cooking, Happiness, Life.
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After my recent baking adventure making custard buns, I still had a whole lot of egg whites in the fridge. Being Dutch at heart, I really dislike throwing away food, so I thought I should attempt to make that fantastic cake Australians call their own (although the origins of the ‘Pav’ is sometimes disputed).

It turned out to be far easier than I had expected, and the result was divine. I even have a plan on how to make a cake derived from the Pavlova (although the Aussies might find this sacrilege…), but more on that in due time. First, here is the Pavlova.

Pavlova

Ingredients:
6 egg whites (the original recipe called for 4, but I had 6 left, so I increased all the amounts by half)
1.5 cups of castor sugar
0.75 tsp corn flower
1.5 tsp white vinegar

Whipped cream (300 mL), sugar and fruit to decorate.

Oven at 130 C, 75 minutes.

Method:
– Firstly, it is essential that there is no grease that comes into contact with the egg whites, or they will not stiffen! So use a clean bowl and make sure the beater is clean, too. I always wipe everything down with some extra vinegar, just to make sure, because there is nothing worse than eggs that won’t go hard.
– Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Add the sugar one tablespoon at the time, continually beating.
– When all the sugar is in, beat until stiff. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the egg falling out at this point. Be careful, though, if you fail at this stage, you will have a very messy kitchen, and no more egg whites.
– Sprinkle the vinegar and corn starch over the lot, and carefully fold into the egg. Make sure not to deflate the egg too much.
– Spoon onto baking paper on a baking tray in a circular shape.  Make it about 4-5 cm thick, with a slight indentation in the middle.
– Place in a hot oven, and bake.
– When it is finished, leave the Pavlova in the oven to cool slowly. It will crack and sink a little, not too worry.

– When you are ready to eat it, decorate with cream and fruit.
– I used mango and strawberries (the latter of which I threw through a food processor, because they were frozen) with great dollops of cream.

Enjoy!

Custard buns 26 June 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Cooking.
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2 comments

There is something very relaxing about kneading, flour up to your elbows, knowing that what you are creating will be delicious. I am currently waiting for the dough to rise, so decided to blog about it in the mean time.

I first made these custard buns in Home Ed at junior high. Loved them then, love them now.

Note to self; when this recipe says ‘whisk’ it means combine, not beat with an electric beater. I ended up with extremely frothy custard!

Custard buns

Ingedients:
50 g margerine or butter
3.5 dL milk
4 g (half a packet) dry yeast
50 g sugar
0.5 tsp salt
~500 g flour

For custard:
3 egg yolks
50 g sugar
2.5 tbs corn flour
2.5 dL milk
1 drop vanilla extract
40 g unsalted butter

Method:
– Make the custard. Note that you will have left overs with these amounts. I adapted the above from a different recipe, but I like home made custard for desert, so I never decreased the amount. I reckon about half would be enough, too.
– So, make the custard by ‘whisking’ the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour together.
– Add 2 tablespoons of the milk to the egg mixture. Heat the remaining milk and vanilla in a saucepan.
– When boiled, slowly pour the milk into the egg, mixing all the while to prevent the egg from cooking.
– Pour the lot back into the pan, and bring it to a boil over medium heat, while continuously stirring.
– Remove from the heat when it thickens, add the butter, combine, then leave to cool.
– Make the dough.
– Rise it to about twice the size (in hot, humid climes, you can place it outside under a wet teatowel).
– Divide the dough into about 10-12 equal parts. Lightly knead each part, then flatten to a piece of dough about 10 by 10 centimetres.
– Place the dough flap on your palm, then cup your hand to make a little bowl.
– Place one teaspoon of custard in the bowl, then close the dough around it. Make sure not to overstuff, because it will just leak out.
– Place the bun with the joint down onto baking paper, then cover with a wet teatowel again, and leave to rise 15 minutes.
– Bake in a preheated oven at 225 degrees for 15 minutes.

Enjoy.