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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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Breakfast Muesli 17 June 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Baking, Cooking, Happiness, Vietnam.
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I love me a bit of cereal in the morning. But growing up on Kellogg’s Cornflakes has now made me less appreciative of it. Too much of a good thing, I suppose. So my ideal breakfast now (when I have time) is a big bowl of fruit, fresh yoghurt on top, sprinkled with chunkey, healthy Muesli, and lightly criss crossed with honey.

In Vietnam, though, I have learnt that Muesli is not a commodity, but a luxury. A small bag of the stuff will easily cost in the range of 15-20 dollars. Fruit, on the other hand, is plentiful and cheap. And the local yoghurt! My goodness, you cannot pass up on Cafe 252 (also known as Catherine Deneuve’s regular hangout when she was here filming ‘Indochine’, and can be found in 252 Hang Bong, Hanoi) homemade yoghurt. It is fresh, tangy, and with no added sugar!

And honey is sold everywhere here.

Which brings me back to the Muesli. I now make my own. A point to make, though, is that a lot of Muesli calls for oil to bind the ingredients together, to get that clumping effect. Luckily, I have learnt from the Baking Bites blog that you can often replace oil with apple sauce (in cakes, you can replace about half, in Muesli, you can replace all) and it will still give you the same desired effect. But slighly healthier.

So here’s my recipe (modified from Baking Bites, but ingredients change depending on what I can find)

Apple-tastic Muesli

Ingredients:
4 cups of rolled oats (or, if in a pinch, porridge oats)
2 cups bran
1 cup of dessicated coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar (brown if you have)
3/4 cup of plain apple sauce (home made is ok)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp of vanilla or almond extract

chopped nuts or seeds, like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, +++ (at least one cup)
chopped, dried fruit, like dried pineapple, sultanas, paw paw, star fruit, +++ (at least one cup)

Method:
– Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl (except for the dry fruit, which should only be added after baking).
– Mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl (count sugar as a wet ingredient).
– Combine the two, stir well to wet all the dry ingredients.
– Place mixture in a baking dish, and place in an oven at 200 C.
– When the mixture starts going slightly brown (10 minutes), spoon it over to do the other side. Do this until the mixture is quite dry and roasted.
– Cool the mixture, mix in the chopped fruit, and voila!

Enjoy!

Snert 6 May 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Cooking.
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I had my first attempt at making snert all by myself today, that delicious Dutch version of pea and ham soup that I grew up with. My mother is the most amazing cook of this soup – it is normally so thick and chunky that your spoon will stand up straight in it! Which, to say the least, makes for a hardy meal.

And don’t you look at me with those shifty side glances – I know that snert is a definite winter meal (best had after ice skating, if you want the true authentic feel), and that Hanoi is certainly heading in to summer (today was the first sticky day of many for the year, the ones that makes you wonder how you will be able to even breathe through the day), but I have recently become the proud new owner of a set of IKEA¬†Tupperware, and I simply had to fill it with something!

Now, as this was my first attempt, and I did not actually find all the ingredients (anyone know the Vietnamese word for celeriac?), but, in the words of moto-moto the hippo, it is nice and chunkeh, and not at all bad.

I don’t think I will share the recipe with you until I have tried another time, though. I wouldn’t want your first snert experience to be a let down!