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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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Beef risotto 6 January 2013

Posted by uggclogs in Cooking, food, Happiness.
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I have been travelling lately, and have found that there is a real craving for risotto in Norway at the moment. Everyone wants to make it, but not everyone dares to give it a shot.

To be fair, risotto is not hard to make. Only time consuming, as you should not leave the pan or stop stirring. But it’s also easy to eat – traditionally there are no spices and overwhelming herbs used in them.

I normally make mine with chicken, but was cooking for someone allergic to fowl, so had to adapt and try with minced meat. So here is a little adaptation of a beef risotto! If, like my dad, you find it needs a bit more kick, you can add some cayenne pepper or chilli, but I like it this way.

Beef risotto

Ingredients

4 persons

1 tbs butter (or oil, but butter tastes better)
500 g minced beef

1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed

2 beef stock cubes
Water

1 glass of white cooking wine (omit if you so choose)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400 g)
2 tbs tomato paste

2 cups arborio rice (other rice is possible, but not as nice)
1/2 cup frozen peas

Handful of shredded basil
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (get a block of cheese and grate it yourself for best results)

Sour cream and basil leaves to serve

Method

– brown the butter or heat the oil in a deep heavy based pan, and cook the minced meat. Remove the meat until further notice.
– add some more butter if necessary to the pan, and brown the onion and garlic.
– add the rice. Make sure you turn the heat down, and completely coat the rice with the remaining fat in the pan. Add the wine, and keep stirring. If not using wine, add the tomato here.
– pour water (about 0.5 litres initially) to a small separate pan to make stock. Add the stock cubes and bring to a simmer.
– when the wine is almost absorbed, add the cooked meat, tinned tomato and tomato paste to the pan. Again, wait to simmer and reduce, constantly stirring.
– every time the liquid reduces in the pan, add another bit of stock. Make sure the stock is warm, otherwise the cooking process of the rice will be halted and thus prolonging the time it takes to cook.
– test the rice by biting on a grain before adding more liquid, but watch out, it will be hot.
– keep adding hot liquid until soft. Note that you may need more than the stock, if so, boil some water to add at the end.
– add the peas.
– the risotto is done when the rice is cooked and a dollop of the risotto placed on a flat plate will sink slightly, without being runny.
– remove from the heat, add the basil and most of the cheese.
– serve with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cheese and a basil leaf. And maybe a glass of wine.

Bon apetit!