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Archive for October, 2010

Lately, my baking attempts have resulted in disaster.  My “Chewy, Chocolate Chip Cookies” looked fabulous, but sadly could have been confiscated as an offensive weapon.

To add further insult to injury, my Brownies resembled a pool of brown mess with a tooth-breaking crust on top (which someone and their spoon went to town with… shame on you, Mother!  At least it tasted nice…).  Needless to say, those blog posts made the cutting room floor.

I’m more of a savoury person anyways (in taste bud only; not personality, I hope), so I was nearly resigned to the fact that I just could not bake sweet treats.  I had almost come to terms with it; flicking past the apple crumble and pumpkin pie recipes despondently… wondering what was so wrong with the chocolate muffins in McDonald’s, anyway?  Sigh.

But after reading this blog post the other day, I was spurred on to give it another shot.  I drool at every food picture at the best of times, but the craving for home-baked shortbread was overwhelming.

Having baked “shortbread” once before, I was apprehensive.  My last batch looked like a tray of sunken, week-old scones (hence the inverted commas in my description; shortbread it certainly was not!).  They didn’t even taste similar. 

BBC Good Food… your version of shortbread left me nothing short of disenchanted.  How could you?  I’m one of your biggest fans… sniffle. 😦  Thankfully, your abundance of other lovely recipes has mended our once broken relationship.

So; it was time to see if my next shortbread attempt would leave me crestfallen once more… 

I am happy to report; faith in my baking ability has been fully restored!  Of course it has! 🙂  I can safely say you won’t need to look elsewhere for an authentic shortbread recipe; this one is perfect.

I don’t (yet) have the adorable shortbread tin like Wendy’s; I just packed my mixture into two sandwich tins.  I was going to re-type the instructions here, but I followed every ingredient, measurement and method to the letter (a first for me), so if you want to try it, you’re best checking out the link above. 

Rave reviews all around from my samplers; I thoroughly recommend it to any bakers who have had a knock in confidence!

Enjoy 🙂

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Well hello Stranger!  I’ve missed you all muchly! 🙂

It feels like an age since I last posted, or leisurely perused my favourite food blogs.  When I opened my Google Reader, there was the inevitable “1000+” declaration of unread blog posts waiting for me. 😦

I contemplated clearing out my RSS feed list, saving only my favourite food blogs (like this, this and this…), but as I leafed through each of them, I couldn’t bear it.  They are all too wonderful and I feel I would be depriving myself of wonderful recipes and enjoyment.  Nope.  No blog cull for Moi. 

As I said in my previous post, I have started evening classes.  One for Philosophy and the other for English Literature.  I am thrilled to say that both are going really well and it feels great to use parts of my brain again, that I’d left behind at college some years ago.

Last weeks English Lit class was focused on English Sonnets.  We analysed and discussed 6 sonnets, but one in particular stuck out for me, and I would like to share it with you. 

Shakespeare, Sonnets 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, ye well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

At first, I felt outraged on behalf of this poor “mistress” who was paling beyond all comparison.  But then I realised, all these “ideals” (such as having eyes like the sun and snow white skin), were actually being mocked.  That being less than perfect was more endearing and special than any of these stereotypes. 

How utterly refreshing.  As someone who has recently cancelled her gym subscription due to lack of time to go (and feeling a tad out of shape now, huff), reading this was very comforting.  I hope anyone reading it now can also take some comfort, since I’m taking a leaf out of Shakespeare’s book and declaring perfection a falsity! 

Anyways… onto the grub!  I did this cheesecake at my Come Dine With Me night a while back.  I used ginger snaps for the base last time, which was gorgeously stunning, however, I decided to follow the recipe (almost) properly this time, and the results were excellent.  If you make this cake, prepare to be heftily praised! 🙂

This is a cake from Nigella’s website.  Find it here.

Ingredients

For the base:

150g x chocolate digestives

50g butter, melted

Filling:

175g x chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Cadbury’s Dairy Milk mmmm)

600g x soft cream cheese

150g x caster sugar

1 tbsp x custard powder

3 x eggs

3 x egg yolks

142ml x pot of sour cream

½ tsp x cocoa (I used Cadbury hot chocolate powder to keep in line with the dairy milk)

Glaze:

75 g x chocolate (Dairy Milk, naturally)

125ml x double cream

1 x tsp golden syrup

Instructions:

Crush the biscuits to within an inch of their life (I used a rolling pin and plenty of aggression) and mix with the melted butter.  Press into the bottom of a springform tin, then shove in the freezer whilst you make the filling.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Melt the 175g chocolate (I melted it in a glass bowl, placed over a pot of boiling water, but you can microwave if you prefer).  Put aside to cool.

Beat the cream cheese (I used my hand mixer).  Add your sugar and custard powder and beat again.  Beat in your eggs, egg yolks and sour cream. 

Dissolve your cocoa powder in a few tbsps hot water.  Add that to the mix, along with your melted chocolate.  Mix it all into a smooth, even consistency.

Take the springform tin out of the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of clingfilm, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.

 

Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Fill the pan with just-boiled water, to come about halfway up the cake tin, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.

 

Peel away the foil and clingfilm wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool. Put in the fridge once it’s no longer hot, and leave to set, covered with clingfilm, overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.

To make the glaze, melt your 75g chocolate, then add the cream and syrup.  Take off the heat and whisk thoroughly, until it starts to look like a smooth sauce.  Resist eating it all with a spoon at this point. 😉

Nigella likes to “Jackson Pollock” the sauce over the cheesecake.  To be fair, this was my original intention.  I completely ballsed it up, however, hence my decision to just cover the entire surface of it with chocolate.

I sprinkled a bit too much cocoa powder over the top.  It’s not much to look at, admittedly.  But you and I both know that anything containing THAT much dairy milk in it is bound to be a success.

 

Enjoy! 🙂 And have a good weekend! x

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