Far from putting me off them forever, judging the Liskeard Bun has reignited my love for all things bun. Yeasted or not, plain or fancy, there is something rather wonderful about the British bun.
Some say Autumn starts here in the Northern Hemisphere on 1 September, some say the 22nd. Either way the apple season has started and to me that means one of my favourite times of year with morning mists, clear warm days and cold nights – if we’re lucky. The first few apples have been gathered from my mother’s garden and honey apple cardamom mini bundt cakes were calling.
Fellow Cornish food blogger, Janie over at The Hedge Combers is off on an epic road trip across Wales in a quest to find the best food and drink on offer – it’s a hard life! In her absence she invited a few blogger friends to guest post for her. I am delighted to be showing off some rather cute and most delicious mini lemon and almond coconut cakes over on her blog. They are easy to make, gluten free and dairy free, so ideal party fare when you’re a bit unsure what dietary requirements your guests might have. Do go take a look and have a nosey around her blog whilst your at it, you’re sure to find something interesting.
Some old friends rang the other day to say they were coming to Liskeard and could they call around for a cup of tea. Well of course. But I had no cakes or biscuits in the house. It was time to whip up a batch of something fast. Chilli chocolate madeleines it was then. Fresh from the oven, they are delicious treats indeed.
It’s been a while since I did any baking with matcha. Last week provided the perfect opportunity. We’d been invited to eat sushi with a Japanese colleague of CT’s which I was hugely looking forward to. A few little matcha cakes, I thought, would make a suitable post prandial snack. As I mulled over what flavour I should pair the matcha with (mostly in the early hours of the morning) I kept coming back to citrus which I thought would give a fresh and zingy high to the bitter notes of green tea. But, unusually for me, I had no fresh citrus in the house, not even lemons.
With time fast running out I made a last minute decision to add some of my mother’s marmalade to the mix. Two bitters together can work really well – think coffee and chocolate. I was hoping this would also provide some of the zing I was looking for.
Well I couldn’t have been better pleased with how these mini matcha marmalade cakes turned out – well maybe they could have been a bit greener in colour. They were light in texture, greenish, had a mild matcha flavour and a delicious marmalade hit. CT and I were hard pressed not to snaffle one on the train on our way to our hosts. Just as well we didn’t as they all disappeared with remarkable rapidity.
How anyone managed to fit them in is a miracle. We had the grandest sushi spread I’ve ever come across. It was a self-assembly job; nori seaweed was provided along with what seemed like hundreds of fillings. As the only vegetarian there, I was still well catered for – omelettes, mushrooms, cucumbers, natto, asparagus, okra, radishes, beans, cress and all the usual accompaniments and condiments. Four hours of eating and sake drinking and we were still able to knock back a few cakes and lashings of a flowering green tea. Mine were not the only cakes: there was a lush chocolate cake as well as a banana tarte tatin. How we managed to stagger back to the train station and home I’ll never know.
I’ve named this year Super Sushi. I reckon I’ve eaten more of it this year than all the other years combined. It all started with our bloggers session at Yo Sushi and snowballed from there. Only two days after this sushi feast I got a surprise phone call from a friend who was dashing through Plymouth on his way back to Italy. “Can you make it to Koishii for a Japanese blow out in two hours time?” I dropped everything, so did CT.
I’m sending these off to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary for Shop Local as the wholemeal flour is Cotehele Mill’s own, the eggs are local as is my mother’s homemade marmalade.
It’s been a while since I submitted anything to #recipeoftheweek over at A Mummy Too, so off these go.
- 125g unsalted butter
- 50g white chocolate (G&B)
- 100g cardamom sugar (golden caster)
- 150g flour (half wholemeal, half white)
- 25g ground almonds
- 3 tsp matcha powder
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
- 2 duck eggs or large hens eggs
- 2 heaped tbsp marmalade
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12
When I was sent the bar of Divine spiced toffee apple chocolate that I reviewed on Day Four of Chocolate Week, delicious as it was, I knew I had to make something with it – something suitable for bonfire night on 5th November. Read on for my spiced toffee apple bonfire cakes recipe.
When I saw the recipe and accompanying pictures for baked jam doughnut muffins over at Lavender and Lovage, I knew it was only a matter of time before I tried them myself. As ever, Karen’s photographs are beautiful, but it was the recipe itself that enticed me. I love doughnuts, but never buy them as they are, somehow the epitome of junk food. I’ve been wanting to try some of these baked doughnut style muffins for ages, but as soon as I come across a recipe, I lose it again. This time I bookmarked it.
Year three and our gooseberries finally decided to crop. They were by no means laden, but I was happy to get a few this year – 200g to be precise! I’m hoping this is the start of an increasing yield year on year and in 2015 we will get considerably more. Scared about the birds taking my precious crop (they nicked all of our redcurrants and strawberries), I picked them before they were fully ripe. Left a little longer, they would have been a bit sweeter and have gone a deeper red. I was taking no risks, however.
Last year, I won a copy of William Curley’s book Couture Chocolate. It’s an excellent tome giving insights and detailed instructions on making chocolates and chocolate pâtisserie. Every aspiring chocolatier should have one. William Curley was the youngest ever Chef Pâtissier at The Savoy and has won numerous awards in the world of chocolate and pastry. This year I was sent a copy of his newest book Pâtisserie. This one is written jointly with his wife Suzue Curley, a pâtissiere whose work is influenced by her Japanese background. Endorsed by renowned pâtissier, Pierre Hermé who writes the Foreword, we get the idea that William is a very talented man indeed.
Twice the size of his last book, but in a similar vain, this is a detailed manual on the art of modern pâtisserie. The history of pastry making is not forgotten and makes a fine start to the proceeding chapters. Perusing the mini biographies of various influential pâtissiers, I have to admit I was only familiar with the names of Marie-Antoine Carême and August Escoffier. A detailed twenty page guide covering ingredients, equipment and basic techniques prepares us for the two main parts of the book: The Foundation and The Pâtisserie.
The Foundation covers all of the basic recipes that are needed in order to create pâtisserie. Comprising nearly half of the 344 pages, it covers all sorts of recipes and techniques for making pastries, doughs, sponges, meringues, creams, custards, mousses, syrups, glazes, compotes and caramels. Each recipe tells you what patisserie it is linked to in the second part of the book and the accompanying page numbers make it very handy to have a quick look. Precision is a key factor and even the eggs and baking powder are measured in grams rather than being left to the vagaries of teaspoons and differently sized eggs.
The Pâtisserie part of the book is where the creativity comes in and succulent tarts, pretty little gâteaux, dainty macarons and various magnificent structures can be seen in all their glory. Each entry refers you back to the basic recipes but includes any additional requirements. Step by step instructions are given throughout, with accompanying informative photographs for all but the simplest creations. The recipes are detailed, often going into four pages. With my love of matcha for baking purposes, I was pleased to see a number of recipes where it featured, including some vibrant green matcha eclairs and Les Misérables – a stacked affair of matcha and almond sponges layered with a Japanese muscovado caramel buttercream. My mouth is watering just at the thought of it and I’m feeling just a little bit miserable that I can’t eat one right now. The photographs of the finished articles, by Spanish photographer and artist Jose Lasheras are works of art in themselves. For the visually orientated and those that like to see what they might make before they attempt it, you will not be disappointed – photographs abound.
As someone who is always in a hurry, elegant pâtisserie is something I very much appreciate but I’m doubtful that I’d have the patience to make myself. So I was glad to see that not everything in the book is complicated. The Baked Cakes section is more in line with what I’m used to and I’m looking forward to trying out some of these slightly more prosaic recipes. The bakes are a mix of traditional with a Curley twist and new creations. The cannelés de Bordeaux au rhum, a recipe I’ve long wanted to make, looked fairly traditional, but I suspect the pâtissiers of old would have been perplexed by the houji cha & hazelnut financiers. It was in this section that I found out that madeleines were much older than I expected and dated back to 1661. Amongst the French fancies, I was surprised to see a Dundee cake. I’m not sure what the good folks of Dundee would think of this version, containing rum-marinated sultanas and decorated with crystallised pistachios, but it sounds very tasty to me. The carrot and chocolate chip cakes, one of Suzue’s recipes, soon caught my eye and I decided those would be my introduction. As usual, I didn’t quite follow the recipe; I suspect my reluctance to embark on some of the more complicated recipes is the need I feel to go my own way and keep things as simple as possible.
This is how I made:
Carrot and Chocolate Chip Cakes
- Melted 150g unsalted butter and left to cool slightly.
- Grated 150g carrots and mixed in a bowl with two medium eggs.
- Stirred in 150g golden caster sugar.
- Sifted in 150g flour (half wholemeal, half white), 25g ground almonds, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
- Stirred gently until just incorporated, then stirred in the butter and 75g chopped 70% dark chocolate.
- Spooned the mixture into 24 mini cupcake moulds, filling them to about ¾ full.
- Left to rest for 30 minutes, then baked at 180℃ for about 12 minutes.
I do not have the originals to compare these to, but I absolutely adored these cakes and they didn’t last nearly as long as they should have done. But hey, I was only following the Curley advice to eat them within one or two days.
This book would make a fantastic reference work for anyone interested in learning the techniques and recipes involved in pâtisserie or just wanting to improve their presentation skills. Many of the creations in this book are so magnificent, they are beyond what I even aspire too, but there are so many useful tips and techniques given here I know I shall be referring to it and using it as inspiration for many years to come. If nothing else, it’s a fabulous book to browse through, dream over and treasure.
Patisserie by William Curley and Suzue Curley. Photographs by Jose Lasheras. Published by Jacqui Small in 2014. 9781909342217. It has an RRP of £40. Reviewed by Choclette on 1 July 2014.
To give a flavour of what you will find inside, here is a video of William and Suzue demonstrating one of the recipes: Strawberry and Pistachio Breton Tart.
Thanks to Jacqui Small for the copy of Pâtisserie. There was no requirement to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
Prizes are offered and provided by Jacqui Small and Chocolate Log Blog accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party.