Sunday, July 29, 2007

Egg on egg with butter - Eggs benedict

Following a brief excursion into mayonnaise making the other week, it got me thinking about egg based sauces. For some reason or another, I had never tasted hollandaise sauce. This would have stemmed from the days when I had to make hollandaise on a regular basis at the pancake restaurant that I worked at - and although it always turned out fine for me - it had kind of put me off with the amount of butter it contained; not to mention the fact that by the end of the day it had turned into a split, coagulated mess.

In effect, hollandaise is a butter sauce brought together with an egg yolk and seasoned. Egg yolk, so I've learnt from Harold McGee himself, is a natural emulsifier and when combined with fat, starts to thicken. The reason that hollandaise is a warm sauce is simple - butter melts when hot.

The hollandaise I made yesterday morning, to adorn my poached egg and muffin, turned out airy and soft with just the right seasoning. Based on Olive's "How to make dead, good hollandaise" from the January issue, the only thing I had to change was the lemon juice, which I used lime juice instead. I am no longer disgusted by hollandaise, and when it's appropriate, I will be making it just like this.


1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Dash of water
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, or other flavoured white vinegar like tarragon
125g butter, melted
Half a juice of lime
Shake of paprika

Melt the butter over medium heat and try not mix the clear liquid with the white liquid. Whisk together the yolk, water, vinegar and salt in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and when it starts to thicken start adding the clear butter liquids very slowly. Once all the butter is incorporated continue whisking until the sauce starts to thicken. If it thickens too much add a splash of water to loosen it up. Whisk in the lime juice and paprika.

Monday, July 02, 2007

For Johanna: Carrot Cake

My very favourit-ist carrot cake of all time. Made again, yesterday.

Johanna: you have to follow this to the tee. I've made slight variations - all to detrimental effect. In fact, the picture of the cake above didn't work out because I used all white flour and no nuts. Didn't turn out at all.

Carrot Cake

175g brown sugar
150mL sunflower oil
2 eggs
100g white flour
100g wholemeal/barley/rye flour (whichever you have on hand)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
3 medium sized carrots - peeled and grated (no doubt using your Thermomix *jealous*)
50g chopped nuts
1 orange, zested and juiced
Additional 75g brown sugar

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius. Beat together the brown sugar and oil. Add in the zest of the orange and the eggs, beating between each additional. Beat until lighter in colour and slightly foamy. Tip in the flours, baking powder and spice and mix until well combined. Fold through the carrot and mixed nuts. Transfer into two prepared sandwhich tins and bake for about 30-45 minutes until cooked (you know when ;).

While it is baking prepare an orange syrup by slowly heating the orange juice and additional brown sugar over a low heat. When the cakes are removed from the tins (after cooling slightly) poke holes all over them and pour over the syrup.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

50g softened butter
3 cups icing sugar (I know I'm terribly inconsistant with my measurements - try 500mL)
175g cream cheese
Juice from half an orange

Whip together all of the ingredients until light and fluffy. Frost the cake with a layer of the icing between the layers of cake.

Let me know how you get on!

P.S. I'll hopefully be moblogging from the Henley Regatta. See you there - hopefully the weather won't be bad...

P.P.S. We've decided not to go to Henley Regatta - We've got to start putting our heads down and start saving money for Le Grande Tour in November... Besides - we have a mower to buy :(

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Elderflower cordial

All last summer I was eyeing off our neighbours elderflower bush trying to work up enough gumption to go and ask them if I could pick the elderflower heads. Last year however, my shyness got the better of me and before I knew it the flowers had turned into berries and the berries fell to the ground.

This year was going to be different and a couple of weeks ago I found myself eyeing off our new neighbour's elderflower tree. Thankfully though I didn't have to overcome my shyness. On Sunday, after weeding the carrots, chard and radishes I sneaked over to the allotment opposite ours and into the elderflower bush (protected by a whole lot of stinging nettles). There were so many I figured that they wouldn't miss a few. I gathered at least 30 elderflower heads and I brought them home dreaming of elderflower cordial and all the things I can do with it. I'm thinking elderflower cupcakes, elderflower charlottes, elderflower granita... the elderflower possibilities are endless. I might have to go and pick some more.

Elderflower Cordial

30 heads of elderflowers
2 litres of water
1 kilogram of sugar (I used half golden granulated and half demerara)
2 limes, peeled and sliced
1 orange, peeled and sliced
4 tablespoons cream of tartar

Into a large saucepan (I talking big), place the flowers, sugar and citrus fruits. Stir together and leave to sit for 2 hours. Add the cream of tartar (which prevents crystallisation). Boil the water and pour over the flowers. Cover and leave to sit for at least 24 hours (although I let ours sit for 48).

Filter through a J cloth into sterilised glass bottles or plastic bottles. If freezing in the plastic bottles leave some space for expansion.

As a flavouring for various dishes I'm going to reduce the cordial down for a more intense hit.

Search Daydream delicious...