Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Daring Bakers #17 Yeasted meringue coffee cake...

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Made it exactly on the 13th March for my Bday! It was delicious, but what's not to like if you're a BIG fun of meringue and yeasted cakes! :D So THANK YOU very much for thins month's challenge! It was perfect!
The dough itself was very easy, fuss free and what's more successful! As I have to assure you that it's not so easy(!) to make a yeasted dough and make it rise (both during improving and during baking!). This recipe is a keeper! If not for the 'full' version with the meringue filling, for the dough and the method itself!
I've opted for the Jamie's version as I was expecting some guests and didn't know if they would like 'Indian' flare... though, I would love it!
I've changed the list of ingredients for the filling and added a hand full of sultanas - worked perfectly! :)


How to make it...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Flour - the mystery solved...

I'm always confused about different types of flour and which flour is the best for baking bread, cookies, sponge cake etc. So I think I'm not alone with those dilemmas... To save you the time of looking for some answers to the questions you might have about the flour here's a little sum up of what I've found during my research online. I would like to share it with you in a kind of article form to save you those hours browsing and looking for the answer ;)
All feedback welcome!

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First why flour is called flour...

"The word "flour" is originally a variant of the word "flower". Both derive from the Old French fleur or flour, which had the literal meaning "blossom," and a figurative meaning "the finest." The phrase "fleur de farine" meant "the finest part of the meal," since flour resulted from the elimination of coarse and unwanted matter from the grain during milling."

What was the first flour...

"Approximately 9000 BC it was discovered that wheat seeds could be crushed between simple grindstones to make flour. Around 3000 BC the Egyptians introduced yeast. The Romans were the first to grind corn on cone mills and in 1879, the beginning of the Industrial Era, the first steam mill was erected in London. In the 1930s began enrichment of some flour with Iron, Niacin, Thiamine and Riboflavin. In the 1940s mills started to enrich flour and Folic Acid was added to the list in the 1990s."


FLOURS:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Full Irish breakfast and... Happy St.Patrick's Day!

Full Irish breakfast isn't something we will have regularly. It's a treat and there are few reasons to it: first of all there's a little bit of work involved in preparing it, definietly more than making your porridge or simple toast, secondly it isn't the healthiest of the options ;) I have a sentiment to this so popular (not only with the tourists) meal. It was the very first(!) meal/ breakfast we had when we've emigrated to Ireland... We were staying in a small, family run B&B and it was an obvious choice on our very first morning on the Green Island. We went for the "full on" version, and I have to admit I wasn't hungry for quite some time after it.

Now, I would make full Irish when we have guests visiting - family and friends from Poland, France etc. in general from abroad, somewhere when they wouldn't come across this kind of breakfast before. I also make this kind of breakfast as a treat for us - on birthdays, Christmas Day etc.


"In Ireland, as elsewhere, the exact constituents of a full breakfast vary, depending on geographical area, personal taste and cultural affiliation. Traditionally, the most common ingredients are bacon rashers, sausages, fried eggs, white pudding, black pudding, toast, sliced tomato, and fried potato. Sauteed mushrooms are also sometimes included, as well as liver (although popularity has declined in recent years), and brown soda bread. A full Irish breakfast may be accompanied with a strong Irish Breakfast tea such as Barry's Tea, Lyons Tea, or Bewley's breakfast blend served with milk. Fried potato bread, farl, potato farl or toast is often served as an alternative to brown soda bread." - by Wikipedia.org

How to make it...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Almond & Cointreau cookies...

It was my BDay yesterday and yes I baked a cake but I also baked some cookies. I wanted to make my Dad's cookies but decided against it and instead I tried something completely new. The Cointreau is completely my idea and it worked beautiful! Hope you'll try them one day - oh, just one thing, in the recipe for the basic almond cookies it says that I should have approx. 25 biscuits, well I got only 16 out of that amount of the dough, but it can be easily doubled - which I'll do next time!



About Cointreau liqueur..."it's a brand of triple sec liqueur, and is produced in Saint-Barthélemy-d'Anjou, a suburb of Angers, France. Cointreau sources its bitter oranges from all over the world, usually Spain, Brazil and Saint-Raphaël, Haiti. Alexis Lichine states that its primitive name was "Curaçao Blanco Triple Sec". In addition to being imbibed as an apéritif, Cointreau is sometimes used as a digestive. Cointreau is considered to be either a triple sec or a unique category of liqueur. With a 40% alcohol content, Cointreau is strong for triple sec, which usually has an alcohol content of between 15 and 40 percent." - by Wikipedia.org For more info go to the official web site
P.S. I love this liqueur :D

How to make it...

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Daring Cooks #18 and we're going to Peru...

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

This challenge was great! Loved the Papas although I would be adding more 'spice' to the filling in the future - as I was preparing the filling and tasted, it was great but... once covered with the dough the 'heat' somehow disappeared and it wasn't spicy enough - for both me and and my Hubby.
I didn't make another part of this month's challenge: the cheviche. I would love to try it but unfortunately I don't have an access to a good, fresh fish and didn't want to try it with something that might give me an upset tummy etc. ... but I have it on my 'to do' list!



How to make it...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Beer-braised pork knuckles...

OK, I have to be honest here, I wasn't a huge fan of pork knuckles/ham hocks ever in my life - or whatever you want to call them - but there is one (well two really) ways I'll eat them. First is the jellied pig's feet and now this! Recipe taken from Nigella Lawson's book "Kitchen". If you only can - try it! Especially that you can get pork hocks at butcher's for nothing! This dish is what I call a 'men's food' ;) but it doesn't mean that a woman can't enjoy it too! Oh, and just one thing of caution - I know that in some countries (like Poland) it is 'a point of honor' to eat whole pork knuckle, but trust me guys you don't want to do it... one generous ham hock is good for 2, not 1 person!



How to make it...