Have to get my fix somehow...
Having left my cafetiere at Buster’s house after high tea (Ryan, please to post pictures!), I’ve had to improvise a way to make coffee this week. A jug and a sieve have worked perfectly, probably because I have coarsely-ground Peet’s coffee at the moment that my mom brought from California at Christmas. I love Peet’s.
Is it weird that I want one of these? Only £160 from John Lewis!
See through toaster! (Photo from telegraph.co.uk)
“The response has been phenomenal.”
Anybody who has walked past one of London’s fine Ottolenghi locations (www.ottolenghi.co.uk) has undoubtedly noticed their beautifully displayed sky-high meringues. I have had their fantastic cookbook for quite a while now but a number of the recipes require a stand-mixer in order to thoroughly mix ingredients. Although I’m sure you could make these with a hand mixer and loads of patience, I recently indulged in a longtime dream of owning a Kitchenaid mixer. It was the perfect opportunity to invite Anna over, drink a few beers, and bake some delicious treats.
Ryan's shiny new toy
These are based on a swiss meringue, which makes a very stable meringue but requires you to fully dissolve the sugar in the egg whites over heat before the mixing stage. The mixture will go from clear and brown to thick and white (and shiny) when completely mixed.
We used Ottolenghi’s recipe for Cinnamon and Hazelnut Meringues. This recipe creates 8-10 large meringues, enjoy!
200g Egg Whites (about 7)
140g brown sugar (1/2cup + 2 tablespoons)
260g castor sugar (1cup + 1tablespoon)
A small handful of chopped hazelnuts
Combine both sugars and egg whites in a bowl. Place a sauce pan with a small amount of water on the stove, bring to a light simmer and create a double boiler with the bowl. Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Do not allow the egg whites to cook, but heat through, ensuring the sugar is dissolved. Place the egg white and sugar mixture into an electric mixer and beat for about 10 minutes on high-speed or until the egg whites are shiny and very stiff. Scoop the mixture into large balls onto baking paper and top with roughly chopped hazelnuts. Bake at 110c for about 1:20 – 2:00 hours depending on humidity and oven settings. The meringues should be firm on the bottom but still gooey in the middle.
Beau's contribution: sprinkling the nuts
Ready for the oven
Yep, you read that right, I have discovered self-made yoghurt. And when I say self-made I don’t mean that I do magical things to milk, that would be a step to far for city girl-buy-everything-prepacked-in-plastic that I am.
When I mean self-made I mean that thanks to the kind people from EasiYo (ok, I admit, not best title but you can’t get everything right) I get a magical powder that only has healthy bacteria in it, mix it with a litre of cold water, keep it in my thermos-like white container for up to 12hours and voila, the perfect yoghurt achieved at last. Not too gloopy, not too watery. No additives and it still keeps for a week at least – and one pack makes 1kg of yoghurt.
Thanks you kind Kiwi-folk for thinking that one up!
…don’t use The Guardian as fuel for the chimney starter.
This picture is from last year, when we had some real problems lighting the barbeque (the ribs we were cooking are resting on the chimney starter while we try to relight the charcoal in the barbeque).
Pause in ribs cooking whilst bbq is relit
I’m now convinced that our problems with the chimney starter were entirely down to The Guardian and its unique inflammable properties. I used a cube or two of firelighter in the bottom half of the chimney starter at our barbeque a couple of weeks ago, and it worked like a charm (twice!).
Now that I know I can light the barbeque without a hassle, I’m sure I’ll be using it a lot more this summer.
For the sake of homemade yogurt I put myself in harm’s way on Saturday: I went to the kitchen shop on Upper Street. This is always a dangerous proposition, but I’ve been pretty excited about this little project, and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
I needed a big glass jar and a thermometer, which I bought, along with a few other things I probably didn’t need quite so urgently. A salad spinner? I’d managed nearly 29 years without one but I suppose it can’t hurt.
Anyhoo, this afternoon I assembled my ingredients – all two of them – heated up the milk and put the thermometer in the pan. When the milk was cooling down I took the thermometer out, and noticed the bulb had broken. So much for that idea…
I’m assuming if I wash the pan thoroughly the mercury isn’t going to kill me, but if anyone out there knows different, please let me know in comments!
My spice cabinet before
This is the disaster that was my spice cabinet until recently. I couldn’t see what I had at all, especially on the second shelf, and often ended up buying duplicates.
Some of my duplicate spices
I couldn’t live with the chaos anymore, so I found a new solution. Continue reading
There are some kitchen tasks that I put off because they are truly arduous (cleaning the oven and defrosting the freezer, I’m looking at you).
And then there are the tasks that I put off because I’m lazy. Cleaning the microwave and wiping down refrigerator shelves fall into this category. Neither of these pose any threat beyond grossing out fastidious guests (luckily, none of my friends seem to fit that description. Or they’re too polite to tell me. Either way, I win).
However, I realised last night that ignoring some things can become dangerous. When cooking a toast accompaniment for my scrambled egg dinner (it’s haute cuisine week at my place)… Continue reading
My blogmate thinks she’s so special, whipping up homemade hummus in her shiny new mixer. Well ha! Two can play this game.
Yes, yes, my baby chopper is not quite as exciting as Anna food processor. But I never have to chop an onion again, and that’s enough for me.
Every now and then I realize that recipes exist for a reason: sometimes they’re right! I’ve always ignored directions to use a heavy pan when cooking because I never had a heavy pan. But I just made beans in my lovely new casserole dish, and it took half the time! I’m very excited! Other people probably know this already, but, well, I’m impressed.
(For the record, I don’t think it was the cooking that made the difference, but that the quick soak was actually effective. But who knows, maybe it is a magical pan.)