cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
Having been inspired by Cooking for Geeks I recently (well, probably 3 months now) bought a 15L temperature controlled water bath, and have never looked back...

Why a water bath you say? Because you can do really cool things really easily with it! For more info, Google sous vide, because I can't be bothered explaining it.

ANYWAY.

Sous vide makes egg cooking both super delicious and easy, so this post will focus on some adventures in egging that I did.

Firstly, and super simply, we have slow cooked eggs. Essentially, you just carefully place eggs into the water bath, set to 63°C, and leave it for about half an hour. What you then do is crack the egg, like you would an uncooked one, but very carefully. Remove as much of the shell as possible, and it should fall out like an uncooked egg, except it should be lovely and soft and partially cooked.


Water Bath Eggs - From Food!

Notice how the egg is lovely and white and soft. I find it soo much easier to make these than to poach eggs. Also, they require very minimal work, just a bit of time. The white can be considered undercooked, but you can put it under a grill to firm it up. Quite delicious!

The above photo is basically an incomplete eggs benedict. All it lacks for is hollandaise. WHAT A SURPRISE!? I used my water bath to make it! :D

To make the sauce, I basically followed
this recipe. But used cracked pepper instead of mustard powder. However, when I first took the sauce out of the bath and blended it, it was separating. So I added another egg yolk and put it in the water bath for a bit longer and gave it another blend and it formed a lovely thick sauce!

Eggs Benedict and Asparagus - From Food!

Hollandaise sauce will probably kill me. It's a thick, rich, buttery sauce that goes well with eggs, spinach, asparagus (white especially) and heart attacks. Soo goood...

Anyway, that was basically the least skill-requiring Eggs Benedict you could find...

Next, I made crème brûlée. Again, the water bath makes this simpler. From the same site as the one above, I used
this recipe.

Basically, heat cream until it simmers. Whip sugar into egg yolks. Add cream to yolks, slowly, keep whisking.

Then you put it into your buttered ramekins, cover them in Al Foil (make sure it's very securely sealed!). And then put them in the water bath at 90-91°C for an hour. It might be difficult ensuring that the water is at the right level on the ramekins (While you should have made a good seal with the Al Foil, it's not perfect, so you don't want to submerge them).

Once it's out of the water bath put the ramekins into the fridge. Make sure you remove the Al Foil! I didn't and there was a tonne of condensation on the custard which is not ideal. (I solved it with more sugar!)



Crème Brûlée Custard - From Food!

The next step is the fun step. Cover with brown sugar, flatten with the back of a spoon then FIRE! Try and get nice brown/ gold colour, it takes a bit of practice, but as long as you keep the flame moving, you should be fine.

Completed Crème Brûlée From Food!
 
Notice the nice caramel colour of it? If you do it right, you should have a wonderful crack from the sugar to the custard and a lovely play of textures and flavours - hard and soft, sweet and creamy.

I will try post some other sous vide success things that I've done!

Until then, stay cooked!

cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
Yep, another Science Cooking Blog! I get aaalll the ladies!

Background

I like barbecue chicken. I like chips. I like them more when they are covered in a sweet lemon sauce. Up until a few months ago, I was able to do this with relative ease. However, my only source of lemon sauce dried up. Ong's Sweet Lemon sauce stopped being sold in the various supermarkets. Since this point I have searched for a suitable replacement, with no luck. Thus it was decided that I should look into ways of developing my own ways of producing a sweet lemon sauce.

The ingredients were selected on what materials I had available to me at the time. Clearly lemon was an essential ingredient, however lime was also used in order to provide a more robust citrus profile. The citrus profile was also intensified with the addition of the zests of the lemons and lime. Initially, CSR's LowGiCane sugar was used to provide the sweetness, however it provided little difference to caster sugar which was used for additional sweetness. While the sugars increased the viscosity somewhat Corn flour was used to provide the remaining viscosity. A minimal amount of rice vinegar was used to provide some sharpness to the flavours. Olive oil was also minimally used to accelerate the infusion of the zest flavours into the liquid. Finally apple cider that was concentrated through evaporation was used to provide a more complex taste while also increasing the volume of the sauce. 

To mimic the other properties and shelf life of the now unavailable sauce, the sauce was filtered to remove any pulp, seeds and zest.

Aims

To develop a sweet lemon sauce that functions as a successful analogue to the unavailable Malaysian Lemon Sauce. In this way the following properties were sought after:

  • Sweetness: The analogue must be of similar sweetness to the unavailable sauce
  • Viscosity: The analogue must have similar viscosity to the the unavailable sauce
  • Flavour: The analogue must have a citrus based flavour profile that compliments chicken and other foods in a similar way to the unavailable sauce


Materials


The following ingredients were prepared:
  • Juice and zest of 3 lemons. Figure 1
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime.  Figure 1
  • Bottled lemon juice. Figure 2
  • 385ml of Mercury Apple Cider.  Figure 3
  • 3 Tablespoons of LowGiCane.  Figure 4
  • 2 Tablespoon of caster sugar.  Figure 4
  • 1 Teaspoon of rice vinegar.  Figure 5
  • 1 Teaspoon of olive oil.  Figure 5
  • 2 Tablespoons of corn flour Figure 6
Figure 1: A zested lime and some lemons with their respective zests.
Figure 1: A zested lime and some lemons with their respective zests.

Figure 2: A bottle of lemon juice.
Figure 2: A bottle of lemon juice.

Figure 3: A 385ml bottle of Mercury Cider and 100ml of reduced cider.
Figure 3: A 385ml bottle of Mercury Cider and 100ml of reduced cider.

Figure 4: A packet of LoGiCain and a packet of caster sugar.
Figure 4: A packet of LoGiCain and a packet of caster sugar.

Figure 5: A bottle of olive oil and a bottle of rice vinegar.
Figure 5: A bottle of olive oil and a bottle of rice vinegar.

Figure 6: A packet of corn flour.
Figure 6: A packet of corn flour.

Methodology

  1. Empty cider into a pot on a high heat. Stir until all dissolved gases are removed. Let it boil while performing the following steps.
  2. Zest and juice the lemons and lime. Figure 7
  3. Add extra bottled lemon juice so that the volume of the juices is 250ml. Figure 8
  4. Add the zest, sugars, rice vinegar, olive oil and corn flour. Stir well.
  5. Once the cider has boiled down to roughly 100 ml, remove from heat.
  6. Stir in the juice/ zest mixture.
  7. Return to heat to allow the starch to gelatinise and thicken the mixture. Stir well.
  8. Remove mixture once it starts boiling and continue stirring.
  9. Strain mixture.
  10. Let the mixture cool. 
Figure 7: Juiced lemons and a lime.
Figure 7: Juiced lemons and a lime.

Figure 8: 250ml of lemon and lime juice
Figure 8
: 250ml of lemon and lime juice


Results
  • It was difficult to ascertain whether the sweetness was similar to the Malaysian sauce, however, the taste was deemed successful.
  • A significant viscosity increase was observed, however it was lacking compared to the Malaysian sauce. Figure 9
  • The flavour profile complimented chicken and chips successfully. Improvements are possible. Figure 9

Figure 9: The completed sauce.
Figure 9
: The completed sauce.

Discussion

The viscosity can be increased by both using more corn starch and exposing the mixture to more heat, allowing it to gelatinise to a greater extent. To reduce costs and simplify the process, purchased lemon and lime juice could be potentially used. Various spices including paprika could also be used to amplify the flavours.

Conclusion

Overall, the experiment was successful. The flavour and the sweetness of the sauce was sufficient. However, the viscosity of the sauce was lacking.

Further Research

The optimal amount and type of sugar can be ascertained by further experimentation. The citrus flavour profile can potentially be increased by allowing the zest more time to infuse its flavours into the liquid. The viscosity can be increased by both adding more corn flour and allowing the sauce to gelatinise further. The difference (if anything) between corn starch and corn flour should also be examined.




 
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
With potatoes.

Hello again CookingBlog. I've been told not to insult you... Clearly you've been running your mouth off again.

You're pushing me CookingBlog...

Photos and Things )
And finally, it's on the plate! You can also see the apple and potatoes. (Both delicious)

All in all, it was a rather successful first attempt at the pork belly medium.

Here's a semi-standardised recipe of what I did (with a bit of hindsight added in...)

INGREDIENTS!
  • ~1.6kg Pork Belly
  • 5 Green Apples
  • 5 Lemons
  • 4 Limes
  • 5 Small Potatoes
  • ~100g Brown Sugar
  • ~15g No Egg
  • ~20g Juniper Berries
1) Cut and juice lemons and limes. Core apples and grate them into a bowl. Cover the apple bits with the juice (but save a bit).

2) Crush juniper berries in the lime juice well. Strain the resulting liquid into the apple mixture thing. (You may want to try to infuse the juniper longer with some kind of teabag? I don't know. Mix well and leave to soak.

3) Score the fat layer of the belly. Use a sharp knife! :S Try not to go deeper than the fat... Score the base but you can score deeper.

4) Wash, cut into circles, dry, salt and then coat in olive oil on some potatoes.

5) Put the pork belly skin down on a medium shallow pan. Stuff the base with apples (achieving an even layer). Then add the potatoes.

6) Flipping is tricky. Get a pan and apply pressure on the stacked pork and then flip it so that the fat is pointed up.

7) Add brown sugar and No-Egg to the resulting liquid (Try to drain the apple mixture beforehand).

8) Baste ham skin with the liquid. Put it in the oven at 100°C.

9) Continue to baste it in this manner whenever you feel like it. Eventually, some of the fat will melt. Gather it and mix it with the basting mixture.

10) When you think it's cooked well enough throughout either turn up the heat or put it on the grill setting to give it a more solid and caramelised skin...

11) Remove from oven and let it sit and cool. Cut through meat in a vertical way and eat with the apples and potatoes (along with whatever else you want to add).

It turned out rather well with rave reviews. I also made delicious pancakes. But that may be a story FOR ANOTHER TIME!?

cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
Hey foodblog!

It's been awhile hasn't it! Well, SHUTUP DON'T JUDGE ME!?

I mean, I've been "busy". Foodblogging requires silence and photos and things! These, along with time, are precious resources.

Anyway, to the food!

I had 4 lamb forequarter chops and some cooked lamb ribs (from my local BBQ chicken shop) so I decided to COMBINE THEM BOTH IN AN ORGY OF DEATH!

First step was extracting the "zest" from the lemon and lime. This was harder than expected as the only equipment available to me was a blunt potato peeler. So I peeled both of them anyway. They looked pretty destroyed by the process, but i got some peel. I then chopped up the peel and put it into a bowl.

AFTERWARDS! I added a good amount of olive oil, oregano and the juices of both fruit. I mixed it vigorously with a fork. I then added a bit of cracked pepper and garlic flakes and stirred it some more. The oil and juice wasn't mixing, so I added about a table spoon of No Egg mix (Kind of useful). This made it a bit thicker and emulsify better. Also added a table spoon of sugar. I mixed and mixed and mixed and mixed!

Before this, however, I had put my uncooked chops in the glass oven thing. I then covered them in cracked sea salt and rubbed it in. I waited awhile and then turned them over and did the other side. Then I washed it all in lemon juice and soaked it up with paper towels. Finally, I added the marinade syrup thing.

I put it in my small oven at 200°C at fan grill (if your oven doesn't have this setting FIND A NEW OVEN!?). I let it cook for awhile and noticed that the marinade was starting to thicken up. I then turned over the chops (transferring the marinade onto other chops) and remarinated the unmarinated side. I left it for some more time until it began to darken.

While it was darkening, I prepared the ribs. Using my mad butchering skilllz I separated them and then lightly coated them in the remaining marinade.

I then removed the chops and inserted the ribs underneath them and put them back in the oven. The ribs warmed up within about 5-10 minutes from the fan grill, so I changed it to full grill and kept turning the chops until they developed a nice colour.

This is what it all looked like out of the oven:

A new cooking innovation. Stack cooking. Cook meats ontop of ... on Twitpic
This is what I had for lunch, meat and Greek pastries:
This was my lunch. Lamb chops and ribs in a lemon lime oregan... on Twitpic

It was rather delicious, but craaazzy oily. Also a fuckload of food. I think next time I will use a more zested form of the lemon lime and more of them. Also, the No Egg was useful at thickening up the marinade. Probably use more next time. Maybe also some maple syrup? Maybe also cornstarch. Probably won't use as much oil since it's crazy oily already.

Next time! SHUTUP I HAVEN'T THOUGHT THAT FAR!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
Very exciting things are happening. Ground breaking stuff. Revolutionise the way you think about EVERYTHING!

Cut due to length and pictureness... )

WE ALL LOVE THOSE FRENCH BALLS!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
 So remember the vodka I tried to infuse?

Yeah, it didn't turn out very well. The vodka was pretty crap to begin with, so it makes sense.

It still has the crap vodka taste, but also has a really sour lime flavour. Maybe I let it infuse for too long? Maybe next time I should just put the rinds in.

I don't know.

It just didn't go well, OK!?
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So I'm feeling a bit infusitious (It's a word! Look it up! It means in a mood to infuse...) and I have this cheap bottle of vodka and all these limes...

WHAT AM I TO DO!?

(Infuse things.)

This is a pretty quick and dirty infusion since my mother has taken the TV room and I'm relatively bored.

SO! I'm not going to waste time on procuring Fancy Things like a "glass jar" or "ten" limes. Instead I'm just going to chuck all the infusing stuff into the original bottle.

I got the recipe/ method This. Basically, it says, get 4 limes, zest them and get their flesh (But throw out the white stuff) and put it in the vodka).


Basically, I bought a $26 (or so) bottle of Ruskov vodka (It was the cheapest I could find! I know in the US you can buy vodka for like $7! HATE!). Here's a picture of the vodka without a label!

A bottle of Ruskov vodka... (Cheap, cheap, disgusting vodka) ... on Twitpic

I then proceeded to get the limes. LOOK AT THE LIMES!

Limes for #VodkaInfusion. TASTY!! on Twitpic

I then "zested" the limes with a cheese grater and cut the flesh out. I put cut the flesh as small as possible and shoved it in the original vodka bottle. When the bottle looked like it was about to fill up, I poured some of it into a glass. Eventually all the infusionary ingredients were added to the vodka bottle. I then put the extra vodka into another bottle along with some lime juice and rice. (Not sure why I put the rice in, but I feel it might absorb some of the crap flavours...)

TWO BOTTLES OF VODKA!?

Right: Bottle with vodka and lime to be infused Left: Remaini... on Twitpic

The idea is that I'll leave it for a few days and then when the infusion is done, I'll recombine them and filter them out and put it back into the vodka bottle... I realise it was a bit like cheating using lime juice, HEY! SHUTUP!

Oh also I put a dash of salt in the vodka infusion. I believe this to counteract a bit of the burning flavours in the vodka. But this is based on nothing really...

I will shake it up (roughly) every day and check on it on Friday(ish).

FUTURE INFUSION IDEAS!
A Vodka Tzatziki cocktail. Basically I want to infuse some vodka with cucumber and garlic. And then some how combine it with Greek yoghurt... Idealy, I would like it to be a clear colourless cocktail with a tzatziki flavour. But that's IN THE FUTURE!!


cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So another redish cheesecake has been made by me.

IT'S WHAT I KNOW, OK!?

I should really try expanding into other areas of both cheesecakes and of cakes generally...

I don't think I've made a proper chocolate cake yet...

ONE DAY!

BUT NOT TODAY!

The reason I made this cake was because the magnificient, lovely, beautiful, amazing, hypertastic and magniflorious [info]feishien had her 21st on Sunday.

HEREARETHEINGREDIENTS!?

- 440g white Chocolate
- 500g cream cheese
- 100ml cream
- 250g raspberries (Net weight in the can)
- 170g strawberries (Hulled strawberries from a punnet of 250g)
- Some amount of sugar (100g?)
- 250g scotch finger biscuits
- 125g butter

So firstly, I hulled the strawberries and drained the raspberries (yes, they were from a can, I'M SORRY! FRESH ONES ARE SUPEREXPENSIVE!?). I then blended them and added the cream to blend with it as well. I think I also added the sugar at this point. Once it was sufficiently homogeneous, I put it in a pan on a low heat. I proceeded to chop up the cream cheese and add it to the warming puree. I stirred it lots with a wooden spoon, being careful to not let it boil. The cream cheese didn't mix that well, so I took it off the heat every so often and used my electric hand mixer with it. Eventually it was homogeneous again. I then added the white chocolate which mixed in better and did not require the mixer.

While this was happening, I blended up the scotch finger biscuits and added the butter (melted at some point) to the crumbiness. And let it blend etc. I then pressed it into the base of my spring form pan thing.

Once the hot mixture of everything was ready, I poured it into the pan, and then let it reach room temperature for as long as I could before sleep and then put it in the fridge.

Here's a crappy picture of a slice!

A crappy picture of a slice of cake I made for @feishien&#039... on Twitpic

Sorry about the small pic. If you want a bigger one, FOLLOW THE LINK!!?

As you can see from the picture, it wasn't very temperature stable. One of my dreams is to make a non-baked cheesecake that can maintain its shape at room temperature. I think to achieve this, I would need to boil down the fruit puree quite a bit (to remove the water) maybe use a much thicker cream and maybe use a harder cream cheese (ricotta?). Also, maybe more white chocolate...

The taste was nice, however, I would like next to accentuate the fruit flavours. I could cheat and try using some kind of jam. Or using overripe fruit... It's times like this I wish I had a better understanding of the chemistry of cooking specifically flavours. Did I destroy or evaporate some of the fruit flavours by heating it up?

BUT THOSE ARE QUESTIONS FOR OTHER DAYS!

If life gives you lemons... DELICIOUS!?
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So.

Last Wednesday I returned, unsatisfied from yum cha, not wanting to study, and feeling like a drink. Being a burgeoning alcoholic, I made one. It was hot, so I decided to use crushed ice.

I wanted to make a slurry of sorts, so I crushed ice in my blender (I think it may be a food processor?) and then put it into a glass.

OBLIGATORY FOODBLOG PICTURE:

I was disappointed with the amount, price and value of lunch ... on Twitpic

I then got some rum, lime juice/ zest and brown sugar and poured it over it.

HERE'S THE RESULT:

I then poured rum, lime, and brown sugar over it (crushed ice... on Twitpic

While drinking it, I noticed that some of the solid lime zest was being deposited on the ice at the top. I realised that if I could get the ice crystal size right, I would be able to do some kind of awesome drink chromatography. (Chromatography is a method of separation. Look it up!)

The idea is that the ice kind of acts as a filter, catching any solid thing. Meanwhile, the liquid trickles through the ice, cooled and clean of solids. (You drink it with a straw, from the bottom of the glass where the liquid forms a bit of a reservoir.)

A simple application of this would be to make cocktails without the need of a cocktail shaker. (You mix the ingredients separately then just pour it over the ice. Any solids stay in the ice and the drink is cooled.)

A more advanced application would be to make some crazy drink that tasted different depending on where you tasted it...

SOME IDEAS:
  • Some form of paprika and lime cocktail. This is basically because a friend misheard a song and probably would not make a great cocktail.
  • Using brown sugar with a high proof alcohol. The alcohol could turn the sugar white while taking the brown from it. Not sure whether this would be desirable in a cocktail...
THIS IS THE BEGINNING!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
I feel I have some sort of Anti-Midas cooking thing going on today... (Well, it's yesterday now...)

Anyway, I attempted to make a magnificent macaron for a great friend's 21st BUT IT DIDN'T WORK!! : <

I EVEN DID SOO MUCH RESEARCH! THESE SITES, I READ!

This, This, This AND EVEN THIS!

Even with this amount of knowledge I was unable to complete a simple task of making macarons!

It seemed everything was against me. The aim was for the finished product to be a raspberry macaron with a raspberry white chocolate ganache with raspberries between the biscuits...

The first hurdle was THAT THERE ARE NO RASPBERRIES!

NONE!

ANYWHERE!?

I did find freeze dried raspberry powder, but it was $30 for 150g!! I only wanted 5g! So I didn't buy it. I AM SOO POOR! :(

Eventually I decided I would go the Italian macaron way. That way, I could make a sugar syrup and add things to it. The plan was a blueberry sugar syrup. I processed/ blended the home blueberries and spent many a time squishing them through a sieve of sorts. I then added sugar and put it to a boil. Of course, all the guides say heat it to 115°C, checking with a "Candy thermometer"
...

WHO THE FUCK HAS A CANDY THERMOMETER!?!??! SERIOUSLY!

Anyway, I whisked up the egg whites a bit to the state described and then added the hot syrup. IT DESTROYED THE EGGS! THEY WENT ALL FLAT!

I was sad.

But I kept going, I wasn't going to be stopped. I had found dried blueberries in the cupboard before. The idea was simple. Blend blueberries with icing sugar. That way, you would get a blueberry powder.

It worked! Kinda... But the powder was blue. I whisked a couple more egg whites (by hand this time...) and added it, BUT IT FAILED AGAIN!

I threw it all out.

I then checked my lemon oil. My pride and joy. It still tasted VERY OLIVE OILY! Gah! So I threw it out also.

Do you know how depressing it is to clean up after you've failed many times? It is very depressing...

Oh, I did succeed at making PHABO... WHOOPEE!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
 I made this today.

The whipped cream was very sweet. I put much too much sugar in it. That might have made it not whip well also. It was also light cream.

I ate the food as I made it.

I ate a whole egg's worth of crepes... IT WAS A LOT!

ARE YOU HAPPY LJ Feishien ???

<3

P.S. NO PICTURES I ATE IT ALL TOO QUICKLY!

P.P.S. THAT IS WHY I DIDN'T BLOG ORIGINALLY!

cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So, yesterday was the 28th of October which is known in Greek as Όχι Day. I also handed in 300 and something pages of like 6 months work.

I wanted to drink something, so I looked what I had. Then I found some Metaxa brandy. I was informed of the Greek holiday, and decided to make a drink.

Όχι Day celebrates the day when the Greek prime minister during WW2, Metaxa, said "No" to the Axis powers. (It's a tad more complicated than that, but yeah, Greece said "Fuck you" and we were awesome)

Anyway, so I decided to go with what I knew. If something is very alcoholic and burns, add lemon and lime.

So yeah.

100 ml Metaxa brandy
2 lemons worth of juice
1 limes worth of juice
50 ml of lime cordial (maybe?)

Shake it over ice. The colder the better.

Add it to lemonade to the strength you want it at.

A potential innovation would be to add mint.

NEXT TIME!

Stay tuned as I attempt lemon oil today!

SHWAH!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
I was told that I shouldn't experiment with macarons. This shits me. I have no idea why macarons work the way they do, and I can't be bothered to look it up. (IF I WANT TO RESEARCH THINGS I'LL DO MY THESIS!)

So in order to discover the inner workings of macarons, I plan to hold an experiment, where I run trials of different variables and see how they turn out. In doing this I hope to work out what makes a macaron tick, how far you can push macarons etc.

I'm planning on varying the size as well as the ingredients. Maybe 3 diameters? Also I would try both dry and wet ingredients. Different fruits. Maybe interesting dry ingredients. I would also like to see how much wet and dry ingredients I can add before they stop working.

And yes, I realise the contradiction of using my thesis as an excuse for not researching when I am conducting a series of experiments... (Not sure how grammatical that sentence was...)

STAYTUNED!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So we have a strawberry surplus here, and I decided to utilise it.

HEREARETHENGREDIENTS!!

- 500g Strawberries, chopped
- 200g Chocolate, chopped, finer
- 43g Cookies, triple choc, crushed (3 cookies)
- 2 Eggs, large
- 500ml Thickened cream
- 50ml Milk (May vary, see below)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 self raising flour

Mix eggs and cream together. Mix sugar and flour together. Add the previously mixed liquids. Add extra milk to adjust how thick the mixture is. Add chocolate, cookies and strawberries. Put in muffin tins, greased. Bake at 200°C until they rise from the dead... I mean rise. Let them brown a bit.

OHGODNOTES!

So I used cream instead of milk. Because I'm a cool kid and we seemed to have 500ml of cream (measured by eye). This made about 18 muffins. You can easily halve the recipe, but I wanted to use 2 punnets. PUNNET POWER!

I will probably put up some photos of them tomorrow, and put the link here.

YOU WILL HAVE TO WAIT!

They are rather tastilicious. Verrry soft. Though, not sure about the taste. I think they could be improved with more sugar and/ or chocolate. Maybe they'll taste better when they're cool.

THEY BETTER! OR ELSE I'LL EAT YOUR FACE!

Keep cooking while looking!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So macarons.

I had never heard of them before a week or so ago. But I heard they are hard to make and wanted a challenge. (Also, a friend of mine made them, so I had a bit of competition there. (It was all in my mind, but still...))

I based my method off this site:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/10/how-to-make-macarons-recipe.html

WARNING MACARONS ARE TIME CONSUMING! PREPARE TO LOSE YOUR AFTERNOON/ EVENING/ AFTERLIFE (IT HAPPENS!)!

So.

INGREDIENTS!

225g Icing Sugar
125g Ground Almonds/ Almond Meal
110g Egg Whites (about 4), "Aged"
30g Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Salt

First off, lets talk aging. Apparently you need to age your egg whites. The arcane wisdom is to leave them somewhere for about 24 hours. I wish someone would actually say why we age them, and what the process of aging actually is. Do the egg whites lose water? Gain water? Absorb air?

Anyway, apparently the hip kids are putting the egg whites in the microwave on medium for 30 seconds to mimic the process. I did that, I don't think I put I made the microwave less powerful enough as it cooked a strain of egg white.

Anyway. Clean, dry bowl. Put egg whites, salt in that. Beat. Beat until frothy. Then slowly add sugar and keep beating. (This is much easier if you have an automatic mixer.) Don't beat too hard before you put the sugar in. Once all the sugar is in, keep beating until you get "firm peaks". *Insert sexual innuendo*

Get your almond meal and icing sugar and mix. Now, "The Man" wants you to jump through hoops. He wants you to put it through sieves and stuff. But I didn't. Sieves are incredibly time consuming and messy. I tried, and failed. If you have an awesome sieve that can do that, go for it! It will probably be MAGNIFLORIOUS!

OK! Now get a flexible spatula and put the almond/ icing sugar powder into the big bowl of fluffy egg white. Fold the powder into that until it's well combined. It should apparently "flow like magman". My plastic bowl didn't burst into flames and I didn't notice any bodies turned to ash from pyroclastic flow, so, don't know about that. Just be gentle, OK!?

Now to do some piping! Get yourself a piping bag with a 1cm diameter nozzle. (I got mine from Coles for like $3) Then you want to pipe the mixture out onto baking paper. Now apparently 2.5cm diameter macarons are the rage, with 5cm distance between them. So to do this you draw a stencil. Or, you use the one I awesomely made:

https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B5k6kZEwArnwNGRmZGM5YmEtMDY4MC00ZTJmLWEyY2UtODhhZDJkMjBmMjFh&hl=en&authkey=CIvd3aEH

The good thing about macarons is that there is a sharp learning curve. That comes from basically aaall the trial and error you get in both piping and baking. That mixture made about 70 complete macarons. Only about 50 were usable in polite company.

So here are some tips:

Using a stencil helps for piping. It guides you.

When piping, put the pipe head perpendicular to the paper, and then push. It should kind of expand to the circle.

If you made the mixture properly, the pre-cooked macarons should set pretty quickly. Mine were very small, bigger ones will probably take longer. I have no idea what governs the setting of macarons. Does it prefer hot or cold? Damp or dry? Mine worked well. Deal!

Put the oven on 160C fan-forced. My instinct for baking is non-fan. But two trays of mine burnt rather quickly that way. Fan-forced tends to spread the heat more evenly. Without it, the bases get verry burnt which is bad. Also, when baking them, keep the oven door slightly ajar. IT LETS THE GHOSTS ESCAPE!

I had about 11 trays worth, so I developed a system. I know the top of my oven is hotter, so I would put a tray near the bottom, wait about 5 minutes, then put it to a more middle rack then put another tray into the original rack. Once the top ones were done, I would move the bottom ones up and etc.

Now macarons are good because you get lots of second chances and trial and error. The main cause of macaron failures was the base sticking to the paper. That meant they just weren't cooked enough. And it's hard to tell from looking at them. Your best bet it so keep rotating the macarons. They need constant supervision. I cleaned up the kitchen in the brief 3 minute periods I had before moving the macarons. Usually if they're brown, they're ready. Also, another trick, try flattening the baking paper as much as possible. That gives the macaron base better contact with the tray and therefore cooks the base properly.

What else...

Ah yes, I sacrificed a child to Baal before I started. Not sure how it worked since he's a bit temperamental...

The macarons that I made were rather small, so they cooled quickly. I made the "ganache" while baking etc. I basically just got 350g of various chocolate products (milk, white and nutella) and mixed it with an equal mass of cream with 84g of butter. I boiled the cream first then added it to a bowl full of the chocolate. Mixed it enough, then added the butter. It didn't taste like much so I added cocoa and sugar. You can do anything here. BE CREATIVE! Also, I think I used about 10% of that ganache, so yeah, you don't need as much.

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES!


A galaxy far far away...
Chocolated Macarons - Far Away

I'm ready for my close up.
Chocolated Macarons - Close Up

Eat or die!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So mother brought some strawberries and cream and cream cheese. I have made too much cheesecake recently, so I decided against it.

Instead I decided to go with making some muffins and coating them in a strawberry cheesecakeish sauce.

Unfortunately, I have not kept up with the level of accuracy in masses that I want to in this recipe. My time is a bit more precious as of late, and these muffins took quite a few hours to produce...

HEREARETHEINGREDIENTS!

MUFFINS!

- 380g Self raising flour
- 3 Eggs, beaten
- 450g sugar
- 75g of frozen mixed berries
- 250ml milk
- 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Essence
- 130g butter, chopped at room temperature (~20-30°C)
- 4 lines of milk chocolate (~100g?)
- 4 lines of white chocolate (~100g?)

STRAWBERRYCREAMCHEESECREAMSAUCE!

- 500g (2 punnets) Strawberries, hulled
- 300g (or so) Cream cheese
- 200ml Cream

Sift flour into a bowl. Add sugar. Mix well. Beat eggs. Make sure the butter is sufficiently chopped. It needs to be soft. Mix the eggs, milk and butter all together. Now I kind of screwed up here, I couldn't be bothered letting the butter melt.

Use some form of mixer to mix it all up. I used an electric mixer, but that probably wasn't that great, I think the mixture became too smooth... Anyway. Once the mixture is done, grate 2 lines of milk and white chocolate into the mixture and add the berries. Put these into some form of muffin things. I used small ones since I want to provide many muffins.

I put the muffins in the oven, non-fan at 200°C, until they rose and turned brownish. Since I had many trays, I had to rotate them. The muffins in the lower trays didn't work as well.

While they were cooking, I prepared the sauce. Basically, put them all in a blender.

Once the muffins were done, I took them out and removed them from their trays. I then put them on baking trays covered in Al foil and covered them in the creamsauce thing. I now have them in the fridge. There's still some sauce left over which I'll put on later on when it's (hopefully) thickened.

I can't be bothered with html, so here's a link to a pic:

http://twitpic.com/22xrex

I will try posting an update on how they turned out.

Excuse me while I EAT THE SKY!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
This time, the surprise is that it isn't completely ugly!

Working on the recipe I devised last time, I have tweaked it a bit more.

This time I also used a spring-based pan. ($9.95 from your local Hot Dollar :D )

I decided to make the base crazy by adding more biscuits and replacing some of the butter with chocolate and nutella. I used much more strawberries this time, and it seemed to pay off.

THE INGREDIENTS KEEP CHANGING!

Scotch Finger Biscuits 300g
Butter 75g
Chocolate 20g
Nutella 45g
Strawberry Jelly 85g (A packet)
Strawberries 1kg (4 punnets)
Thickened Cream 300ml
Philadelphia Cream Cheese 300g
Egg 1
Water 100g
Sugar 120g

Similar to last time, I blended the scotch finger biscuits and then added the melted other stuff (Butter, chocolate and nutella). Depending on how it tastes, I may modify this slightly, also the crust is rather large... I then pressed it on the bottom of the cake tin and put it in the fridge.

I then put 300g of strawberries (hulled and cut up roughly) into the blender. Boiled the 100g water, dissolved the jelly into it then put about half of that into the blender with the strawberries. (To turn it into more of a slush thing and give it a more red colour...) (Next time, I think I'm gonna add the strawberries to the jelly, then let it boil down so that it's not as watery). I proceeded to add the mixed egg, and then the cream. I let it blend properly, then added the cream cheese. After tasting how sour it was, I realised I had forgotten the sugar, and added that.

I poured the mixture into the cake tin and baked at 210C. It was rather slow and was starting to form a burnt skin, so I turned it down. It took awhile, but eventually, I got sick of it and took it out, when it cooled slightly, it solidified, much to my relief.

I then used the remaining strawberries (cut up into quarters) to form the topping. I used the other half of the jelly liquid, poured it on the strawberries, then put them on top and put it in the fridge.

RESULTS:

Far Away
Far Away

Close Up
Close Up

So yeah, this turned out rather well. However, the real test will be the tasting.

Keep your cooks cooking, lest they cook themselves and die.
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
The surprise is that the surprise was ruined! The surprise was supposed to be that this cheesecake is baked, but the title ruins that!

So I have returned to this plateau of cooking, this blog of Gods. I have returned to share my ancient, arcane and revelatory knowledge that will single handedly transform the way we look at cooking!

... Ok, I'll stop now.

So yes, this time, I decided to try a baked cheesecake. The reason for this is that it allows for longer transport times.

I modified the recipe I used the last time slightly

HERE ARE THE AMENDED INGREDIENTS!

Scotch Finger Biscuits 250g (A small packet)
Butter 125g
Strawberry Jelly 85g (A packet)
Strawberries 500g (Two punnets)
Thickened Cream 300ml
Philadelphia Cream Cheese 250g (One packet)
Water 100g
Sugar 100g

So, like last time, I blended up the biscuits and added the butter and then blended it some more. Then I lay baking paper down on the baking tin (I don't have a "spring pan") and then proceeded to push the biscuit mixture into the base. I then put it in the fridge.

After that, I got half the strawberries and cut them up and put them in the blender to puree them. Then I added the cream cheese, thickened cream and sugar. Then I added the eggs.

After that, I poured it into the tin and baked it in the oven at 180C for about half an hour.

While it was baking, I cut the other strawberries up into big bits (quarters and such) and then boiled the water and added the jelly to it, making sure it all dissolved. Then I added the chopped strawberries and let them stew for awhile.

Now here is where it kind of went a bit fail. Basically, I tried putting some strawberries on the cake, they sunk, so I turned up the heat and waited, put the rest on, and then the cake kind of puffed up and engorged the strawberries.

Here's what it looks like:

http://twitpic.com/1wr5f0

I chose the blurry picture because it's not worth seeing in focus...

I may post another picture of a slice which may look nicer.

A few mistakes that I made in this recipe. Firstly, it was too liquidly. I should have used less cream. And maybe even used less egg in favour of more cream cheese. Also the topping was a bit of a disaster. As you can see in the picture, there was only enough to cover half the cheesecake. So next time, maybe use two punnets? Also, I think next time I will use a higher heat and not use fanforced. Cakes seem to like that better.

Hopefully the taste will make up for its appearance.

EATFOOD!
cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So there is some history behind my brownies. I have been formulating the recipe for a couple of years and was one of my first forays into cooking/ baking. These brownies have become rather famous and highly regarded amongst various circles. However, despite their renown and quality, I still believe there is room for improvement. Perfection at any cost! (Apart from money...)

A little history. I first started making brownies using the mixtures you get at Coles etc. It was simply that mixture with macadamias and topped with melted chocolate). As time progressed, I started experimenting with blended macadamias in the topping. As I started to make more, I needed to drive down costs, so I started experimenting with making my own brownie recipe. I have continually played with the recipe, and tried to improve it while making it cost effective.

What I will provide bellow will be less a recipe, and more a way of thinking with creating these brownies.

Like most of the meals on this blog, this recipe/ thing hasn't reached perfection or even an optimal balance between quality, quantity and cost. But that's what time is for.

A description of the brownies:

What makes my brownies my brownies (Let's call them Kyri Brownies) is a few things. The major feature is the topping. It is generally made of a mixture of blended up macadamia nuts and chocolate. Milk and white can be used, dark can be used, it depends on your budget and taste.

Another feature that I have coined (or stolen) is using the blended up macadamias in the mixture to provide added flavour and replaces butter somewhat. Also, chopped macadamias are used within it.

Generally, the idea is mix all the ingredients for the brownies then add in the chunks then bake then make the topping. Let the brownies cool then add the topping and put in fridge. Serve cold.

As for the ingredients, I will present them more as a percentage since I used rather large quantities when I made mine. It also helps you conceptualise the idea of the brownies.

(The ratios don't need to be exact this is what I ended up with for this batch. There is room for variance. All in weight%)

Mixture:
13% Butter (Melted)
9% Flour
16% Eggs (Beaten)
50% Chocolate (I used a mixture of compounded and edible milk and dark chocolate)
4% Sugar
8% Macadamia (Blended until it becomes a slurry)

Chunks:
29% Milk Chocolate (I used Cadburry. Blended for a few seconds)
37% White Chocolate
34% Macadamia (Like chocolate above, blended only slightly)

Topping:
48% Macadamia (Blended, slurry)
25% Milk Chocolate (Cheap BigW Belgian this time)
17% Compounded Milk Chocolate
10% Compounded Dark Chocolate

So yeah, I have been intentionally vague, since this is one of my signature dishes. But if asked nicely, I will teach someone the art and start them on their journey to making brownies.

Now for gratuitous pics!

Swirrrrl! Brownie mix after adding macadamia slurry!
Brownie Macadamia SWIRRRRL!

Completed brownie slab! DELICIOUS!
Kyri Brownies!

I need to cook more!
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