Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ol' Harry Rock Cakes: English Teatime Recipes

Made these cute little Rock Cakes/Scones today they're my idea of a perfect Teatime accompaniment. I've found myself with a new taste for candied orange rind so these little babies hit the spot. Here's the recipe as I used it. The actual recipe uses weight for the measurements which, if you have a kitchen scale, is great. I personally prefer it. But I just changed it all to cups. I've only changed a few things like a little wholewheat flour for texture, shortening along with the butter, & cut the sugar back by 1/2.

The little "explain" about the name says:

"These traditional roughly-formed "rock-like" buns are named after the isolated chalk stacks near Studland on the Dorset coast."

(recipe called for 2 c "self raising flour" so I just made up the difference with salt & leavening agents)
1 3/4 c all purpose & 1/4 c whole wheat
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt)

1/2 tsp mixed spice (I just sorta improvised using nutmeg/clove/ginger)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c butter (the recipe measured it in weight which was 115g, so I had about 1/4 of that be shortening)
1/2 c light brown sugar (recipe called for demerara sugar/raw cane)
1/2 c mixed dried fruit (suggests: currents, sultanas, mixed peel, glace cherries etc..) I used candied orange peel & cranberries
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 medium egg
2 tbsp milk

Put flour, salt baking powder/soda, spices in bowl, rub butter into dry ingr till mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in sugar, mixewd dried friut & lemon rind. Add egg & milk & combine with dry to from a crumbly dough (don't worry it'll seem too dry at first) Form into 10-12 rough heaps (I love rustic cooking, it's makes us poor persons who have no time to cook seem incredibly cool) on GREASED baking tray. Bake for 20 min in 180c oven till lightly browned. Cool on baking tray for 5 minutes before moving to wire rack till cool. Best eaten on the day. But they also freeze well.

Well, friends if you've gotten this far then pray tell me. Whats new about this post?

If you've figured it can thank my brah, Mas! He is the man & I am the proverbial NEWB!

Honest to God, if you come to my blog to harass me about photography or talk numbers & tactical photo-taking I shall stuff a scone in your mouth & tell you that I haven't time for such nonsense. Then of course secretly be on my itouch searching "what means ISO?" on google.

Wish me luck w/ my, as yet unnamed, sleek black baby & if you got any friendly advice just remember, if knew as much about cooking as I do about cameras I'd be blogging to you now about my exploits in scrambled egg making.

So, till you ring my doorbell for a free dinner hand out & lecture on my phototaking blunders-- hope you have a good one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Northamptonshire Seed Cake: English Teatime Cakes

My Good Friend Mr. McNair got me a few new cookbooks for my birthday. Two of these were cute little English cookbooks, one called: Traditional Puddings the other is English Teatime Recipes (Traditonal Cakes from around the Shires)

They're both done with the cutest little water color paintings on each page & recipes with names like: Kentish Cob-nut Cake, Yorkshire Sticky Parkins. I was so tickled with these downright homey sounding little treats. So I finally got around to making one the other day. It's so easy you gotta try it. The combination of caraway seeds & freshly ground nutmeg was just too good. Here's the recipe if you wanna try it. It says:

"A plain cake flavored with nutmeg & caraway seeds, traditionally served at sheep shearing time."

Northamptonshire Seed Cake:

- 8 oz butter (it's 230 g. of butter but one 200g block is fine. 1 cup)
- 8 oz sugar (about 1 cup, but it's waaaay to much so I cut it down to 1/2 a cup)
- 4 eggs
- 8 oz flour (230 g. flour, or 2 cups of flour)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp caraway seeds

Set oven to 350F (180c) Grease a 8 inch round cake tin. Cream butter & sugar & butter in a bowl till light & fluffy. Place eggs in a bowl & set over a saucepan of hot water & whisk until fluffy, whisk into the butter mixture. Sift the flour, b. powder together & nutmeg & fold into the egg/butter mixture. Add caraway seeds & combine well. Turn into the prepared tin & smooth over the top. Bake for 1 1/2 hr covering the top with a piece of kitchen foil if it appears to be browning too quickly. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Renkon Chips

Ooooh-la-la. Renkon is very much one of my favorite little veggie treats. I put up one recipe for Japanese simmered renkon ages ago. But recently I tried making renkon chips & it was so easy I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't try it sooner. Tooo easy, gotsa try it!

Step 1) Fill a pan with about 1/2 inch of frying oil & heat
Step 2) Using a mandolin (the straight edge grater thingie) grate off a peeled renkon straight into the hot oil. Spread them out so they brown evenly.
Step 3) Using a pair of cooking hashi, pullm out onto a paper towel lined dish when they're just starting to get golden. (in about 1-1 1/2 min) A little bonus is you won't have to flipm when frying, they're so thin they'll fry up nicely.
Step 4) Salt & munch the num nums!

And if you're a OCD like me about some things cooking related. Go crazy loading them onto your single hashi as you pullm' out of the oil till you have a nice little row of fried "wagon wheels" (as my daddyo would say).


Now, I'm not kidding when I say that the first time I made these I did about 4 massive renkon pieces and had a huge bowl full of chips that got COMPLETELY devoured at the dinner table. With requests to make more for snack and the approving "smirky smirk whilst hogging the last of the bowl" from my DH.

Some ideas of how you can incorporate them:
- Add to salad for crunch
- Add it onto your tower of tofu toppings
- Sprinkle them on your hot udon
- They're a totally cute garnish for a fancy dinner dish.

Well, that's all I can think of for now......
Go forth & deep fry!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mad for Breakfast

If I were to open a restraunt or cafe it would be a breakfast joint. My DH doesn't seem to think that making an "all day breakfast" restaurant would really fly. Esp here in Japan.

This here is a breakfast that I made in a whirlwind. I don't often wake up with the urge to make something "big" but this day was different. I ran down to the kitchen & made a pretty classic whirlwind mess in the kitchen. Best breakfast creations for me have been made at breakneck speed.

The buscuits were "wing-ed" or "wung"?? I used shortening & a little butter & loved the flaky but buttery texture. Added tbsp of poppy seeds & roughly chopped cranberries.

Ohh....also, wanna ask you what are your thoughts on "apples n'onions"? If you've read the "Little House on the Prairie" books you couldn't help but be affected by the Pioneer Midwestern cooking style. I know I have, things like cornmeal, bacon & maple syrup just make me happy in my soul.

Well, the apples n'onions are just simply sauted in a cast iron skillet with butter on a low heat till they're caramelizing. Added some chopped pecans & salt/pepper. It has the sweet & savory hint of a reminder of stuffing.

Hoping to make tonjiru before the weather is too warm for it. See you at my place, bring a bowl.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

MORE PICTURES: Filler Inners......just because

It's not that I don't want to tell you about my terribly routine days, as I'm sure you're dying to hear all about it, but as mother's (I've heard) often do, I've become inundated with everything "offspring" related. Everything from my 4 yr old's new found spiritual contemplations "Daddy, did God make himself??", to my 6 year old's increasingly alarming experimental behavior "What? I just thought if I stood on the laundry basket then hung over the edge of the balcony that I could see the kids come home from school". Not to mention I'm now juggling 4 days of kids attending school & 2 days of home-school. (Only leaving 1 day to Napoleon-ish drunken weeping regarding lost worlds & other dribble )

All that aside, the desire to hibernate has overtaken me & most of my kitchen related activity has been sparse & half-baked. I'm even drinking my coffee black now cuz' I just can't be bothered with all the extra add-on's. It's fantastic really.

Does that mean I'm packing up shop & moving on to elementary knitting? Hardly! I swear if you give me a partridge & a pear tree (or either, as you see fit) I'll spring to life again & scheme a mighty scheme to make wine poached pears & lemon, laurel & rosemary stuffed partridge baked in a parmasean bread dough crust. don't take much, I'm inspired already!

So, here are some more December pictures, in case you're bored tonight. Ciao for now! Gimmie a shout, all you silent foodie fans....I know you're hungry. Come by & bring something to add to dinner. Till then, observe more of my DECEMBER:

I spent Christmas dinner recooping. NEXT YEAR--- Elaina & Chala make dinner. So let it be written......Turkey & potato fritatta with micro-arugula & feta salad. (3nd best thing about Christmas left overs)2nd best thing about Christmas left overs: massive amounts of left over whip cream to slather on pretty much everything you come in contact with. In this case Tripple berry galette.
1st place for Christmas left over bonus. Chilli Turkey & bean soup with garlic toast fried crisp with turkey drippings for dipping. more shot of the turkey, if you please. If you make this for me, we may end up with a case of elopement, go ahead I dare you.

Cute turkey sanwich in potato buscuit, not a bad little lunchie-munchie. Kids love it.
about 4 gallons of brine for 2 turkeys for my pals at Noda. Cooked one in a convection oven & one in my electric oven. If you can believe it, the one in the electric was the winner of the night as far as being succlently juicy. Cracked & hauled all the kids to a breakfast buffet at Coco's. (if you didn't know already, I'm really not a fan of "tabehodais" at all)yeeeeeaah, see?
But I have to hand it to them, the crossants were fresh, flakey & buttery.

My sweetest 4 year old, gave me a wonderful break when she declared for her birthday "You know Mom, you don't have to decorate my cake with a picture, as long as it's a strawberry shortcake, it's OK" That was so great, that I'm not even slightly ashamed to say this was my very first "typical Japanese" strawberry shortcake. I could barely eat one small piece. Good God! Sorry, this is NOT the cake for me.

Not the best pic, but I totally "winged it" for Mr. McNair's birthday. He wanted a "cream-based" pie. So I made this: "White chocolate, egg-nog spiked pie, with whipped cream & caramel sauce"
I was pretty tickled with the result. The white choco doubled the creaminess of an already lush custard pie with both fresh vanilla beans & freshly grated nutmeg & cloves, the alcohol was brandy & rum, wanted to give it enough of a taste.

That's it for pics, ppl. HUGS & LOVE, eat hearty!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Christmas Day pics 2#

Happy 2010 to youes!

I've been off my computer for awhile now & been busy with "winter break" and all it entails. If you have kids you know this means that at the end of it all I can say with St. Paul the appostle, "And though I bestow all my time to go ice-skating, visiting, sleepover-ing, kite-flying, arcade gaming, stay up late making obentos & special snackies, ----- and have not done even ONE item of laundry or cleaning ------ I am nothing short of a large pile of denial.

And just for good measure I'll have you know that I have pronounced my good friend & uber-huge-footed friend Mark to be a regular "saver of my bakery"!! My DH & I had 48 hours of child free hanging out. Grabbed a hotel room in our old haunts and had a fabulous time doing as little as humanly possible.

We came home to a pristinly clean house & only one child with a self-inflicted black eye..."WHO? ME??"

Yeah, you know it.

So anyway, great times. But now I'm getting back into the game! And if you must know, I'm checking out my newly acquired massivonious of an ass the size of a small prefecture and alarmed -- not at the size of it.....but the fact that I'm instead focusing on the fact that there must be people who find big butts attractive.......right? Sadly the only thing that ever motivated me to exercise in life has been the proscpect of grunting forth spawn otherwise I counted upon my alien-like metabolism to take care of the rest. Gotta get some answers!

Well, lets do those pics already, Huh? Can't promise when I'll actually get around to posting about food again. So love & hugs to you till next time. Ciao!

Notice I was not invited to the party of pretty ladies pictures. I was excommed for my habitual foolish faces to the kitchen forever!
Now that's a Purrty Mama!

Waitin' for prezzies after one too many tootsie rolls for one child apparently.
Girls getting a typing game from Auntie Nina!
Ban IS the man!
Pictionary is SERIOUS business and the persons you want on your team are Nina & Mas!
Ah, yes I did some cooking too!