Wednesday, 26 February 2014

{apricot jam in hermie}

I'm not one of those people who are lucky enough to have a large backyard to grow my own fruit and vegetables so for the whole of summer, I've been on the lookout for cheap, nearly overripe apricots. Why? Because Apricot Jam is Mr S's most favourite jam flavour and I can see why. He has grown up with amazing Auntie's that have made jam for most of his childhood and having tasted it myself, it's super tasty. It has a beautiful chunky texture (so you know there are real apricots in there) and the orange colour is vibrant and natural.

I don't have their recipe but I'm trying to do Apricot Jam justice. This is best served on a chunky piece of toast with a dollop of thick cream in the middle. Or, if you're more adventurous, make some homemade rough puff pastry and fill with jam for an Apricot Danish. Delish!

650-700 grams apricot, quartered and de-stoned
1 green apple, quartered and de-seeded
30 grams lemon juice
450grams raw sugar
150grams water (1.5 MC's)

1. Add apple to TM bowl and chop 3secs/ speed 6. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
2. Add apricot, lemon juice and sugar to bowl. Cook 80mins/ 100C/ speed2 with MC on it's side (or the TM basket on the top).
3. Pour into sterilised jars. I find using my old baby bottle steriliser the easiest way to sterilise jars. If you don't have one of these lying around, sterilise the old fashioned way either boiling or putting them in the oven (Disclaimer: make sure you read up how to do this properly!)

Bon Appetit!

Makes about 2x 400ml jars

Tip: If you want a smooth jam, wait until it has cooled for about 15mins and then blend 1min/ speed9.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

{green papaya and crab salad with hermie}

This is a traditionally a vietnamese salad and is based on Luke Nguyen's salad that can be found here. It's so easy to make with the help of the Thermomix because you can put all the dressing ingredients in Hermie to cook and then get on with the task of julienning the green papaya (or mango) and removing the crab meat from the shells. Today, we're celebrating Valentine's day and this will be served as the entree for our dinner. Enjoy!

salad Ingredients:
5 perilla leaves
5 mint leaves
5 Vietnamese mint
5 Asian basil leaves
1 green papaya (paw paw), peeled and julienned
2 blue swimmer crabs, cooked and meat removed
1 long red chilli, stem removed
1 tablespoon fried red Asian shallots
1 tablespoon fried garlic chips
1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts (optional)

nouc mam cham dipping fish sauce:
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bird’s eye chilli, stem removed
60 grams fish sauce
60 grams rice vinegar
40 grams sugar
125 grams water
40 grams lime juice

1. Place perlilla, mints and basil leaves into TM bowl. Chop 3 secs/ speed5. Set aside for later. Rinse the bowl out for step 2 (no need to dry).
2. We now proceed to the dipping sauce. Place the garlic and chilli into TM bowl and chop 3 secs/ speed6. Set aside in a bowl that you will later use to mix the rest of the dressing in. Scrape down the sides.
3. Add the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and water to the bowl and cook 6mins/ 90C/ speed1
4. Meanwhile, julienne the papaya and place in bowl with the reserved herbs from step 1. 
5. Squeeze lime juice onto lid of TM bowl (so the pips don't fall in and mix 2secs/ speed 2.
6. Store in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
7. Slice red chilli and add this and crab to bowl with papaya and herbs.
8. When ready to serve, drizzle over sauce, mix and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit xx

Serves 2

Tips: If you julienne the papaya or mango before hand, you can keep them crisp by storing them in a bowl and covered with ice water.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

{review: "Charlotte Vanilla Chocolate" cake}

I wanted to make something a bit different for Chinese New Year and had a look through my recipe books. I found on my shelf the "I 'heart' Chocolate, I love Thermomix' cookbook. I bought this recipe book as I just love reading new ones and gaining ideas and inspiration but there was no special occasion yet to try and make a chocolate creation. I love baking and making desserts and the rest of my family had delegated such task to me for our annual feast.

So, I flicked through the book and shortlisted a number of recipes. These included: The Swiss Forest Gateau, The Origine and the Chocolate & Coffee Cake. In the end, the "Charlotte, Vanilla Chocolate Cake" won out as it didn't look too difficult, didn't look like it took too much time and didn't have coffee or liquor in it for the little ones. I would have been correct on all these assumptions if only I read the recipe not once, not twice but three times! So, below, I have compiled a bit of a tips and tricks guide for this particular recipe and if anyone feels inclined to make it, then hopefully it will help them too. Having said that, I always have fun baking and can usually save my creations to make something presentable. As you will see from the pictures, my version definitely does not look as elegant but still tasted yummy.

Firstly, when I initially read the recipe, I thought it would take about an hour to make and assemble. Maybe I was tired from doing a Thermomix Demo that day, but in reality it took 3 hours to make (including fixing my mistakes).

Secondly, reading through the ingredients list, it seems quite straight forward. However, it does state a total of 180grams of egg yolks for the Chocolate Sponge and Vanilla Mousse. Do you know how many eggs that requires? I did not and happened to have 13 eggs in my fridge. This was not quite enough. I would buy 2 dozen to make sure there are enough in case you have any mistakes. You will also have quite a lot of egg whites left over so either freeze them or offer to make 2 desserts for your function and make a pavlova too :-) Also, for the caster sugar, I would use the commercial pre-made caster sugar instead of milling raw sugar. I find that the commercial stuff is dryer and less granular especially when you're making something quite fiddly and delicate. GELATINE. What can I say? I used Gelatine leaves for this recipe and it is probably the first and last time I will ever use this ingredient. I'm used to using the powder form and forgot that there are different strengths to the leaves. In the recipe, it states 2.5 leaves. They forget to mention that it needs to be of the strongest strength (titanium)! I happened to use to complete opposite and already added it into the Mousse before realising. To fix, I had to dissolve 8 more sheets and then re-mix therefore converting the Mousse into a jelly. It still tasted good but did not have the correct fluffiness that a Mousse should have. Last tip for the ingredients would be the amount of cream to be whipped. Altogether, the recipe needs 750grams of whipping cream. When you go to the shops, it will all be in mL. I recommend buying 1kg of cream to make sure you have enough.

Thirdly, although the method is written for each component, I found 'intertwining' the methods a bit more efficient. For example, while the chocolate sponge is cooking (step 5), start on the Vanilla Mousse. When you have completed step 5 of the Mousse, go back to the Chocolate Sponge (step 6) and assemble in the ring or cake tin. Something to note for the Chocolate Sponge as well is the use of a 'large lined oven tray' in step 6 to bake to Sponge on. Nowhere can I find the dimensions of the oven tray. I basically used the largest one that could fit in my oven. This however, was not large enough to create the "4cm strip of cake to line the inside (sides)" in one strip. Instead, I had to cut an extra square so that my cake did not look as good. So that you do have one complete strip of cake, I've done the calculations and require a oven tray that is at least 63cm wide for a 20cm ring/cake tin. That's all well and good if you've got an oven to match (which I don't have). Because of this, my Chocolate Sponge also ended up a bit 'thick' and therefore not as dainty. However, it was easier to cut the pieces required and lift off the tray. Having said that, I ended up with a puzzle of sponge pieces for the bottom of the cake and a nice circle of sponge for the top. No one could notice but I knew it was there.

Lastly, other tips for assembling the cake. In step 3 of the Vanilla Mousse, you 'leave the custard to cool to body temperature'. I would recommend placing cling wrap on the top to stop a skin forming and actually placing it in the fridge while you progress with the rest of the recipe. In step 6 of the Vanilla Mousse, after adding the Mousse to the top of the assembled Chocolate Sponge sides and base, I would pop the tin into the fridge for a good 30minutes to start the Mousse setting. After it is a bit more solidified, I would then add the top Chocolate Sponge circle. I learnt the hard way and mine started sinking into the Mousse and my panic rose just that bit more... After completing step 2 in the Chocolate Mousse layer, I would put the Mousse into a piping bag and cool in the fridge while the cake is solidifying a bit more. After about 30 mins, I would then pipe the Chocolate Mousse over the top layer of the Chocolate Sponge. Any earlier and it feels too wobbly. Even better, leave the cake overnight in the fridge and pipe over in the morning. Finally, in the meantime, make some chocolate decorations to go on the top if you aren't sick of chocolate yet!

I hope these tips help you out to make this cake. Mine didn't look perfect however, it still tasted lovely. I've definitely learnt from my mistakes will read any future recipe from this cookbook 10 times! (maybe just 5 haha..)

Bon Appetit xx