Monday, 28 March 2011

Day 1 of 5-day baking marathon!

Yours truly is turning into a baking machine!!!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Monmouth coffee @ Maltby Street

On the recommendation of D and D, I dragged JD out to Maltby Street to check out what is being dubbed as "the new Borough Market". After a bit of a tortuous trip out East (the tube only got us to Mansion House), we finally rocked with 1 more hour to go left of the market. The cluster of vendors was a lot smaller than I had imagined and they occupy space under the arches of a train line rather than actual stalls out in the open air. We missed out on the famed doughnuts being sold at St John Bakery but grabbed a quick coffee at Monmouth - a yummy creamy latte, was also digging the decor a lot :)  

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sunday lunch dessert

JD and I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon visiting our chums D and D (and new arrival H) catching up over a spot of lunch - our visit gave me an excuse to whip up something in the kitchen to bring along to the get together.......salt caramel tart.
There were only 4 of us but we managed to scoff half of it for dessert!! Nice to see it being well received :)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Dessert takeaway - Gails

I was in the mood for some midweek dessert so decided to pop into Gails to pick up some cake after work. Its a good job that the cakes taste pretty good as service in the shop was pretty atrocious. I must've been left standing for around 5 minutes whilst another customer was being served - that was fine, but to have to actively ask for help once that customer had been served when the assistant must have clearly seen me waiting by the cakes was a bit much. The icing on the cake came when I asked her what flavour the cheesecake was (the label said "cheesecake") and she said to me with a straight face......."cheese"? 

Despite all of this, I persevered and came away with a chocolate tart and a slice of "cheese" cheesecake. As I said, the cakes were nice but it might be a while before I return for repeat business.
 Packaging is nice :)

 Chocolate tart - well presented but the garnishes were not very appetising taste-wise

  A lesson in how to describe cheesecake, which do you prefer? - baked cheesecake with a hint of vanilla and topped with a white chocolate glaze or...... cheese?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Brownie experiment

A massive apology for not posting anything of late......for a while there, I had been whipping myself into a baking frenzy at the weekends but was stopped in my tracks this time last week when I managed to cut my finger by accident with a large serrated knife. I didn't hit bone but it was deep enough so getting through work was bad enough. Luckily, the cut looks to be sealing up now so I am on the mend and have no excuses!!

A few weeks ago, I started doing a bit of experimenting/tweeking recipes to create my perfect/ultimate brownie. Its not exactly groundbreaking stuff but am definitely venturing into new territory on a personal note as I have never been one to amend recipes - I have found so far though that its very rewarding when one hits on something that really pleases one's palate :)

I began with making a batch using Ma Chan's tried and trusted recipe (an amended version of recipe handout from a now defunct Emerald Isle supermarket!). The result was a little on the dry side for me (might have overcooked it a tad) and not enough depth of chocolate flavour.

The 2nd version was an attempt at Joanne Chang's recipe which caught my eye since it claimed it was the perfect balance of fudginess and cakiness. I have to confess that I am a   "cakey" brownie lover with just a hint of "fudginess". I was also intrigued at the idea of whisking eggs and sugar (as opposed to just mixing/folding) to give the brownie a lighter texture so decided I had to try it out. This recipe had the additional requirement of me buying a new pan since the recipe fits standard US pans :(
The result was not bad, the edges definitely had the cakey/fudgey balance but I think I may have undercooked it slightly as the rest if the tray were a bit too fudgey for my liking....depth of chocolate flavour was still lacking.....

My final recipe to try out was one found on Tamami's website for luxury brownies. I have been lucky to try out some of the goodies she sells at her stall in Broadway Market and was confident that these would not disappoint. Since I was low on nuts, my version would not count as "luxury" and I also decided to cut back on butter and sugar compared to the original recipe. Funnily enough, this recipe called for yet another method (boiling butter and sugar before adding to chocolate/eggs mixture) which I had never come across but worked just as well. This was the only recipe out of the 3 which called for cocoa powder in addition to chocolate which I think contributes to the presence of that elusive depth of chocolate flavour that I have been looking for. This brownie was definitely our (me and JD) favourite out of the 3 baked so thank you Tamami! :) 
Brownies galore!

Version 1: too "cakey"

Version 2: too "fudgey"

Version 3: just about right :)