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Tag: cooking

I Know What I Did This Christmas……

I got a lot of cooking done!!!

Actually, I got a lot more baking done than cooking. Unfortunately, my camera was misbehaving so I couldn’t record the instructional video I had intended this to be.  At the last minute, I found an old camera and got a few shots of my yule log.  So, to make my readers hungry and to get some of you in the kitchen, here’s my recipe for a Christmas log.  It’s essentially a swiss roll covered in frosting.  I chose to go a step further and make it look more authentic.

Ingredients

Chocolate log
300g self raising flour
400g sugar
50g cocoa powder (don’t be stingy: get the good stuff like cadbury’s)
10 eggs (separated)
1tsp almond essence

Filling
1/2 cup whipping cream
100g baking chocolate

Frosting
300g chocolate
1cup whipping cream
1/4 cup icing/confectioner’s sugar
Mint sprigs and cherry (optional)

Making the cake:

  1. Preheat your oven (I turn mine on to gas mark 5) and line your baking tray with wax paper.
  2. Start off by separating your egg whites from the yolks.  I put the yolks in the mixing bowl to go with my heavy duty  mixer and the whites in a glass bowl so I could whip them with my hand mixer.
  3. Add your sugar and almond essence to the eggs and mix them till the mixture gains a yellow frothy consistency.
  4. Add your flour and cocoa powder and mix.  You should have a nice rich chocolaty goop now.
  5. Beat your egg whites with the hand mixer until stiff peaks form (like you’re making a meringue) 
  6. Mix a bit of the egg whites into the cake mix then fold in the rest of the egg whites. (you want to conserve as much air as possible
  7. With your rubber spatula, spread the cake mix onto your paper-lined tray and pop it into the oven.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes (you’ll know it’s done when the cake is firm to the touch but feels spongy.  don’t burn it!!!)

Roll your cake tightly (with the parchment paper) I roll lenghtwise so I have a long log. After a few minutes, unroll the log and spread the filling. For the filling:

  1. In a double boiler, melt your chocolate.  let it cool a bit, then;
  2. In a bowl over ice water, whip the whipping cream till stiff peaks form.
  3. Mix a bit of the whip cream in with the chocolate (this way, you ensure the chocolate ends up at about the same temperature as the cream) pour the chocolate into the cream and fold.
  4. Spread the filling onto the inner layer of the unrolled cake.  make sure to avoid spreading it to the edges of the log. You do NOT want it spilling outside the cake.

Roll the log tightly, peeling off the wax paper as you go along.  Place the rolled log in a kitchen towel and tie off the ends to keep the shape (or do what I do and wrap it in aluminium foil and place it in the fridge to set).
When you’re ready to frost the cake, cut off about an inch off both ends of the log.  One of these can be used to make the large bump. Now cut 1/4 of the cake off (make sure to make a diagonal cut (you’ll thank me later).  This will be your branchy thingy.

Now for the frosting.

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and let it cool a bit.  You do not want to pour HOT chocolate into the cream.  That would make it curdle.
  2. Over a bowl of ice water, whip the cream till stiff peaks form.  Add the icing sugar and mix well.
  3. Mix a bit of the cream in with the cooling chocolate then fold the chocolate into the cream.  

Spread some frosting on the seam of the longer piece of log and place it on the cake board or plate. spread a bit of icing on the  diagonal cut on the smaller log and attach that to the main log. Spread the frosting in lengthwise strokes on the entire log. You can choose to glue one of the 1inch pieces you cut off earlier to the log. I thought I’d try not to waste cake and did that. the finished product will look like this.

 Yeah, I know it’s not pretty

Next, with your trusty fork of truth, lightly score along the cake. I thought this would make it look more woody and it did!  Remember you have to work fast as the frosting doesn’t appreciate heat.

It will now look like this.

I chose to place chocolate chips on the log to make small bumps.

When I think of a christmas log, I imagine snow for some reason.  So I dusted some icing sugar onto the log (this can be messy if you do not have a small sieve.  I need to buy one of those)

Next, place a few  sprigs of fresh mint (I used three as I had small ones) and place a cherry in the centre.

And Voila!  You have one very yummy Yule Log to amaze your family with.  It looks and tastes wonderful and much as I was reluctant to cut it, it looked even better as it was being hacked at. Remember to keep it refrigerated on account of the cream.  Oh and if you can avoid having a messy board like I have, you have my adoration.
Happy Holidays, Darlings.
~Daixy~

No one’s in the kitchen with Daixy…..

Caramel Custard

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • about 3/4 to 1 cup of granulated sugar (for melting to caramel)
  • 5 cups milk, scalded
  • 5 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional; I just love nutmeg with milk)

Preparation:

Melt 3/4 cup of sugar in a small heavy skillet, stirring constantly, until a caramel syrup forms. I like mine a little burnt so wait till it’s a dark caramel.  The next step is to pour the caramel immediately into a glass baking dish.  It’s important (for me) to be able to coat the entire underside of the dish.

Meanwhile, heat up your milk in a pan till it’s nearly come up to a boil (scalding).  Beat your eggs in a bowl and add the 1/4 cup of sugar.  Pour in a cup of the scalded milk and stir quickly (don’t quite beat it) together.  Pour in remaining milk and add vanilla and nutmeg( this tends to float up to the top so you can skip it) and mix properly.

Set the glass baking dish in a bigger pan. Pour the custard mix into the smaller baking dish and place in the oven at gas mark 5.  Once the custard is place safely in the oven (and you haven’t spilled any hopefully) pour hot water into the larger baking pan to a depth of one(1) inch. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. 

Let the custard cool then turn over into a serving dish.  Please remember to pick a wide based dish and remember to pick one that will leave enough room for the caramel sauce.


So, I’ve been getting back in the kitchen and redoing the basics.  Of late, I’ve been making things like chocolate cake with a coffee-cream filling and coated with a chocolate butter frosting. Methinks stuff like that is too complicated for the average diner and with so many flavours, it’s difficult to truly appreciate a dish. I think it’s time to go back to the clean and simple stuff.  This caramel custard for instance is a wonderful palate cleanser. I like to serve this after a spicy meal to get the heat out of my guests mouths (yes, I tend to like my food hot and spicy).  Anywho, from time to time, when I get the chance to enter the kitchen, I’ll present my successes and failures.  Maybe some seasoned vets will offer some advice 🙂

Oh and for those of you who don’t want to risk breaking the custard when you turn it over, you could use small cups or ramekins.  You could also, instead of baking in the oven,  pour the custard into a cake tin with a cover, seal it tight and place it in a pan of hot water on the stove.  Cover the outer pan and let it steam for about the same time.


~Daixy~ 


PS.  Yes, I know I do it a bit different from the norm.  But this works for me so far.