Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Ensaimadas (Majorcan Buns)

Micky and I had these for breakfast when in Pollensa on our "Babymoon". A Majorcan favorite, ensaimadas are warm, yeast-based cakes fashioned into round, coiled shapes. Although delicious, these cakes are time-consuming to prepare, because the dough must be allowed to rise several times.

4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup milk, warmed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups plain flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
175g butter, softened
Sugar for dusting
Disolve the yeast in the warmed milk and set aside. Combine the sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Gradually add the flour and warm milk mixture. Blend thoroughly. Add the eggs and olive oil, mix well, and knead until soft and well-blended. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in volume.

Knead the dough again, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as possible over a floured surface. Brush the entire surface of the dough with softened butter. Start rolling the dough, bit by bit, from one side to the other (as if you were rolling up a poster). When the dough has been rolled up, allow it to rest for 1 hour.

After the dough has risen, coil it loosely, so that it resembles a snail shell. Transfer the coil to a greased baking sheet. Cover with an extremely large inverted bowl or bucket, large enough to ensure that the dough will not stick to the bowl's surface when it rises. Allow the dough to rise for several hours.

Preheat the oven to 190ÂșC. Bake the dough coil for around 45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown. Brush the surface with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sugar.
To serve, cut into slices.

Spicy Blueberry Morning


I remember having a lot of blueberry pancakes during my teenage years in California. The gals would meet up at IHOP on a Sunday mid-morning and order a bottomless pot of coffee, and huge stacks of these wonderful creations, toppled with blueberry compote and whipped cream!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup blueberries

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, beat together the remaining ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a few swift strokes, then fold in the blueberries. Heat the griddle with some oil or butter. Ladle the batter onto the griddle, and when bubbles form on the surface of the pancake, flip the pancake and cook until nicely browned on each side. Serve with whipped cream and blueberry compote or maple syrup. Yum!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

For the Love of Banana Bread

This is my adaptation of the Banana Bread recipe in Nigella Express. I make mine without rum, raisins or nuts and have added in some maple syrup to keep it super-moist, so it's more like a cake than bread.

175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp salt
125g butter, melted
150g white sugar
2 eggs
4 small, ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 170c. Put flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium sized bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon. In a large bowl, mix te melted butter and sugar and whisk until blended. Whisk in the eggs and the mashed bananas. Stir in the vanilla extract and the maple syrup. Add the flour mixture, while stirring. Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes. When it's done, a toothpick should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Or enjoy warm, right out the tin!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Cuban Black Bean Soup

150g/5oz chorizo cooking sausage
2 spring onions
½ tsp ground cumin
425g/15oz tin black beans, rinsed and drained
1 fresh tomato, roughly chopped
500ml/17fl oz chicken stock (from fresh or concentrate)
1 lime, juice only
2-4 tbsp chopped, fresh coriander

Slice the chorizo sausage into slices about the size of one-pound coins. Slice each of the chorizo discs in half. Place the chorizo pieces into a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook over a medium heat for five minutes, or until they start to become crisp. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Slice off the green parts of the spring onions and finely slice them. Set the green parts of the spring onions aside. Finely slice the white part of the spring onions and add the pieces to the frying pan the chorizo was cooked in. Add the ground cumin to the pan, and cook over a gentle heat for two minutes, stirring the mixture. Add the black beans, tomato and the chicken stock. Stir the mixture in the pan and simmer for ten minutes. To serve, ladle the soup into two clean bowls. Add the chorizo pieces and the finely chopped green spring onion to the bowls. Add some lime juice, to taste, to each bowl and sprinkle the chopped coriander on top.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Sweet Sticky Drumsticks (or ribs)

Here is one of Nigella's recipes. I couldn't get any ribs so I used chicken drumsticks instead.

125ml/4fl oz Chinese sweet chilli sauce
60ml/2fl oz cranberry sauce (from a jar)
60ml/2fl oz dark sweet soy sauce
1 clementine, juice and sliced rind
1 lime, juice and sliced rind
15-20 pork spare ribs or chicken drumsticks

1. Place all the ingredients into a large freezer bag and mix well. Seal the bag and place it on a dish so that it can lie flat. Transfer the bag to the fridge and leave overnight to marinate.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

3. Remove the ribs/drumsticks from the fridge and transfer them from the freezer bag to a roasting tin and cover loosely with aluminium foil.

4. Transfer the roasting tin to the oven. Cook the ribs/drumsticks in the oven for an hour, turning them over after half an hour.

5. Raise the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and remove the foil from the roasting tin. Cook for a further 15-30 minutes, or until they are sticky and cooked through.

6. To serve, place the ribs/drumsticks onto a large serving plate.