Dark chocolate biscotti

Nespresso cappuccino with dark chocolate biscotti © dan&tuesday

Nespresso cappuccino with dark chocolate biscotti © dan&tuesday

I have been wanting to do some baking but in the summer, I don’t really crave a lot of heavy cake-based kind of desserts. Eating fresh fruits beats any kind of fancy dessert in the summer. My favourite summer dessert is probably Eton Mess.

Still, I fancy getting the oven working to make me something lovely that does not need to be eaten in a couple of days. This biscotti should last a week if you store it well.

I have adapted this from the Hamlyn Cookery Book which is a fantastic book for beginning cooks (like myself).

You will need:

  • 150 g of dark chocolate, chopped (I only have chocolate chips in my cupboard so I used those)
  • 25 g of unsalted butter (Also run out so I used a slightly salted one)
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 50 g light muscovado sugar (Didn’t have any so I used light brown caster sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 g almond nuts, chopped or sliced (original recipe called for pecan nuts)
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Tools

  • baking sheet, greased or lined with baking paper
  • Pre-heated oven at 190˚C
  • mixing bowls

What to do

  1. Melt 200g of the chopped dark chocolate with the butter.

    melting chocolate © dan&tuesday

    melting chocolate © dan&tuesday

  2. Sift self-raising flour to a mixing bowl and then add eggs, sugar, nuts, vanilla extract, and the melted chocolate and butter mixture.

    mix everything © dan & tuesday

    mix everything © dan & tuesday

  3. Add the rest of the chopped chocolate until you have a dough.

    make it into a dough © dan & tuesday

    make it into a dough © dan & tuesday

  4. Dust the work surface with flour, transfer the dough, and cut it in half.
  5. Form two logs of about 10 inches long (really depends on how big the baking sheet is!), flatten to about 2 cm thick (a little less than an inch). Transfer to the baking tray and then bake for 18-20 mins.

    cut into two logs © dan & tuesday

    cut into two logs © dan & tuesday

  6. Remove from the oven and then reduce the heat of the oven to 160˚C.
  7. Leave the biscotti to cool for 20 mins before cutting it with a bread knife (serrated) into 2 cm thick slices. In my first try, it keeps crumbling so I lost a few biscotti 😦 So I started cutting them a bit thicker.

    Leave to cool © dan & tuesday

    Leave to cool © dan & tuesday

  8. Place the cut biscotti back into the baking tray with a little space in between them and then cook for another 15 mins.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack and then dust with icing sugar.

    Dust with icing powder © dan & tuesday

    Dust with icing powder © dan & tuesday

  10. Best served with coffee.

PS. I still love my Nespresso machine. It’s one of the best things I bought for our kitchen.

PPS. I am really liking the new flickr look, I find that inserting images is easier and does not involve going back and forth pages for me.

PPPS. I re-discovered smitten kitchen and Deb shares a chocolate hazelnut biscotti which I’ll try next time.

Strawberries

Fresh strawberries in June

Fresh strawberries in June

Strawberries, from now on, will always remind me of British summers. But you know they also have always ALWAYS evoke memories of family trips to Baguio City. For my brothers and me, Baguio is like another country. It’s a city in the mountain AND it’s cold(-er than the rest of the Philippines) AND pine trees grow!

We never go home from Baguio without at least a punnet of fresh strawberrries, and several jars of strawberry jam from Good Shepherd. Strawberry jam on hot pan de sal is absolutely divine.

The Baguio of today is no longer the same as the one I remember as a child. I visited more than 5 years ago. It is so much busier and the air no longer smells of pine trees. But the strawberries! Oh, they are still there. As sweet as I remember them 🙂

Chopped strawberries

Chopped strawberries

This evening I made Eton Mess for a dear colleague who is leaving for Switzerland. I thought it is a fitting dessert to remind her of the UK. Plus it is the easiest dessert to put together, unless you want to make your own meringue.

More chopped strawberries

More chopped strawberries

I didn’t and instead bought meringue nests from M&S. Listen, even Delia cheats! Strawberries are in season so best to choose home-grown strawberries.

Chop the strawberries – it doesn’t have to be evenly chopped. In fact, I learned a new word today: macerate. Yes, macerate your strawberries. Put them in a bowl or any container and sprinkle a little sugar, then put them away.

You also need some whipping cream. Sandy suggested mixing the cream with yoghurt – an idea I loved because I can never find enough excuse to use Greek yoghurt.

To assemble: break the meringue into a bowl, add the cream and then strawberries. That’s it!

For a little jazzy (and probably a proper one), you can make a strawberry purée to drizzle on your Eton Mess. Or spice it up with some sherry.

Dan and I only had a little bowl each

Dan and I only had a little bowl each

Rhubarb crumble

Making rhubarb crumble © dan&tuesday

Making rhubarb crumble © dan&tuesday

Last Friday, Gill from work brought about 2 k of rhubarb! I took half not really knowing what to do with them. I’ve never seen them in the Philippines and I’ve only tried them since living in in the UK. Still, I’ve always wanted to try making my own crumble and getting a bunch of rhubarb from Gill is my perfect excuse.

Next step is trawling my cookbooks for the easiest rhubarb recipe. Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess suggests a few things you can do with your rhubarb:

  • make a brown sauce (!!)
  • rhubarb cornmeal cake
  • rhubarb grunt
  • rhubarb schnapps (!)
  • rhubarb tart
  • variation of Victoria sponge
  • rhubarb-crumble kuchen

She did say you can’t have too many rhubarb recipes in a cookbook.

NL’s rhubarb crumble looks more complicated so I decided to go for the ever reliable Delia. This recipe from her book Delia’s Vegetarian Collection calls for ginger to be mixed with the rhubarb and almonds on your crumble. It’s is gorgeous!

Making the crumble © dan&tuesday

Making the crumble © dan&tuesday

You need:

  • about 900g of rhubarb, wash then trim the ends and cut in 1inch sections
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 110g golden caster sugar (get fairtrade if you can)
  • 110g raw whole almonds (with skin)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 100g cold butter, cut in small cubes
  • 175 g sifted self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 110g demerra sugar
  • something to serve it with: I prefer vanilla ice-cream. I’m not a big fan of custard or cream

Tools

  • food processor
  • pre-heated oven at 200˚C
  • mixing bowl
  • baking dish about 9in wide, 2in deep

What to do:

  1. Mix the rhubarb with sugar and ginger and put it on the baking dish. Make sure the rhubard is well-covered with sugar. Set it aside and work on the crumble.
  2. Put the butter, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, flour, and sugar in the food processor. Blast it until it looks like a crumble. Add the almonds and do a quick pulse so that the almond is broken down into small chunks. And it’s done!
  3. Before putting the crumble on top of the sugared rhubarb. make sure that there are no big gaps in the baking dish. Just spread the crumble and over the rhubarb. Press it down and then run a fork lightly on the surface.

    Rhubarb crumble © dan&tuesday

    Rhubarb crumble © dan&tuesday

  4. Cook for 35-40 mins (40 mins on my oven!) and then leave it to stand for about 15 mins before serving.
  5. Best served warm with vanilla ice-cream. Or if you are not me, maybe you would like custard or pouring cream.

Salmon en croûte

Salmon en croûte

Salmon en croûte © dan & tuesy

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe from the BBC GoodFood magazine (December 2009). Elisabeth at work loaned me the magazine and it is filled with wonderful recipes including the florentines I made yesterday.

But I won’t talk about the florentines just yet. Maybe next post. So about the salmon en croûte, you’ll need big piece of salmon fillet. I am lucky that I live just a couple of minutes walk to the central market in Cardiff which has a fishmonger. I asked for a piece of fresh salmon fillet and they cut me a lovely piece.

Black olive tapenade on salmon fillet © dan&tuesy

Black olive tapenade on salmon fillet © dan & tuesy

You need:

  • 500g all-butter puff pastry
  • about 800g salmon fillet
  • black olive tapenade paste
  • bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 150g mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Tools:

  • rolling pin
  • 2 large baking tray
  • baking sheet
  • pre-heated oven at 200˚C
Salmon en croûte © dan & tuesy

Salmon en croûte © dan & tuesy

What to do:

  1. Drizzle olive oil on the salmon fillet and sprinkle some freshly ground pepper and salt.
  2. Flour a work surface and then roll out the puff pastry about the size of the large baking tray. Dust the large baking tray with flour then place the puff pastry on the baking tray.
  3. Put the seasoned salmon fillet on top of the pastry, skin-side down.

    Working the pastry © dan & tuesy

  4. Spread black olive tapenade on top of the salmon then the basil and tomatoes. Tear the mozarella into pieces and put it on top, too! Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Gather the sides of the pastry. Beat an egg and brush the pastry with egg.
  6. Put the baking tray at the bottom of the preheated oven. Put a baking tray on the shelf above so that the pastry is not getting too much heat.
  7. Cook for about 35-40 minutes and then serve with vegetables. We like roasted baby potatoes, steamed brocolli, and peas.

More photos here.

Salmon en croûte © dan & tuesy

Dark chocolate peanut butter cookies

Dark chocolate peanut butter cookies © dan&tuesday

Dark chocolate peanut butter cookies © dan & tuesday

So far I’ve done 3 recipes from the hummingbird bakery cookbook. The Pecan pie, that was first, and then this wonderful peanut butter cookies, second. The third one was the lemon loaf but that will be another post.

If, like me, you enjoy a super chunky peanut butter and dark chocolate, then this is a little piece of heaven on earth! It was even more delish after a day or two as the cookies become a bit chewy.

You need:

  • 225g unsalted butter at room temp
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 240g chunky peanut butter
  • 340g plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75g chopped dark chocolate
Cookie dough © dan & tuesday

Cookie dough © dan & tuesday

Tools:

  • baking trays x 4 lined with greaseproof paper
  • freestanding or handheld mixer
  • mixing bowls
  • rubber spatula
  • Pre-heated oven at 170˚C

What to do:

  1. Dan tries to help © dan & tuesday

    Dan tries to help © dan & tuesday

    Use the mixer to cream butter, caster sugar and light brown sugar until it’s light and fluffy.

  2. Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure that the ingredients are mixed well by scraping the side of the bowl using the rubber spatula.
  3. In low speed, beat in the vanilla extract and peanut butter.
  4. Add the flour, bicarbonate soda, and salt. Mix until you have a smooth dough. Then add the dark chocolate and mix well. Taking a break from writing his awesome blog, Dan wants to help!
  5. Put about 6 cookie dough on each baking tray. Space them apart as they will spread when they are baking.
  6. Bake until the cookies are golden brown which is about 10 mins.
  7. Cool the cookies onto a cooling wire rack.
Cooling the peanut butter cookies © dan & tuesday

Cooling the peanut butter cookies © dan & tuesday

Basic pasta dough recipe

The basic pasta dough recipe is really simple but making pasta takes time and best done with company. The more people, the better! Let everyone take turns using the pasta machine. Another way of putting it:  let your friends work for their meal!

The recipe below is good enough for a serving for 4 people. Someone (ie Dan) attempted a double recipe and, consequently, messed up my kitchen. Nice one, Dan.

You don’t have a pasta machine? Personally, I would not make my own pasta without a machine as I will have to roll out the dough using a rolling pin for ages! But if you have the energy or enough pent up frustration, go for it!

You need:

  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 200 g pasta or ’00’ grade flour (if you can’t find this, use strong white bread flour)

Tools:

  • pasta machine
  • baking sheets or trays lined with tea towel or kitchen towel, dusted lightly with flour
  • rolling pin (optional)

What to do:

  1. Put the flour on a clean work space. Create a little well in the centre.

    creating a well for pasta recipe © danandtuesday

    creating a well for pasta recipe © danandtuesday

  2. Beat the eggs lightly using a fork then gradually start to blend the flour to the eggs. Do this until you have a a crumbly mixture. Ditch the fork and start using your hands.

    blending pasta © danandtuesday

    blending pasta © danandtuesday

  3. Work the mixture by kneading the dough. If it starts to stick to the work surface, just sprinkle more flour in. Knead until it feels smooth and elastic.The dough should feel firm. It should be slightly firmer than a bread dough.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and then leave it to stand at room temperature for 20mins. If you don’t want to use all your dough, you can freeze it.
  5. Before using the pasta machine, divide the dough into about 6 parts.

    rolling the dough © danandtuesday

    rolling the dough © danandtuesday

  6. Set the pasta machine setting to its widest setting and then begin rolling out the dough. Change setting to a narrower one and roll the dough again. Do this until you have reached the right thickness for your pasta. the thickness really depends on how what you want to do with your pasta. If the pasta becomes too long, just cut it in half.

    Monette helping to make pasta © danandtuesday

    Monette helping to make pasta © danandtuesday

  7. Put the rolled out pasta on top of the lined trays while rolling out the rest.
  8. Once the pasta is rolled, you can do many things with them such as make flavoured pasta or ravioli. The pasta we made here was used to make a “silhouette” pasta (recipe soon!) which has different herbs between thin sheets of pasta. I used a clothes drying rack for drying my pasta before cooking them. You can leave them for 5 – 10 mins, if you have the time. Or you can cook them straight away in boiling water for about 3 mins.
  1. drying silhouette pasta © danandtuesday

    drying silhouette pasta © danandtuesday

Pecan pie

I met Monette when we were in first grade (age 7) in school. Then we became neighbours in 1985. She recently moved to London to study and work, and after 8 months, she found her way on a megabus to visit me in Cardiff. Yay!

So, a special treat was in store for this wonderful visit. Drinks on Friday night with friends from work, Saturday brunch on my balcony and home-made dinner, and Sunday kedgeree brunch (from previous post) and trip to the beach.

I wanted to try a new dessert from one of the cookbooks I got for my birthday– I got 2 cookbooks from Dan and 2 from my brother and his wife. More on the other cookbooks in the next posts. For this pecan pie, I used a recipe from the hummingbird bakery cookbook.

It was a decision between pecan or key lime pie. Pecan won.

basic pie dough on tuesys hand © dan and tuesy

basic pie dough on tuesy's hand © dan and tuesy

You need:

  • Basic pie crust dough – the recipe I used will be for another post, here are some recipes
  • 100g chopped pecan nuts, leave some whole ones to put on top
  • 3 eggs
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250ml golden syrup – if you can find dark corn syrup, use that instead
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Tools

  • 23-cm pie dish
  • rolling pin
  • preheated oven at 170˚C

What to do:

  1. Dust a clean work surface in your kitchen with flour. Roll out the dough using the rolling pin. Line the pie dish with the dough and then trim the edges.
  2. In a large saucepan, put the sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to boil on medium heat then remove from the heat. Allow it to cool a little but don’t let it cool down completely or it will be very thick!
  3. In a bowl, whisk eggs until they are mixed. Pour the warm syrup into the eggs and stir quickly.
  4. Add butter and vanilla extract to the mixture until the butter has melted and evenly distributed.
  5. Put the chopped pecan nuts into the crust then pour the mixture on top of it. Put the remaining pecan nuts on top of the mixture, close to the edge.
  6. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until it is a caramel colour.
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream!

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Smoked fish kedgeree

smoked fish kedgeree © dan and tuesday

smoked fish kedgeree © dan and tuesday

Kedgeree is the best thing for breakfast or brunch on a lazy weekend. It doesn’t take long to make and the mixed flavours of the smoked fish and spices are absolutely divine. Dan used kipper when he made it for Chris and Lilly. I used smoked mackerel when Monette was visiting last weekend.

Rica asked me on facebook what kedgeree was. Clinton replied that it is “tinapa wth cream mixed with lugaw =)” Tinapa is a smoked milkfish or bangus; lugaw is a type of congee. Since I don’t put cream on my kedgeree and it doesn’t look like lugaw to me, I looked it up and found out that this is a variety of kedgeree. I also read that kedgeree is a popular breakfast dish during the Victorian time. More on kedgeree here.

This recipe serves 4.

You need

  • 4 boiled free-range eggs, quartered lengthwise
  • cooked boiled rice* (2 cups uncooked)
  • 500g smoked fish (mackerel, kipper, haddock, tinapa), flaked
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • lemon or lime wedges (we prefer lime)

Tools

  • mortar and pestle
  • frying pan

What to do:

  1. Crush fennel seed and cardamom pods using mortar and pestle. Remove the cardamom husks, leaving the seeds.
  2. Melt butter in frying pan then fry onion and all the spices in medium heat for about 5 mins.
  3. Stir the fish and rice. Make sure that the rice is covered in turmeric so it will have a yellowish colour.
  4. Add the eggs and parsley, stirring gently so as not to destroy the eggs.
  5. Serve with lime or lemon wedge.

* I cheated here as we used a rice cooker. I got my rice cooker on my birthday from a group of Pinoys living in the UK who probably cannot believe that I do not own one. I used 2 cups of rice for this recipe, about 250g. More picture of making the kedgeree from the slideshow below or from my flickr account here.

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Moroccan fish tagine

Moroccan fish tagine © dan & tuesday

Moroccan fish tagine © dan & tuesday

This is another recipe from our favourite recipe book, Hamlyn Cookery School. If you want easy to follow recipes, get yourself a copy here.

We used monkfish for this dish but you can also use seabass or cod or any other firm fish. Serve your tagine with couscous and a slice of lemon.

You need:

  • 750g skinned, firm white fish (try seabass, cod, or monkfish) – cut into large chunks, about 2 inches (5 cm) square, then season
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 pcs of cardamom pods
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, slice thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 40g sultanas
  • 25g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 150 ml fish stock
  • finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp juice
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley

Cooking tools:

  • mortar and pestle
  • Dutch oven or ovenproof casserole dish
  • Preheated oven at 160˚C
mixing spices © dan and tuesy

mixing spices © dan & tuesday

What to do:

  1. Using a pestle and mortar to crush the cardamom pods and cumin and coriander seeds. Take out the cardamom husks, leaving the seeds.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a shallow frying pan and gently fry the onions until golden. Then add the garlic and spices and cook for another 2 mins.
  3. Add fish to the pan. Turn gently, making sure that they are coated with oil.
  4. Transfer the fish and onions to an ovenproof casserole dish. Scatter the sultanas and pine nuts.

    tagine on Dutch oven © dan and tuesday

    tagine on Dutch oven © dan & tuesday

  5. Add the stock, lemon rind, lemon juice to the frying pan and bring to the boil. Then pour the mixture around the fish, cover with a lid, and bake in the oven for 40 mins.

Dan ~ Best thing about this recipe, aside from the undeniable awesomeness of its flavour, is the way it looks. You’re really just throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot, but it looks like “proper” food without too much effort on the presentation front. There’s quite a bit of preparation (or maybe I’m just slow at crushing spices and things like that), but it’s well worth it, and very impressive for your guests…

tagine on couscous © dan & tuesday

tagine on couscous © dan & tuesday

Sausage Hash Browns

dsc04921

350g medium-sized potatoes

Pork sausages (as many as you like, I’m going to have three)

A large knob of butter

1 small onion

2 small red onions or one big one

200g small vine-ripened tomatoes

Since Tuesy is away on a series of globetrotting work trips (follow her progress in the Flickr photos you’ll find in the right-hand column on the main page of this blog), I have to do all the cooking for myself. And with nobody to cook for and impress, I might just slack off and eat a lot of processed food. But I’ll try to keep up with the home cuisine and learn a few new things, sometimes involving meat, which I don’t cook for Tuesy. I’m starting with something easy – hash browns with sausage. Seems simple, but in my recipe book, there are no pictures, so I’m not sure exactly what it’s supposed to look like. It won’t look like the delicious monolith-shaped frozen potato cakes that normally get sold as “hash browns”, unfortunately. So, let’s get started. I’ll write as I go. I’ve begun by putting about 700g of medium-sized potatoes into a pan of cold salted water and started them heating up. I’ll parboil them for about 10 mins, then drain them and chop them into 2cm cubes. I’m using King Edwards. There’s no need to peel them.

dsc04917

Melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan, and add the onion, chopped into little bits. Fry for a couple of minutes, then add the potatoes and fry it all up together for about 25 minutes, or until it’s nicely browned. Meanwhile, start grilling the sausages until they’re cooked all the way through.

Chop the red onions into rings, brush them with sunflower oil and add them to the grill pan with the sausages. You can also halve the tomatoes and throw them in, too. One that’s all cooked You can serve the contents of the grill pan on top of the has brown potatoes. Very easy, and a reminder that the best kind of junk food is the stuff you make yourself.