Sunday, July 20, 2014

Muffins - basic recipe

Easy (recipe), quick (method), yummy (result) and quite variable (recipe as well as result)- these are the first words that I thought of when I started thinking of how to describe this creation of mine. For avoidance of any doubts, please note that this is not mine recipe – it is a combination of probably three “basic” muffins recipes... and this seems to be my contribution to this pool of “basic” recipes :)

These muffins are soft and moist and they rise well (provided that you do not overmix as I did).

Swedish Summer Cake

Whipped cream, strawberries, light cake dough and smooth vanilla curd – can you imagine any better combo? The recipe is an adaptation of my favourite Nigella Lawson. And in fact, this is probably all that I might say about the following recipe.  Absolutely genial when it comes to its taste only the texture of the custard was a little bit off in my case .  I suspect it was caused by the fact I couldn’t get a 48% double cream for which the recipe calls. Also longer refrigerating might have improved the situation little bit. However, as already stated it was yummy!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Banana-Cherry Cheesecake

The UK/US version of cheesecake is another cake which is quite new to the Slovak cuisine and it is a new “cool” thing to do/bake. There are a lot of replacements and shorcuts being made (usually due to the difficulties getting the "right" ingredients) when baking this cake. However, I wanted to try a cheesecake without any such shortcuts and to get as close to the original as possible. So I read and read and read in order to get all tips and details how to make a decent cheesecake and this is what I made. I do not know how my cheesecake would be rated by a professional cheesecake baker but I freakin’ loved it found its taste rather pleasant and satisfactory. 

As I have been going through my banana obsession period, I have decided to choose the recipe with (surprisingly) banana in it. I have combined it with cherries which I personally picked from our cherry tree :) and I think it was a good cobination to try.

I just couldn't resist.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Chocolate Banana Muffins by Nigella Lawson

Muffins have been introduced to the Slovak baking only few years ago. For a long time, I was really against them. Because… well what's the point? It is just a cake batter baked in a special form, which makes them difficult to make as you have to waste your time on dividing the batter into several small holes instead of pouring all batter into one pan. In fact, I have to admit that (more or less) my opinion on muffins is still the same (I mean I still think that it would be easier to pour all batter into one baking pan). However, muffins have found their way into my heart :D And now, I have paper cups for muffins to last me for my whole life :) Further, and this is probably nothing new for the USA/UK readers (if any), the technique for making a muffin batter is slightly different from making a cake batter (as I will try to explain below).

Basically, all US and UK muffin recipes that I read state the same: we combine "wet" ingredients and in another bowl, we combine "dry" ingredients. THEN we combine wet and dry mixture. However, we mix it only until the dry ingredients are moistened. Thus, the final mixture will be and should be a little bit lumpy. If we over mix the dough, there will be a lot of gluten development which would lead to muffins being tough and they would also not risen as much. I think that the aforementioned information is not new to US and UK bakers. However, I have noticed that many Slovak non-professional (and sometimes even professional) bakers tend to write in their recipes "and now thoroughly mix all ingredients with a hand mixer until the mixture is smooth" - this is the point where I usually stop reading the respective recipe as it is evident that the baker is in dark when it comes to muffins :). Long story short, I wanted to write a little bit about technique for non-UK/US bakers.

The first muffins I have ever baked are adaptation of the Nigella Lawson's recipe which is written below.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cookies with Peanut Butter and Chickpeas

A peanut butter... my love... or at least one of my loves. I love it so freaking much that sometimes this song starts playing in my head when I think about it (I do not even particularly love it - I mean the song, not the butter). And thus, I put every seemingly decent recipe with the peanut butter in it into my "To Try" folder. As I also did with the following cookies which do contain another one of my favourite ingredients - chickpeas. I know, I know, it sounds weird putting chickpeas into cookies. What will be next? Beans in brownies? Seriously, the recipe is so easy that even if you have doubts about it, you will lose nothing by trying it (BUT you may be pleasantly surprised). The third and last ingredient is honey/agave/maple syrup. And that's it. Well, not entirely - I also have to say that these cookies are really tasty. UPDATE: Come on, how could I forget - chocolate!!! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SUPER Easy and Delicious Fruit Cake with Streusel

My dear non-Slovak friends, the following type of cake is very typical for Slovakia (or the Czech Republic). There are a LOT of recipes for this cake but I am going to share with you the ONE - the ONE, which I have been using for more than 15 years, the ONE which has never failed me, the ONE which is ridiculously easy and cheap... and the ONE, which has received numerous compliments. I am not kidding. For me, this is a holy grail type of recipe - the cake batter is slightly vanillish-sweet and , the fruits give it a kick, and the streussel - come on - who doesn't like streusel?