Sunday, 25 September 2011

zoesyumyums.com

I'm aware I haven't posted on here for quite a long time, but that's because I've made the switch to wordpress, which has also involved turning my blog into a proper website!

Very exciting!



It's still called zoesyumyums, it's just now it's own domain,

zoesyumyums.com



Please continue to follow me on my baking adventures, successes and occasional disasters!

Some of my more recent posts have included cannelés (you'll have to look at the new website if you're curious to find out what on earth they could be...), rose water sugar cookies, chocolate banana cake, and strawberry tart.



Love,
Zoe

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Shifting Over...

Hey there,

I've shifted the blog over to Wordpress, as there I could list it as my own site. You can now find me at zoesyumyums.com!! This is very exciting for me, and I hope you continue to follow and enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy extending my adventure into the blogging and baking world!

Take care,
Zoe

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Lemon and Raspberry Drizzle Cake, Ginger Monkey Style

So when I was working at the FANTASTIC Ginger Monkey (how I miss you!) I cooked dinner for the whole hostel one night. It was really good fun, and was followed by a substantial amount of drinking. Thank you to our lovely Canadian guest for teaching us such good games! Luckily our stomachs had been very well lined by some rather good and tender (if I may say so myself) lemony roast chicken, rice with onions, satuéed red peppers, cucumber and tomatoes. Unfortunately the rice wasn't seasoned or vegetabley enough to be as tasty as it probably could have been.

This is the group I was cooking for looking very happy about the prospect of food after a long and tiring game of ultimate friz.



I was terrified everyone was really disappointed by my cooking, not helped by the fact that everyone was unbelievably quiet during dinner, to the point of it being awkward. The whole time I was just thinking 'please don't let everyone hate this, please don't let everyone hate this, please don't...' So I was very pleased and relieved when the first to finish his meal sat back, patted his belly and simply said 'Ahhh satisfaction.' Turns out everyone was happy in the end. Job well done. 

Dessert on the other hand, was awesome all round.

This is how it started... 



Thank you, Jakey, my lovely sous-chef and long-time friend, for taking the place of the hostel's busted electric mixer when my biceps gave up on the job. And thank you also for the entertainment of dropping the remaining 8 eggs from a bag of 10 all over the floor. And then screaming at the broken egg yolk running under the oven 'WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO PROTEINY!?' or something to that effect...

You wouldn't think this would bode too well for dinner considering this was only part way into the first job dessert prep, but it turned out pretty darn well in the end. 

My lemon cake for dessert was awesome. It had a really good crumb, it was very zesty and slightly sticky from the drizzle, with the occasional burst of wild raspberry. Even better, these gems had been sourced locally by a couple of the guests on their rambles through the Tatras mountains.

And how beautiful is this presentation!? You'd never have thought the dudes who picked them would have presented it so delicately. What a treat. And since there were still a few of these floating around, I decided to chuck them into the cake batter at the last second so they wouldn't go to waste.

I just used the old-fashioned method of weighing out the eggs, then matching self-raising flour, sugar and butter measures to it. It just so happened that my 3 eggs weighed exactly 250g, which made my life very easy. Perfect! 

So, cream together the butter and sugar with the zest of 1 1/2 large lemons until it's light and fluffy. This was where Jake's significantly greater strength came in useful. Beat in your eggs one at a time, ensuring each is well incorporated before cracking in the next. Sieve and incorporate the flour with a 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp soda, in a few stages to avoid explosions. 

Then a dash of milk, a squeeze of lemon juice, stir in your juicy jewels of raspberries (sorry, I couldn't resist the Nigella-esque adjectives) and in it goes to a pre-greased and lined tin. The tin I had available was unfortunately a little too big, so with this you'll probably just have to go by eye. Before baking I also pressed some raspberries into the top of the batter. 




Bake at 180C/350F for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Just bear in mind the more eggs you've used, the longer it'll need to bake.

Leave it to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Pierce with a fork before drenching in a lemon glaze. Again I did this by eye. All you have to do is dissolve some sieved icing sugar in lemon juice, increasing the sugar content the thicker you want the glaze to be. Personally, I prefer it to be very fluid to ensure maximum absorption by the cake. Also, sieving it means you're less likely to end up with a horrible lumpy soup. 

This and some stracciatella ice cream made for a mighty fine dessert. Just look at this.

Quick and easy chocolate mousse, praline topping optional


This was a good 'un, if a little too sweet for me. This was another of the Cook n' with Class creations and was very quick and easy to make (rapide et legère, quick and light as our teachers their called it), perfect for a last minute dinner party, or an indulgent treat for one.

We sprinkled our individual servings with praline, which you can even turn into your very own Nutella. How awesome is that!

50g/2oz whipping cream
50g/2oz whole milk
1 yolk from a large egg
10g (1/3oz sugar)
150g/5oz good quality dark chocolate, 64% cocoa solids minimum
250g/1 cup cold whipping cream

Put a glass or metal bowl and a whisk in the freezer.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolk and sugar until it's light and foamy. You gotta do this by hand as machines don't really do the job too well, shouldn't tire you out too much though. Set this aside.
Grate or chop the chocolate into very small pieces, and put it in a heatproof bowl. Set this to one side too.
Bring the cream and milk alllllmost to a boil then slowly pour it over the egg and sugar froth, whisking all the time. Transfer it back to the pan and cook over a low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. The mixture should be at 86C/183F. If you don't have a candy thermometer, don't worry about this too much, just make sure it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. DO NOT boil the mixture  or you'll scramble the eggs. No one wants scrambled chocolate mousse. Blegh.
Strain the mixture over the chocolate, and whisk until it's smooth and shiny and luscious, just like the chocolate you see churning in those Lindt ads that just make you want to dive into the screen. Leave it to cool to room temp while you get on with whipping the cold cream to form soft peaks. Whisk 1/4 of the whipped cream until it's well incorporated, then gently fold in the rest.
If the chocolate is still too warm (i.e. warmer than your hands), refrigerate the whipped cream while you wait for it to cool, as painful as that is.

It's your choice how you serve it, as you can see from the picture above we piped ours into little ramekins with a generous sprinkling of praline. Recipe to follow!  And another tip, piping the mousse into small ramekins as opposed to spooning things keeps everything neat and tidy and (vaguely) professional looking. Perfect for a dinner party, or treating yourself. If you do pipe it, place the tip of the piping bag at the bottom of your serving vessel and pull upwards slowly as you squeeze the mixture out.

If you can resist, this can be refrigerated; if not, devour immediately.

Unfortunately the picture at the beginning is the only one I have of the mousse, so here it is again.