Monday, 28 November 2011

Rice, turnip, cauliflower bake

Tonight's dinner.
Cup up 1 turnip in pieces. Use 4 leafs and flowers of cauliflower. Boil 420ml water and add beef stock to dissolve. Mix turnip, cauliflower and 1/3 beef stock into baking dish and out it in oven for 10 mins at around 170C. Add pudding rice into beef stock and wait 10 mins. Take out baking dish and add rest of beef stock and rice and stir so that rice is completely under the water. put 3 eggs on top with cheddar cheese. Bake in oven at 150C for 45-50 mins.

As well as making this, I made Average Betty's Stop Drop Dinner Rolls. I don't like Average Betty's videos because there's too much annoying extra bits unrelated to the recipe but this looked good.

As I was making this bread, I thought the best part of baking bread is when you punch out the gas that the yeast produces during resting time. It's like, "puff!" It's very comforting to touch the soft dough that doesn't stick to your hands. :) I love it. I wish I could be a baker or something.
I've been thinking that egg wash is a cool technique so I wanted to try for these rolls. But I'd used all the eggs for the bake above. So I experimented with fake butter, milk, and vegetable oil. None of them were a good idea. The butter was the worst. It made the dough to shrink. All the blowing up (!) was ruined and it shrunk right after I gently smeared butter. Milk had a similar effect as egg wash but making the surface shiny but this made the dough to shrink as well. Vegetable changed the texture of the surface but not much difference. Instead of adding meaningless calories, not putting anything on the surface kept the puffedupness and looks good. I'm trying to improve my "make food look good as well as taste good" skills so this experiment was a good try. I learn something every time I cook something. So fun! :)

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Kitchen situation

This morning, I went to check how the kitchen was messed up.

Practically as the cleaners left it.
Hobs clean.
Sink clean.
Dish rack tidy.
Table wiped. (I wiped after I did my bread knots.)

After (Today at 9:30am...Still the same state. As if anyone is going to clean that shit up):
Hob left TURNED ON at lowest heat. (Dangerous!!)
Chewing gum on window sill.
Greasy unwashed frying pan.
Unwashed pots left in sink.
Table with crumbs and grease.
pieces of bread on surfaces.
2 slices of bread on cupboard.

I am 99.999% sure that the guy isn't going to clean it up before Monday. And I'm equally sure no one (including myself) is going to do it either. If this state is left like this until Monday, the cleaners are going to give us another note.

I sent an email to the welfare officer as she told me to let her know if this situation continues. She'll probably send the guy a formal letter to get his act together. Wonder what will happen next...

Brussel sprout Soup

It doesn't look appetising but it does taste good. It went really well with yesterday's bread knots! :D
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 onion
2 green peppers (I regret adding this. It made the soup bitter.)
1 turnip
10~ brussel sprouts
5 olives (didn't really need it but I'm too excited with this stuff!!)
1 beef stock

Today, I did quite a lot of shopping. I went to the Real Food Store that I discovered through the university's Slow Food Society. I've never been to any of their socials, nor have I paid the society fee (5.00 pounds), but I just check what's going on through facebook. They are having a fish night on Thursday and I'm thinking of going.

The Real Food Store is a small shop that sells bread, veg, some meat and other products and there's a cafe on the first floor. This was the first time I went and I thought it was nice that customers were chatting with the shop assistants. One shop assistant even asked me if I was ok! I ended up buying cauliflower, green peppers, onions, potatoes and turnips. I thought of buying coconut milk because I watched how to make Thai green curry and they use a lot of coconut milk. But I decided to go to tesco and see their price. Another reason I didn't but it was because I didn't want to buy too much that I can't finish the veg off before it goes bad. Not that that has ever happened.

I was planning to put cauliflower in the soup but the brussel sprouts that I didn't eat for lunch ended up enough so I left it out. Oh maybe I could make Thai green curry with it!! I'll wait until Monday to see the price of coconut milk at RFS. Should have jotted that down.

Tomorrow, I'm going to make another chocolate cake with Nancy. I don't want to be misleading but I thought it might be nice if I spent time with her (I don't know if she still likes me though). Also, it will be a good opportunity to bake without getting fat because someone else will be eating most of the cake (that's the main reason lol).

Friday, 25 November 2011

Green Tea Cupcakes & Bread Knots!

So today is Friday... You know what that means... BAKING DAY!!!

I wasn't intending to make cupcakes until this afternoon. I just thought, "what would it taste like if I added green tea to cupcake batter?" So I made it right after I came back from class. (I had to go to Tesco to buy flour and other stuff which I'll write about later in this post.)

The hardest part of making these was when I ground the tea leaves. I have a green tea leaf mill and I didn't know how much I needed for this so I kept grinding until I thought was enough. It took about 5-10 mins just for grinding. I had to have several rests because my arms hurt. :P

Anyway, I added green tea to the flour/sugar/salt mixture until it looked light green, then added egg,milk and oil, put the batter into silicone cupcake cups (bought @ Poundland) (very nice products; you don't have to put oil or anything because it doesn't stick and you can use it over and over again.), put some toppings I thought might be good, (in the photo below from top right: sunflower seeds, not ground green tea, no topping, oats, drinking cocoa, pumpkin seeds) and baked them. All the toppings were delicious (yes I ate all of the ones with toppings.) But cocoa and oats and sesame seeds were especially good.
 Here is the same batter baked in honey jar. My Singaporean classmate asked me if I knew about "brandied cherry cupcakes" and I googled it later and found that it was cupcakes baked in jars. So I tried that with my honey jar. It turned out a bit messy because the batter touched the sides of the jar and it doesn't look as elegant as the one I googled but its a similar thing, I think. (It just dawned on me that the reason why I got the urge to make cupcakes was because my class mate asked about this.)

 Here are more of the same cupcakes. No topping.

 After the cupcakes, I began my bread baking, which I was initially intending to do. I've been watching video podcasts called Daily Bread by Harwood Podcast network and this one seemed easy and pretty so I decided to make this one today. This was the first time to actually KNEAD a bead with my hands. The last time, I just used my spoon. I liked the feel of kneading the bread because the dough was near body temperature (because yeast doesn't activate properly if you use cold water). It was sort of an intimate moment. And the dough turned out good, unlike last time when I had to keep adding flour because I didn't know how much 1 cup of flour was in grams.
The only thing that was a problem was that I don't have a big enough baking tray to put all 16 knots on. So I had to bake 8 at a time. It turned out fine in the end. I think I'll go to Poundland tomorrow to buy another baking tray. Then I can leave one in the kitchen so that others can use it when they use the oven. Right now, no one is clever enough to do so and the oven is dirty as hell.

I finished all my bread baking just in time for the group of Azerbaijanis (the ones who mess up the kitchen every week.) to come in. I reported them to the welfare officer on Monday and she said she'll tell the resident tutor to talk to him firmly (that will be the 3rd time) and if that doesn't work, I'll have to tell her again. Wonder how the kitchen will look like tomorrow morning.

I've been eating up most of the food on my section of the fridge this week. This is because I wanted to clean out my place. The fridge was starting to smell like public toilets. Only sauces and a bag of brussel sprouts were left today. I wiped out my part and put in the stuff I bought from tesco. I didn't buy any veg because I discovered there is a "real food shop" and I want to try the veg there. I'll go to that shop this weekend.
Stuff I bought from tesco were; milk, flour, low fat fake-butter (substitute for butter when baking/cooking) green olives (I want to bake Olive Bread sometime in the near future) and paprika.
For tonight's dinner, I had spaghetti. Just spaghetti, vegetable oil, cheddar cheese and 3 olives. This is because I didn't want to use my brussel sprouts (they are for my lunch tomorrow) and I wanted to try the olives.
Let me tell you, olives were invented by Gaga. (I'm not going to say god because I don't believe in that shit) They are absolutely delish! Even though I bought the cheapest tesco ones (79p), they taste real good. I remember not liking them when I was little but now that I'm appreciating many new foods, I think they are really nice. I even tried kimchi at my Korean friends' house last week and found it good.
I think I'm falling love with food. :) <3

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Failed/successful chocolate cake + first ever bread

 Above is a chocolate cake I made on Friday night and failed. The reason it failed was because it was supposed to be baked in two separate dishes and made into a layer but because I only have one cake dish, I put all the batter at once and so it was still not baked after the time on the recipe. So left it in the oven longer (about 50 mins in total) until the inside was completely cooked. This resulted in a really uneven texture and super hard outside AND dry on the inside. It was embarrassing because I was planning to take this to the international Night where we danced Soranbushi. This event was for charity at a church and the entry fee was 5.00 and there was no way I was going to pay 5 quid and I heard you don't have to pay if you bring in some food so I took the opportunity to have fun baking. The event ended up with the church people singing modern-pop sounding songs which included words such as "You" and "God" and "Your love is more than enough" and "You'll never ever leave me" and they encouraged us to stand up and dance, which most people did. I did stand up and clap at first but the songs became more and more Christian and it felt like a complete advertisement so I stopped clapping and sat down. I was like, "fuck that I'm not falling for that trap."
Anyway, another reason the cake was a fail was that because I'm a cheap ass and I bought single cream (20p cheaper than double cream), the cream didn't whip. I whipped and whipped for 10 minutes and it didn't change at all. So I just poured it over the top and it looked like a pile of cow shit topped with bird shit.
Today, my Korean friends were going to cook us Korean food so I decided to bake another chocolate cake. This time, learning from the previous one, I baked twice and used double cream. I took the two thin cakes to the Korean friends' house and put it together just before eating. Seeing the below photo on facebook, my mum thought I whipped the cream too much but it was OK. ...At least better than yesterday. But there's still room for improvement.
The chocolate leaves were a success. I picked leaves when I came back from class on Friday. Melted 100g of cooking chocolate from tesco together with "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Light" (cheap ass and low cal) poured the chocolate on the surface of the washed and dried leaves (should have been the back of the leaves) and put in freezer. The leaves come off easily when they are nicely cooled.
 As I still had a few hours before going to the Korean friends' house, I made a loaf of bread from scratch for the first time in my life. It came out good and it tastes nice but the texture is like unsweet cake. The reason for failure was probably because I didn't know how much 2.25 cups were and kept adding flour as i stirred in the bowl. I didn't knead it in the table because I don't trust the table to be clean although I wiped it before I started cooking. I also didn't use bread flour (used self raising flour) and baking soda (used baking powder). I also didn't use cornmeal because I didn't have it. I used flour instead but wasn't a good idea because it didn't spread, Should have just smeared butter (or rather, "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Light").
But being the first time to bake a bread, I think it's pretty good.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Soft Pretzels!!

Made on Thurday afternoon-night. Had to leave it to rise for 4 hours instead of 1 because i had class and it definitely would have been better if it was only 1 hour. but it turned out ok.
I made it using this recipe.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Rice and tomato etc bake

Looks the same as before but this time the ingredients are (from the bottom):
Vegetable oil
1 clove of sliced garlic
Pudding Rice (washed and drained)
milk until rice is covered
1/3 can of tomato evenly spread out
1 mushroom, sliced
1 green pepper
1 can of 4 sardines cut in half
salt again
Mild cheddar
dried parsley on top

In the oven at 190C for 45 mins.

It was ok but the rice was partially undercooked. Would have been better if I cooked it longer with a bit more salt and milk.

Monday, 14 November 2011

sort-of-but-not-really lasagna

Ingredients from the bottom:
1 sliced clove of garlic
veg oil

1 whole courgette cut into quarters
3/4 carrot

1/2 can of tomato
probably 40g of spaghetti broken in half
milk until spag is covered
1/2 can of tomato
1/2 can of garden peas

2 mushrooms cut in 1/8s
grated mild cheddar
dried basil on top

baked in oven at 190C for 45-mins
It's basically a bunch of veg and a bit of cheese on top. Super healthy.
I also tried to make ice cream last night but it turned out to be really icy. What it said in the cookbook was true - "making ice cream need trial and error."
drinking chocolate powder
super intense beating

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Just had a taste of this apple cake...

and it's perfect!! The sourness of the apple and the sweetness of the sponge is just amazing! This is my first time making it and I'm very satisfied with it. The sponge is not too dry, not too wet, just right. The only thing that would have made it better is I could have put butter on the cake tin so that it doesn't stick to it so much. Other than that, I'm proud of it!!!! :)
Side view

Baking Photos

I've been doing a lot of creative stuff...and I LOVE it. Can't believe I didn't help my mum so often at home. I'm looking forward to going home for Christmas and baking something at a clean kitchen. A dirty kitchen really puts me off.Also, as I bought oats for the flapjacks, I tried porridge for the first time. I liked it! My dad used to eat porridge for breakfast occasionally and mum didn't like it so I presumed that I don't like it either. But I do. The same thing with bananas. Mum doesn't like bananas so I thought I won't like them but I do. The power of a mother........
I'm planning to make a chocolate cake next week... Can't wait!!
Double layer cheese cake. Bottom layer:cream cheese, egg, sugar. Top layer: cream, yogurt, sugar. crust: digestive biscuits, butter) I put jam after I baked the bottom layer before pouring the top. This emphasised the double layerness.
This is what it looked like from above. I'm so artistic!!!
50 mini (yes they were very small) cupcakes that I took to the Halloween night out with the LGBTQ people. Not sure if they enjoyed it though. They were drinking beer.
Crapes (I ate it with blackberry jam that I used in the cheese cake an yogurt)

Raisin cookies. I love making cookies... but hate eating them because I eat too much!

Flapjacks that I made on Thursday night. I made them because the lunch break on Fridays are from 2pm and I get really hungry by then. I shared them with my classmates. One guy said, "whoever you marry is really lucky." I thought that was a great complement. :)
Apple cake I made this evening. It's still cooling on my bed. (I don't want to let it cool in the kitchen because you never know what goes on in there if I'm not around...)

Instant(ish) apple crumble that I made with the left over apple. I need to work on the crumble bit. it's not like the one my mum makes.)