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Monday
Aug262013

Perfect Pancakes with Bacon

Makes: approx. 20 pancakes

While pancakes with syrup are undeniably a supermom-with-kids breakfast cliche, they are also undeniably good, and in my book that alone argues forcefully for their inclusion here. They are anyway very easy to make, easier than thinner English pancakes or crepes, and it's not hard to get into the weekend habit of mixing them up. They're what I make for my children's breakfast at weekends. I make up half-quantities of the batter (or the full amount on Saturday, saving half of it in a clingfilm-covered jug for Sunday) and let them squeeze golden syrup, rather than the smokier maple, over them; we dispense with the bacon altogether.

Recipe posted by Nigella

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 heaped teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 pinch of salt

1 ¼ cups whole milk

2 large eggs

10 slices bacon (or approx. 100g / 4oz wafer-thin-cut pancetta)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil (for frying bacon)

butter (for frying pancakes)

 

Instructions

1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly while you get on with the rest of the batter and the bacon.

2. In a wide-necked jug, measure out the flour and add the baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.

3. In another jug, measure out the milk, beat in the eggs and then the slightly cooled butter, and pour this

jug of liquid ingredients into the jug of dry ingredients, whisking as you do so. Or just put everything in

the blender and blitz.

4. In a vegetable oil, fry the bacon (cut into half crosswise) or the pancetta strips until crisp, remove to

kitchen towels and cover with more kitchen towels (not because I'm fat phobic - as if! - but because this

will help them keep their requisite crispiness). Now, heat either a griddle or non-stick frying pan, smear

with a small bit of butter and then start frying. I just pour small amounts straight from the pan (but you

could use an American quarter-cup measure if you prefer) so that you have wiggly circumferenced discs

of about 4cm / 2 inches in diameter. When you see bubbles erupting on the surface, turn the pancakes

over and cook for a couple of minutes, if that, on the other side.

5. Or just use a blini pan (approx. 7cm / 3 inches) and turn when the bubbles break through to the

uncooked surface. There is a Russian saying to the effect that the first pancake is always botched, so be

prepared to sacrifice the initial offering to unceremonious stove-side gobbling.

6. Pile the pancakes onto plates wigwam with pieces of crispy bacon or pancetta and dribble or pour over,

depending on greed and capacity, that clear, brown, woodily fragrant syrup.

7. Makes about 15 pancakes if cooked in a blini pan; or if not, about 25 pancakes the size of jam jar lids.

Tuesday
Aug132013

Pomegranate/Strawberry Eton Mess

This recipe uses bottled fresh pomegranate juice to encourage the strawberries to ooze out their fragrant summery juices. If you're making this with out-of-season strawberries, then you stand a chance of using freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, in which case, sprinkle some seeds on top of this voluptuous mound of meringue and berryspiked cream.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons superfine sugar (or vanilla sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 small meringue cookies (from a packet)

More recipes for summer here

Thursday
Aug012013

Easy Maple Chicken and Ribs

Thursday
Jul252013

The Perfect Cake for Summer

This is a wonderful cake: amusing but no joke; the velvety sponge is dark, moist and gently fragranced. Go easy on the essence in the icing, though, or it will be just too Hawaiian Tropic.

Ingredients

for the cake

  • 8 oz canned pineapple in juice (approx. 4 rings)
  •  cup cream cheese
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 tablespoons superfine sugar
  •  cup soft light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ sticks butter
  •  cup unsweetened cocoa (sieved)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons malibu (or the juice from can)

for the icing

  • 2 large egg whites
  •  cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup golden syrup or corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut essence
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut (or shredded coconut)

Method

  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line two loosebottomed, 20cm / 8 inch sandwich tins.
  2. Process the drained pineapple (reserving the juice just in case) and cream cheese until smooth and amalgamated. Add all the other ingredients, and process again to make a smooth batter. Spoon the batter evenly into the two sandwich tins, and cook for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Once they're done, they should be beginning to come away at the edges of the tin and spring back when gently pressed. Let them sit for 5 minutes in their tins on a wire rack, and then turn them out to cool. They will look disappointingly flat, but don't panic in the slightest: they will redeem themselves once they are iced. Once they're cold, you can get on with the gleaming white coconut icing.
  4. Arrange a bowl that fits over a saucepan of barely simmering water to use as a double boiler, and put the whites, sugar, syrup, salt and cream of tartar into the bowl. Whisk with an electric whisk over the simmering saucepan until the icing goes thick, white and glossy and is stiff enough to form peaks. This will take about 5 or so minutes. I have never attempted this by hand, but obviously it would be possible with a balloon whisk, but it might also be agonising.
  5. Take the bowl off the saucepan away from the heat and whisk in the coconut essence.
  6. Sandwich the cakes with just over a third of the icing, and then ice the top and sides in a swirly, snowy fashion. Immediately throw over the desiccated coconut to coat the sides and top of the cake.
  7. I don't bother with the paper square, though you could: I just brush off any stray bits of desiccated coconut from the edges of the plate, or just leave them where they've fallen.
  8. This cake looks wonderful in its uncut fluffy bouffant whiteness, but I like it best once you've sliced in, so that the chocolate layers gleam out darkly, striped and edged in brilliant white.

NOTE: The icing can take up to 10 minutes of whisking to get right!

Recipe courtesy of Nigella "Feast"

Sunday
Jul212013

Crispy Baked Potatoes; Easy, Delicious

Baked potatoes are amazing. This variation has vertical slices made before baking, making the top cook to a crunchy, thick-cut potato chip consistency, with a creamy baked potato centre. It's the best of both worlds!
This fun trick can be done on almost any tuber. I used white and Russet potatoes, and a sweet potato.
Preheat oven to 425°F

Using a sharp kitchen knife, carefully start making a series of vertical cuts width-wise through the potato, making sure not to cut all the way through - cuts should only be 3/4 of the way through the potato. 
Place sliced potatoes on an baking sheet slices up, then drizzle top with oil, salt and pepper.

Bake for 50 minutes. Time may vary depending on size of potato and oven.

After my potatoes were done I decided to add some shredded cheese, green onion and sausage bits. These tasty tubers are good as a side to any meal, or just on their own for a gameday snack! 
Add your favourite toppings and consume!