Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Kitchenboy Cookalong Club: May 2011 Challenge

First of all, a BIG word of thanks to all of you on Kitchenboy's Facebook page that have joined us in making the Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake.  I'm sure that you'll all agree that it was a huge success (and a very delicious cake, although unusual).  What makes me even happier are all those photos that I have received of your cakes and all the wonderful comments.  It really makes me feel that we have a nice little "cookalong club" going here.






For the Cookalong Challenge this month, I have decided to post the challenge on the blog too.  The more the merrier I think!  I have also challenged three "celebrity friends" to take part: Marion Erskine (the first male author of chic lit in Afrikaans), Francoise Steynberg, (Senior Reporter for Republikein in Namibia and correspondent for Buite Burger in South Africa) and Anton J. Jansen (A composer, writer and well known blogger at Die Burger.)  I am happy to report that so far Marion has accepted the challenge and he posted this on his Facebook page:




I have received many messages and emails asking about the challenge for May.  I've put a few ideas forward, you voted for your favourites on Facebook and so our challenge for May 2011 is.......*drum roll please*.......


Photo from here


Yes, we are making Butter Chicken!  I have posted a recipe here for those of you looking for a nice and easy one (or just use your own!)  My friend, Ishay Govender says about butter chicken, "@Kitchen_boy the essentials are the chilli/masala, tomato, cream or yoghurt, ginger and garlic and cardamom", so feel to alter it to taste and make substitutions, where needed.


The deadline for all our non-blogging Facebook friends to submit their photos will be on Sunday, 29 May 2011.  If any fellow food bloggers want to take part and blog about it, it would be super if you could link back to this post!


Have fun!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Yellow Bell Pepper Bruschetta


This eye-catching cold starter is so easy and quick to make but packs a punch when it comes to flavour.  Your first crunchy bite will pop with the sunny sweetness of the yellow bell pepper and then all the other flavours will follow in layers.  One after the other, you will taste the freshness of the onions, the slightly salty bitterness of the olives, the saltiness of the capers and lastly you'll taste the meatiness of the tuna.  All of these flavours are so well balanced with each other that  you might not even spot the pungent boldness of the basil!


Don't be put off by what may seem like a lot of olive oil.  The oil is an excellent carrier of flavour and it helps to bring all the flavours together in this dish.  You can adjust it if you like, but if you use too little, the tuna may come out a little dry.


Yellow Bell Pepper Bruschetta
6 Servings


Ingredients:

  • large yellow pepper, halved from top to bottom
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • ¼ large onion, finely chopped (the finer you chop it, the sweeter the taste will be)
  • 10 black olives, pitted
  • 2 tsp capers, drained
  • ½ cup good olive oil (Add a glug at a time, until the tuna is no longer dry.)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh basil


Method:
  1. Halve the yellow pepper from top to bottom and take out the stem, seeds and any white bits.  Rinse inside and out under cold running water.  Set aside.
  2. Squash the olives with the flat side of your knife on a cutting board.  Place in a mixing bowl with the tuna, chopped onion, capers and olive oil.
  3. Using a fork, mix all the ingredients together vigorously until the oil starts to turn almost milky and the tuna is well broken up.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with some freshly ground black pepper and salt (if needed).
  5. Scoop the filling into the prepared halves of the yellow pepper.  Cut each half into thirds lengthwise and garnish with some fresh basil.
  6. Serve cold.

Christelle's Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Ganache




The idea started when one of my foodie friends on Twitter @HomeMadeHeaven rediscovered a recipe she "lost" years ago.  It was the one for the Easy, no-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter & Oats Cookieson my blog.  It made me think of a song about a cake that was left out in the rain (McArthur Park, by Richard Harris) and him singing, "I don't think that I can take it, 'cause it took so long to bake it, and I'll never find that recipe again!"


It made me think of a cake that my mom used to bake, that I really used to like...and the recipe of which she seems to have lost.  It was for a Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake!  Yes, I know...the mere thought of mayonnaise in a chocolate cake is enough to send most people running for the hills.  But trust me when I say, these cakes are rich, decadent and beautifully moist!  So, on my Facebook Page I asked if anyone had a recipe and Christelle Pretorius Botha came to the rescue with a luscious looking recipe!



This cake is really easy to bake.  You don't even need an electric mixer!  Do give it a try.  It has caused lots of excitement on Facebook.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Ganache Topping


Ingredients:

  • 335 g (630 ml) cake flour
  • 40 g (110 ml) cocoa powder
  • 320 g (380 ml) castor sugar
  • 5 ml salt
  • 8 ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 300 ml mayonnaise
  • 400 ml water
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
For ganache topping
  • 250 ml cream
  • 400 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • chocolate shavings for garnish, or whatever else makes you happy such as mini Easter Eggs, chocolate covered coffee beans, etc.
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC and line a 23 cm round baking tin with wax paper. (I didn't line my tin!  Honestly, life's too short.  Just give it a good spray with some non-stick spray such as Spray 'n Cook.)
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, castor sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda.  Give it a good mix to combine.
  3. In a seperate bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, water and vanilla essence.  Add the liquid to the sifted ingredients and stir to combine.  Pour into the prepared baking tin.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin (overnight is best).
  5. To prepare the ganache, bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chopped chocolate - away from the stove.  Stir untill smooth and leave to cool.  Pour over the cake.  It's best to do this by putting it on a wire rack so that the exess can drip off.  Sprinkle over the chocolate shavings and enjoy!  I found that the cake tasted even better the second day.
Quite a few people asked for the recipe, so I thought, why don't we have a bit of fun?  I posted the recipe on my Facebook Page and wrote,  "We all bake this cake at home (put your own twist on it if you want to).  Remember to take photos of your cake and e-mail them to me.  Then I'll do a blog entry with all of your photos and tweaks, as well as mine and the recipe.  Sounds like something you'd like to do?  Get to it then!"  Below are some of the photos I have received in my inbox so far.  If you didn't send me your photo yet, don't despair!  As soon as you send it to me (via e-mail or Facebook) I will update this post with your photos.

Gerlene Kennedy's beautiful cake with mini Easter Eggs!

Christelle Botha's chocolate cake: rich and moist!
Chantelle Beyers' s cake with a chocolate mousse topping and choco Easter egg nests!
  It was really a whole lot of fun to do this recipe with people from as far as Ireland, Canada and South Africa.  Any ideas for our next Cyber Cooking Club event?  Please leave your ideas in the comments below (I just LOVE getting those!) or on my Facebook wall! 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Baked Cheese Cake, Taiwan Style



The first time my mother came to visit me in Taiwan was during my second year on the island.  It is always great to see my parents, but that visit really meant a lot to me because I was seriously homesick and also because it was great to show my mom that I could make it on my own in a very foreign country.


I remember the first time I took her grocery shopping at Tesco (now Carrefour) in Zhongli.  We spent almost 2 hours just walking up and down the aisles, my mom picking up almost every can and packet and wondering what on Earth it could contain.  You see, to a South African, used to shopping at Pick 'n Pay in South Africa, being in a supermarket where they have a whole aisle just for instant noodles, a whole aisle just for different kinds of soy sauce and a fresh produce section that included live frogs, this was kind of special.  I know what you're thinking - how do you keep live frogs in an open container, without them jumping around all over the place; or at the very least trying "to make a run (hop) for it"?  It's simple...the water they sit in contains a drug that makes them sleepy and lazy.  If only they knew....


One thing that my mom found at Tesco, that she fell in love with immediately, was their "cheese cake".  I say "cheese cake" because when we think of cheese cake, we think of something creamy, cheesy and somewhat dense and solid too.  But not these ones.  These ones were baked in an oval shape and were light and melt-in-your-mouth fluffy ones that the two of us had never tasted before.  My mother immediately gave me the task of finding her the recipe for this kind of "cheese cake".  Undaunted by this task, I checked through some local bilingual cookbooks and found a recipe for her.  Unfortunately, as anyone who has read my post "Excuse me, waiter..." can attest, it can sometimes be near impossible to understand these "translations" and I think my mother has put that idea to bed, soon after her return to sunny South Africa.


Well, I am happy to report that six years later, I have finally translated the recipe with the help of The Good Doctor and baked it, successfully I might add.  And yes, I have checked the quantities - you only need 25 grams of cake flour, I promise.  Know in advance that this cake climbs out of the tin to a height that you won't believe.  Don't be scared - it will settle down again, after you've taken it out of the oven!


Baked Cheese Cake, Taiwan Style




Ingredients:


  • 200g cream cheese
  • 60 g butter
  • 100 g milk
  • 25 g cake flour
  • 20 g corn starch (corn flour, a.k.a. Maizena)
  • 110 g sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • juice of a lemon (optional, but I find it cuts through the eggy-ness)

Method:



  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC.
  2. Warm butter, milk and cream cheese together until it is melted and well blended together.  Set aside and let it cool down to room temperature.
  3. Sift the flour and corn starch together in a bowl and mix in the yolks.  Set aside.
  4. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together until the soft peak stage.
  5. Fold in the cheese mixture into the egg whites carefully, a little at a time, using a metal spoon.  Don't work too roughly, as you don't want to lose too much air!
  6. Carefully fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.  I do this slowly and carefully with a balloon whisk.  Add the optional lemon juice at this point.
  7. Pour the batter into baking tins, lined with baking paper.  I used two 22cm x 9cm fruit loaf tins.
  8. Bake in a bain-marie (water bath) at 180 ºC for 30 minutes.  Thereafter reduce the heat to 150 ºC and bake for a further 60 minutes.  Loosely cover the top of the baking tins after the 1st hour of baking to prevent the top from browning too much.
  9. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before carefully removing it by holding onto the baking paper.  Serve with a sour-ish berry jam on the side or as a very light and fluffy dessert.