Sunday, 28 April 2013

J's Chocolate Mousse Entremet

Firstly I appologise for the photos, not the best but you can see the cake so it'll do this time! I baked this for my boyfriends birthday. It had to be something show stopping and like none of my other cakes. But the recipe I followed was a French youtube video for a one portion dish... So I had to make it up along the way. It's almost like a cheesecake but with mousse. So the outter edges of the cake is an eggy sponge with the centre being all chocolate mousse. With a layer of strawberries and another praline. This takes a lot of time, due to the chilling steps.

2 eggs separated. Whisk the whites to form peaks. Mix the yolks with 100g flour, 100g sugar. 
Fold in egg whites. Spread thinly and evenly on a baking tray. Bake at 180 celcius for 7-10 minutes.
Using a cake tin (preferably with a removable base) Cut a long strip with height of tin and a base.

60g Almond flakes. 100g Sugar. Melt the sugar without water in a saucepan on medium heat. As the edges being to brown turn the heat low and allow all the sugar to melt completely and gain a dark brown colouring. At no point should you stir the sugar, before it has become liquid. Fold in almond flakes and spread onto a well greased baking tray. Or using 2 silicon sheets, use a rolling pin to flatten. Leave to set.

Cut 6 large strawberries into small even chunks. Add to 20g of caster sugar and simmer in a sauce pan until the excess juice from strawberries has become thick and concentrated.

Using 300ml of whipping or thick cream (UHT will not whip). Beat the cream until thick and add to 200g of melted chocolate. Stir in gently.

Line your cake tin with the sponge. Making sure there are no gaps by gently squeezing the edges together. Using the sauce from the strawberries, brush on the juice evenly to the cake. Next spoon in 1/3 of the mousse mixture. Layer with strawberries (It is important that minimal liquid is added or it will melt the mousse) Leave to set for 20 minutes. Layer with 1/3 more mousse and sprinkle over chipped up almond praline brittle. Leave to set for further 20 minutes. Layer with the remaining mouse and leave to set for 2 hours. 
Once chilled and hard, using a hot pallet knife slide over the cake, using the tin as a guide, to gain a flat surface. Refrigerate for further 30 minutes before removing from tin. Dust with dutch press unsweetened cocoa powder using a fine sieve. Decorate with balls of chocolate ganache, hazelnuts, large shards of almond brittle.

Until Next Time xo

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Chocolate & Banana Cake

When I really got into big celebration cakes a few weeks back I offered to make a cake for a birthday my brother was attending. I needed an excuse to practise without having the need to eat any hahaha! I surprised myself with how this cake turned out. Very proud moment, although I think the rose does need a little more colour!

Since this was an 18th birthday cake, I spiked the buttercream with a little Baileys. But the recipe below is without. Just add enough to your own taste, because who doesn't love a bit of birthday Baileys!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Kokoro, Sushi Bar Review

I love sushi, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who fell trap to the supermarket so called 'sushi'. What a joke. My little brother claims to love sushi, but he's only ever had it from Tesco. So next time I'm in Guildford I'm picking a few trays up in a cooler bag and bringing them back home! The problem is most teenagers get into sushi because it's 'fashionable' or whatever. Then all of the sudden I found myself forcing it down just to say I like it. When I hated it. It's because supermarket sushi is crap!! I'm yet to find a quality sushi bar in Cardiff centre or anywhere surrounding for that fact. If you know of one please comment below and fill me in!

Salmon Nigiri, Chicken Katsu Nori, Wasabi.
The reason I love Kokoro so much is simple, it's just so understated. The only advertising they have for themselves is the store. I can't find them anywhere online but the store is always packed! This just goes to show that the food really does speak for itself. Since I had my first Salmon lovers box, (around £6.99) I find myself constantly stopping by for lunch when I'm on the high street shopping. Theres just enough space or a few people at their breakfast bars, seated at the windows looking out to the shoppers. But there have also been times when I resisted the temptation and decided to cook something myself, only to find myself rushing back into town to make the 8pm closing time and grab myself a medium box of hot sticky chicken on stir fry noodles (~£5) and some fresh salmon. Since the chefs know sushi inside and out, they know it's best FRESH. The sushi is made daily and throughout the day, so you know you wont be getting yesterdays left overs. Which means... get there too late in the day and they wont be stocking up because it wont go out tomorrow! 

I'm yet to become more adventurous and grab the deluxe box with eel, octopus and others. But they do have a selection of salads and pot stickers too! So you can imagine, the combination of how much I love food and eating out with James (who has a healthy appetite) we're racking up quite a bill. But so worth it since when I come home I say good bye to sushi times. Kokoro also offer a loyalty card. A few weeks ago I saved myself a free miso soup! I could go on but theres just no need. Enjoy the pictures, drool, be jealous and then go there. You'll thank me later, I know.

Salmon Nigiri at it's best.

My favourite sticky spicy chicken box.

Empty shelves late at night.

Until Next Time xo

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Palmiers for Breakfast

I love palmiers, I had my first in gorgeous Tuscan Italy under the sun. Visiting the leaning tower, spending the evening listening to street musicians at Ponte Veccio and chowing down some beautiful fresh seafood pallets and Florentine steak. Foodies paradise! Palmiers are a great way to cook your own breakfast, fresh and fast when we're rushed in the early morning. Pack these in a small bag and take them for snacking during the day too.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Back To University

I hate when the weather is doing that stupid inbetweeny crap when it can't decide if it wants to start summer yet or stay in winter. It makes deciding what to wear so difficult! There's definitely a big trend for floral this spring, as with every spring. But a massive emphasise on wearing full prints. On everything! I'll save you too much flower power this time and suggest a few outfits for back to uni/college which ever institution of learning you'll be heading to!

I'm thinking of treating myself to some new jeans, I love the china print on these! And of course white jumpers are always in style so that too is on the list. I never took a second look at peplum tops other than to think what kind of weird throw back fashion trend is this? But I love the grey material here so I thought I'd just give it a go. No wonder peplums are such a big thing, the fit is amazing. Which means I can go for a big meal and get away with a pot bloated belly, hehehe! Also notice how I somehow manage to look exactly the same in both photos... weird.

What do you think of the looks? Tweet me what your wearing back to work/uni this spring and I'll add you photo below! @ericahenderson
Until Next Time xo

Friday, 12 April 2013

Hake on Skordalia with Seared Spinach, buttered Muscles, Oyster Mushrooms and Sundried Tomatoes

Masterchef makes my mouth do some serious drooling. My belly will start rumbling and I'm itching to get into the kitchen. So my new tactic, eat before I watch! Yeah, I'm that bad. I get some serious cravings if I'm even slightly hungry while watching Masterchef. So for lunch yesterday I wanted some serious food going on. I'd never tried Hake before yesterday so I had no idea what to cook with it! All I could gather from asking around was that it tasted amazing. It was on offer so how could I not really? I looked around at a few recipes and saw it's mostly teamed with bold and strong flavours, so I just imagined a sea bass flavour and worked around it. I'm so pleased with how it turned out! My private home taster even said they'd be happy to pay £15 for this dish! But hey they may be slightly biased no?

I don't care! A compliment is a compliment! Especially with all the thought I put into this! I really do hope you give this a go. It's like eating out, but eating in. Hrmm. It's fairly simple to make, just takes a lot of concentration, with so many components! Skordalia, is Greek in origin and is said exactly how it's spelt. If you've been watching Masterchef, yes I did learn this from John!

Skordalia - 
5 large potatoes
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lime juice
Enough milk to cover potatoes.
Peel and chop potatoes to small squares. Boil in a saucepan with milk (no water!) Peel and squash garlic add to potatoes.
Once cooked and soft, scoop potatoes without milk into a blender add remaining ingredients, bled into a smooth mash/puree consistency.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Orange & Ginger Little Kick Cake

Clearly I had no idea what to call this dessert. This would be my first ever recipe that I've never adapted or taken inspiration from another. I did this freestyle and it was pretty frightening. Mum took me shopping and we came home with an abundance of fresh and delicious ingredients, since she knew I really wanted to make a come back from my mango custard mess. I knew Chili and Lime chocolate is a big, big favourite amongst the chocoholics so that was a definite component for this one!

To sum it up, this is a orange zest Victoria sponge layer, topped with a crumbled ginger biscuit disk, a chili and lime chocolate slice, orange scented custard and a gooey hazelnut caramel collar. It's a mouthful, hence the strange name. But it's not about the name, or the strange presentation of this one! It's all about the big flavours packed into a small dessert. I'm not so sure what John and Greg would say about my presentation but come on A+ for effort? Please?

Orange Sponge
100g butter
100g sugar
100g self raising flour
1 egg
1 large orange, zest separate
Cream the butter and sugar.
Whisk in the egg.
Add all the zest of the large orange.
Bake on a flat tray at 190 degrees for 15 minutes.
Upon removing cake from oven, take half the orange and squeeze the juice evenly coating the cake.
Cut with chefs ring after cooling.

Crumbled ginger biscuit -
100g ginger nut biscuits
3 tbsp melted butter
Crush the biscuits to a fine consistency.
Mix in butter until all crumbs are coated.
Spread flat and even on a baking tray and bake for 5 mins.
Cut with chefs ring after cooling.

Flavoured Chocolate - 
100g chocolate chopped
1 lime, zest
1 tsp chili flakes
Melt the chocolate over a ban marie.
Spread thinly on grease proof paper.
Sprinkle over lime zest and chili while chocolate is still wet.
Leave to set and cut with chefs ring.

Orange custard -
I cheated a little here.
Using a standard custard powder mix, add the zest of 1/2 an orange.
1tsp of vanilla and leave to set.

Hazelnut Caramel Collar -
40g Hazelnuts
1/2 Cup caster sugar
1/4 Cup of water
2 tbsp golden syrup
Simmer in a saucepan sugar, water and syrup.
Chop Hazelnuts finely, either with blender (quicker) or by hand.
Once sugar mix has turned a light brown caramel colour remove from heat.
(This light brown will have a gooey texture allowing you to mould the caramel. Other wise a deeper colour will become brittle)
Add hazelnuts and quickly turn out onto greased baking tray.
Leave until cool enough to handle. Slice 1 inch thick slices and shape around tier of cake.

It seems like a lot of work. It's not complicated in the slightest I would say. It's just a little time consuming but it's worth the effort for a dinner party or treat. It really is packed with flavour and since today is a favourite of mine and mums. Obviously with a big brew and a good show or in mums case a book. Don't forget to tweet me anything you make via @ericahenderson.
Until Next Time xo

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Drummond Pub Review

I love the Drummond Pub, located very close to Guildford city centre. Being just a short 10 minutes away. The food is gorgeous, if your in need of some serious hearty yet perfectly cooked food the Drummond is the place. This really is a hidden gem and it's definitely a favourite for me and James. We've been here several times in the last 2 years and I've been dying to review the food for ages, but theres been so many times I've tried something delicious and gone back for more only to be disappointed. This clearly is not the case for the pub better known as the bulldog. The consistency of the food and being perfectly seasoned is just amazing. The atmosphere is always fairly lively but not annoying as so you can't hear each other speak. It's a real British pub, with proper pub food. I love it. 

Picture from website.
At £10 for my favourite chorizo stuffed burger, topped with BBQ pulled pork for an extra £2.50, I'd say its very reasonably priced. I grudge paying for food when I think I can cook it better myself. But it's always a treat to eat here and I'm determined to one day be hungry enough to finish my main and get the chocolate and salted caramel tart. But that's a challenge I doubt I'll accomplish any time soon. The burger is just huge and me and James are always battling to see who will finish more. Another favourite of mine is the 3 for £10 snacks. To accompany a refreshing pint the bulldog offers a tapas like snack menu. We've tried the sweet potato wedges, onion rings, chicken wings and pan fried chorizo. Sounds pretty plain and simple but it's so easy to get these so wrong. I had full confidence and I was not let down. The wings obviously were first to go! Especially when I was sitting with two hungry lads! But the wedges were nicely spiced and the onion rings. I've never had any like it. We all thought it was so strange how we were fascinated with them, but the batter was almost like tempura and the onions were real onions! Hahaha, so silly to say. But it was delicious.

I'd love to show you more pictures of the food but this day we got the same meal as it's just so good! But the images of the inside on the website I think are fairly old. I've never seen the Drummond like this. Take my word it's so much nicer and go see for yourselves. Unfourntanely it was late and we were eating by candle light so the picture doesn't really do the food justice. Heres an image from the site that unlike most places, is exactly how it looks. 

I highly recommend a visit to the bulldog pub, with friendly staff, gorgeous interior and even a heated and fairy lights lit beer garden. What's not to love?

Until Next Time xo

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Drunken Chocolate Soufflé

A week later, not much has changed with me! But recently got a new job with the local Go Karting centre, we had a staff championship Grand Prix yesterday. An hour down the road to Bristol for our regional heats and it's pretty safe to say I came dead last. Yeah, I thought it was going to be a friendly few laps around the track. Boy was I wrong, I got up to the changing rooms and half the lads strolled up with a duffel bag filled with their own jumpsuits and helmets. Oh crap. This is going to be pretty serious. I looked at another recently hired guy and said, it's just me and you. Head to head. It's going to be a free for all. It was, I gave it my all and didn't spin out once! But as an overall centre we won!! So hey, round 2 next week I best get some practise in no?

Anyway to the soufflé, I was attempting to make a gorgeous chocolate and mango tarte with a luxurious chocolate and caramel ganache. I failed terribly at the first hurdle of home made custard mixing in a fresh mango puree. If anyone has a good recipe or tips for this please help me out! I was left with a lumpy brown mess... so that went in the bin. Waste?! I wanted a new challenge and gave up on the mango. This is incredibly easy and I was so shocked that I actually got a good rise from it! Score, smile returned to my face at last. I hate defeat. This recipe only takes 4 ingredients and if your an avid Baileys drinker you've just saved yourself a trip to the shops.

3 Egg whites
35g Dutch press cocoa powder (unsweetened)
30g Caster sugar
40ml Baileys (or liqueur of choice)

Prep: Using 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of sugar. Grease the ramekins and dust with cocoa sugar mixture. To evenly coat. Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

1. Mix liqueur and cocoa powder in a small bowl.
2. In a separate bowl whisk egg whites adding sugar in parts to form stiff peaks. This is roughly 6-8 minutes using an electing hand mixer.
3. Once stiff (You can try the over the head trick if your confident enough!) Spoon half the mix into the choc mix and fold in using a figure of 8 motion.
4. Once mixed in well add the remaining egg mix and repeat.
5. Spoon into ramekins and bake for 13 minutes.

Top Tips: 
 - Be sure to completely coat the ramekins with butter and cocoa sugar mix! This will help the rise.
 - Completely mix in the eggs. No streaks or marbling. This will again effect the rise and flavour, leaving patches of tasteless egg white.
 - Do not knock or disturb the air you've built up or you'll get a flat blob.

This is best served within the first 2 minutes after removing from the oven. This leaves such little time for any other decoration. So if you have something in mind make sure you have it ready! I just dusted with icing sugar because I didn't think they would actually work, hence the lack of photos! They needed a little whip and my usual photo shoots, but there was just no time haha! They look a little grubby on the edges but that never effects the taste eh ;)

Until Next Time xo
Dont forget my giveaway is closing soon, win 4 pieces of diva jewellery! 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Blueberries & Cream Profiteroles

Such a gorgeous day in Cardiff today. I hope the weather is treating you well wherever you are! The reruns of the Great British Bake Off have just started up again and they were challenged to make the infamous profiterole. I hate them, but I've only ever had the cheap and cheerful ones. So I knew it was time to make some myself, to my taste with a gorgeous fresh blueberry cream filling. Needless to say, these were the only 3 left after 30. (I did not eat them all to myself.. or maybe I did! Hrmm)

The clocks went back this weekend for the start of the 'British Summer' I'll believe it when I see it. It's still freezing today, but the sun is out so we'll just take what we can get before we have to jet off. The summer always brings to mind, fresh fruit with a healthy dollup of cream and some cocktails in the sun. The latter will have to wait for the temp to increase tho!

150ml cold water
50g butter cubed
60g strong plain flour
2 eggs
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup blueberries
250ml whipping cream

1. In a saucepan heat the water and butter together until a light simmer.
2. Before the water boils, we don't want to loose any by evaporation, take off the heat and add flour.
3. Beat rapidly until the mixture pulls away from the sides and forms a ball.
4. Add an egg beat well before adding another, the mixture will look like its splitting at this point, but with more mixing shall come back together.
5. Beat until you have a glossy mixture, spoon (or pipe) onto a greased baking tray and cook for 10 mins at 200 degrees.
6. Now turn the heat up to 220 degrees for a further 15 minutes.
( Don't be afraid of the rolls slightly browning, if they don't they will become soggy inside!)
7. Prick each with a tooth pick and transfer to a cooling rack to dry out.

8. Blend blueberries to make a puree.
9. Add cream and beat until thick.
10. Use a tablespoon or pipping bag to fill.
11. Garnish with fresh fruit, mint and a dust of icing sugar.

Until Next Time xo
Don't forget to enter my giveaway bellow!! And tweet me any of your pictures following my recipes or beauty tips @ericahenderson :)