Archive for June, 2008

Where there’s smoke, there’s Emily in the kitchen!
June 30, 2008

Stir fry attempt numero uno:


 not so much stirring and frying as sticking and burning...

Not so much stirring and frying and sticking and burning… in other words, oh dear!!

Let’s start from the beginning – my sister was getting fed up of all these new recipes being tried for dinner which she really wasn’t fond of, so suggested a stirfry because… well, what could go wrong?

What DIDN’T go wrong? For something so supposedly simple it sure was a lot of work – and it didn’t look or taste edible at the end either. A few bulletpoints on what went to pot…

  • First off, how on earth do the noodles work!?!?! We used ‘straight to the wok’ noodles which were incredibly overpriced, to make things a bit easier – straight to the wok my elbow, they stuck and burnt and didnt separate out; we ended up with big brown clumps of noodle…
  • The wok i used was sooo bad. I don’t know what happened, but it was meant to be non-stick and it everything stuck to it! It really got a bit out of control when I was trying to stir the vegetables and noodles and such with my wooden spatula and the spatula got stuck. In the end i had to dump all the not-ready-at-all food onto plates whilst i attempted to scrub the [may i add, never before used] wok with two types of washing-up liquid, bleach and the scrubby side of a sponge – the sponge had to be thrown after, as it was beyond repair. I then continued to stir-fry the food in a non stick frying pan… so much easier! Why, oh why didn’t i do that in the first place?
  • How much oil was i meant to add? I have a feeling that part of the reason everything stuck so much was because there wasn’t enough oil, but by the time i actually served the food, it was literally swimming in oil! It was disgusting! I’m not much of a fan of oil at the best of times and it was either too little or too much; rather confusing…
  • At one point the whole kitchen was so completely filled with smoke that I could barely see – and I don’t even know why!
  • I did the meat all wrong too: I was meant to put it in first or something, because it cooks slowest? Yeah, i sorta forgot…

Phew – I’ve ran out of things that went wrong!! Well it’s safe to say that this is the biggest catastrophe so far 😉 – don’t you fret, I’m sure my next posts won’t be quite as depressing ;P


Gâteau de bateau
June 22, 2008

That means boat cake 😉

…it rhymes!!!

For father’s day, I decided to get my daddy something special. He told me not to buy him anything, and I knew he already was getting everything he wanted from my sister, so what option did I have left but to make him a lovely, humungous cake?

Not just any cake… A Gâteau de bateau 😉

The official name for it is actually Roisin Cake, as I promised my friend [you guessed it, her name was Roisin…]

Here’s a picture:

 That\'s right, for Father\'s day I got my dad a Roisin!

It has all the best things in/on it 🙂

  • Buttercream, which I LOVE. [even better- chocolate buttercream!]
  • Curly Wurlys, which everyone loves
  • Moist-ness… *drools*
  • NUTELLA [Well, actually, I have a bit of  confession to make… I don’t like hazelnuts 😦 So the ‘Nutella’ I use is actually belgian chocolate spread :D]
  • Massive slices… even if you try and cut yourslef an itsy bitsy thin slice, you end up with a lovely big one anyway, because the Roisin’s so tall! [How ironic, beacuse Roisin is actually a midget :P]

There was also a whole bunch of other things, which I suppose I better write out too – ‘Massive slices and moist-ness’ isn’t much use when you’re working from a recipe 😉

375g butter, softened
3 teaspoons vanilla essence
500g caster sugar
6 eggs
675g self-raising flour
375ml milk

Chocolate buttercream [beware – this makes far too much!!!]
450g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
6 tablespoons of milk
150g chocolate milk powder

You will also need:
8 wooden skewers
25cm x 40cm prepared board
26cm x 36cm baking dish
Nutella/Belgian chocolate spread
Decorations! Such as edible white paper, for the sails; Curly Wurlys; a slab of chocolate for the plank and edible letters to write words with.

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 180-190˚C ; grease and line a deep 26cm x 36cm baking dish.
  2. Beat butter, essence and sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in flour and milk, in two batches.
  3.  Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake in the oven until the cake is cooked. Stand cake in pan for about 10 minutes; turn onto wire rack to cool. Using a serrated knife, level the cake top and trim the sides. [This is where we noticed our cake hadn’t appeared to have baked properly…]
  4. Cut cake in half lengthways, cut-side down; cut 7cm piece from each half. [Go on then, I’ll show you another picture to help]

5. Assemble the cake pieces on your prepared board to form a boat shape; secure with 5 skewers.
6. Trim the front of the boat at angles to make bow, discard cake trimmings. Trim skewers to the same heights as the cake. [i think this calls for another picture!]

7.  Make buttercream: Beat butter in a small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible. Gradually beat in chocolate milk powder and half of the icing sugar, milk, then the remaining icing sugar.
8. Spread the buttercream all over the boat, then decorate with pieces of Curly Wurly.
9. Write words with the edible letters, position the chocolate plank [I suggest using a 15g cadburys chocolate block for this] and hold it up with a piece of skewer or toothpick underneath, if you’re worried it might fall out.
10. Thread the edible paper on remaining skewers, and position the three masts on boat. Voila!

‘Shrooms in the room!
June 18, 2008

Now, i don’t usually use mushrooms in cooking – i’m not sure what it is about them, but there’s defenitely something amidst all that… mushroomyness? That makes me think bleurgh. 

As i’m not that great a cook at the best of times, with a bleurgh ingredient you’d expect something pretty awful huh?

Suprisingly enough… no!

Let me introduce you to my mushroom risotto 🙂
I may even go as far as crowning it one of my favourite dishes!
I have made it twice already in the past fortnight: the first time was last week and the second time was today, when i served it for my mum and her friend Fiona – who’s a vegetarian, so i had to use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Which is a shame, because it was so darn tasty with chicken stock!

Here’s a picture of the original…


And here’s the lovely recipe, which i took from the book [hehe, it rhymes] cheap as chips, better than toast – i rented it out of solihull library about 2 months ago, i probably have fine the size of England…

 Easy Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4

dash of olive oil
25g butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped [optional! I didn’t use it, as it upsets my mum’s tum]
115g dried porcini – you might know them as ceps? [but i used Chesnut mushrooms, which the book also says is okay]
325g arborio risotto rice [don’t bother with buying special rice, just use up whatever rice you have! That’s what I did… but now I think about it, the rice was quite gooey and took AGES to absorb the stock – maybe that’s why, silly me]
900ml chicken or vegetable stock [i cheated and used a stock cube, how naughty of me]
2 handfuls of frozen peas [yummm, peas taste lovely]
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, to serve [but this is totally optional]
If you’re using dried porcini, then keep the mushroom water because you can use that too! (see tip at bottom of page]

  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan and saute the onions and [garlic]. After two minutes, [or longer, if you like] add the mushrooms and stir well to coat them in oil.
  • Add the rice and also stir to coat the grains with oil. Pour in the mushroom water, and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring until the liquid is nearly absorbed.
  • Add the peas and the stock, a cup at a time, until absorbed – you don’t want it too watery. Keep watching and stirring all the way through cooking, so the risotto doesn’t stick and burn. [This I did with my lovely new additions to the kitchen – Toby, Delia and Cecilia the spoon ;D]
  • Season with salt and pepper, stir, and let boil with the lid on for another few minutes. Ladle into four bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese [or spoon onto three plates using Toby!]

Tip: If you use the dried porcini in your recipe, you need to rehydrate them. Soak the mushrooms in enough warm water to cover them. When they are rehydrated [which will take up to half an hour, hense i used the chesnut mushrooms!] strain the water into another bowl, and use it with the stock to cook the rice. You need to strain the water as it could be gritty.

I think that parsnips would make a lovely addition to this recipe, and that the chicken stock is much yummier than the vegetable. I’m not sure what it would taste like with beef stock, probably not very nice, but i’ll have to try it out. Bad things about it: rice was annoying, as i mentioned earlier, but that could be something to do with the fact that I didn’t use risotto rice, and I think I should have used a bit more stock. I haven’t used garlic, as i also mentioned earlier, but it probably would compliment the other ingredients well. Comment me, tell me what you think!

Release the cookie monster!!
June 11, 2008

That’s right.. COOKIES!!!

Officially my favourite food in the entire world, and oh-so-simple to bake 😀

Infact, so simple that they were indeed … wait for it… *gasp*


Yes!!! they were!!! Not only edible but darn tasty too. It would be a crime not to pass on the genius that is this recipe [and direct you to the lovely lady who i nicked it off in the first place ;)] so here you are…

I had to make adaptions as England, the small lonely island that it is, has no Ghirardelli chocolate to bestow upon us cookie-lovers, and so instead i experimented with Galaxy and Thorntons chocolate.

The Thorntons batch defenitely takes the cake!! [or should i say cookie…]

It was quite simply one of the most delicious things i have gobbled up in a while. And I have proof!! The official stuff-that-emily-has-baked-tasters gave the thumbs up too – whilst i have never seen so many people hastily mumble *i’ll pass* [who can blame them after my chocolate cheescake brownie slices], one brave soul decided she would take a sniff as she was passing the tin… and that was all it took! She was excitedly proclaiming [through mouthfuls of cookie] that the rest of choir *haff gyohtta try theshe* and the tin was empty in moments 🙂

Galaxy batch – not so nice… been in the fridge for a little too long i think, and went quite hard.

Update: Finally  found the pictures in my dad’s sharing folder; so you can have a looksie:

And that\'s the way the cookie crumbles ;)  

Chocolate-cheescake-brownie-slices-fresh-from-the-oven … What a mouthful!
June 11, 2008