Yelly Eats

Ensaymada!

So because I have been at home, housebound because of illness and experiencing cabin fever, I once again cracked open the Goldilocks Bakebook and baked something familiar and comforting.  I made ensaymada.  It’s a sort of soft brioche-y type of bread that’s slathered with creamed butter, slightly sugared and smothered with cheese.

Ensaymada

And just like that I am comforted.  The recipe needs tweaking because the dough was unbelievably wet!  I’m going look up other ensaymada recipes and see where improvements can be made.  I am thankful for the ability to bring Manila to me…even if it was through several cheesy-buttery-bready mouthfuls!  What can I say – baking is like medicine!

Ensaymada bite

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Yelly Eats

Chocolate Guinness cupcakes!

Finally!!!

I was feeling a bit stressed out because the days were rushing past me and I hadn’t started on the Cake Book Challenge yet.  I had only 25 weeks to accomplish this goal to begin with!  But finally, the Cake Book challenge has officially begun!

1 recipe down, 49 more to go!  23.5 weeks left!

I chose to start with the Chocolate Guinness cupcakes recipe (page 44 of the book) because I love Chocolate Guinness cake.  The recipe was similar to my favourite choccie Guinness cake recipe (the Hummingbird Bakery recipe is ace and is a great go-to cake) so it wasn’t going to stress me out.  Plus, I get to drink the left over Guinness (which I did!)!

Chocolate Guiness cupcake recipe

One thing I did realise is that my hands are horrible and I have no icing talent!  The hands were wobbly and I couldn’t control the piping bag as well as I would’ve wanted to.  Also, attempting to ice anything with cream cheese frosting in this heat is generally a silly idea.  The minute I’d finished icing the cupcake, I could see the frosting softening ever so slightly!  I think the necessary tweak would be to add more icing sugar.  Maybe!  I may scrape off all the icing and start over again!

Maybe.

Chocolate Guinness cupcakes

I will be making Carly’s holiday cake today as well (I am hoping to accomplish this with all the good will and positive thinking in the world!).  Today’s baking mantra: I will manage my time properly!

Yelly Reads

The Cake Book Challenge!

I am doing a Julie Powell!  This challenge that I’ve taken on is getting more and more daunting as I think about it.

I have decided to cook through this book:

The Cake Book

It’s a book from Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube series (I also have the BBQ Book too which is excellent!) published by Penguin Books.  The book is called The Cake Book.  The recipes are written by Jemma Wilson who is the wunderkind behind Crumbs & Doilies.  If you’re into street food, you’ll know that C&D offers a really good range of lovely (heavy on the lovely) cupcakes.  I love the mini cupcakes that they offer the most because they are bite-sized pieces of heaven!  And they look so cute and dainty, almost too good-looking to eat.  Almost.  I thought to myself, well, if these are Cupcake Jemma’s recipes, well, they are definitely worth making!

There are 50 recipes in The Cake Book.  There are 26 weeks left in the year.  If I manage 2 recipes each week, I will have cooked through the entire book at the end of the year!  I am thankful that I can bring the cupcakes to work or share them with friends.  Because my blood sugar would not appreciate the increase in sugar intake!

I like that I am in the same situation as Julie Powell was when she started the Julie/Julia project.  I have a full-time job and a long commute at both ends of the day (mind you, I’m not sure how long Julie Powell’s commute was!)!  Am I crazy?  Definitely.  Is this self-inflicted project bigger than I think it is?  Probably.  But am I excited?  You betcha!  There are so many interesting recipes in the book.  I am looking forward to making brittle!  If Julie Powell can do it, so can I!

Yelly Eats

Stollen from scratch!

So the goal for the holidays, really, was to make stollen from scratch.  I made stollen once before, but it was from a Mary Berry mix.  Everything was prepped for me so all I had to do was mix everything up.  I was determined to find a recipe I could follow that was as close to Mary Berry’s as possible.  I searched for a stollen recipe but suprisingly couldn’t find one in my numerous books (to be completely honest, I didn’t really look very far!  Ha!).  But as luck would have it, Edd Kimber’s book Say It With Cake has a wonderful recipe for stollen.

Stollen proofing

I added a little tidbit:  I soaked the dried fruits in brandy overnight.  Makes for an interesting taste.  It called for nuts in the recipe, but I didn’t have any to put in so I did without that.  And because I like my marzipan spread through out the bread instead of in a big lump in the middle, I rolled my marzipan flat so that it would be distributed throughout the loaf.

Stollen baked

I was quite surprised at the size of the stollen though.  It came out bigger than I thought!  But it did look so pretty when it was dusted with icing sugar!

Stollen dusted

I was quite pleased with how it’s turned out.  The stollen came out beautifully!  Am now not too afraid to make breads, aided of course by my Kenwood chef (obviously not paid advertisement, although, I would love it if Kenwood took notice and gave me free stuff!  Ha!).   I wanted to learn how to make stollen mostly because of my dad.  He talks about the time when his entire family lived in Vienna and stollen eventually filters into the conversation.  It has always been a dream to bake something that reminded my father of happy times with his parents and siblings.  A few more practice sessions so that I can develop my own take on stollen!  But until then, Edd Kimber’s recipe with my own tweaks to it will do me just fine!

Stollen

Yelly Reads

The Fabulous Boy Who Bakes

I love Twitter because it makes celebrities more accessible.  Now, before you think that that statement sounds lightly stalkerish, I don’t mean you follow their every tweet.  It just allows you to post a comment and it allows the people you look up to to respond to your message.

I’ve had a few fan girl moments on Twitter where my baking heroes have actually responded to my tweets.  It can be quite the giddy moment.

I have quite a few favourites on Twitter from the Great British Bake Off.  One of them being the first ever winner Edd Kimber.  I’m not ashamed to say that I very much wanted Ruth Clemens to win that series but it was, really, an undeniable truth, that Edd was quite the baking talent.  I became quite the Edd Kimber fan when I was given his cookbook.  His blueberry streusel pie is absolutely amazing and the streusel recipe is so versatile!  I’ve used it for other baking projects and it has been a wonderful addition to my other fruit pies!

Edd has a stall in Maltby Street Market selling his lovely baked treats from his Eddibles Bakery.  I’ve been twice now.  And today, I had the chance to get his new book (which is on my cookbook wishlist) and get it signed too!  Edd was lovely and very accommodating.  He talks to the people who visit his stall and talk to him about the GBBO and his baking and his books.

I felt really cheeky asking him to sign the book for me but he did, even saying that he brought a pen for “just in case!”.  I asked if he could take a photo with me and he said yes!  Total fan girl moment.  I was honestly feeling a bit under the weather this morning but this certainly lifted my spirits!

Thank you Edd!

I’m soooooo looking forward to trying my hand at making the rainbow cake…and the lamingtons…and the bourbons…and the custard creams…

Yelly Eats

Croque Madame Muffins

Rachel Khoo burst into the TV cooking scene early this year with her little Paris kitchen exploits.  When I first saw the TV adverts for her show on the Beeb, I wondered if it was all too good to be true.  Everything was neat, tidy and oh-so-trés-Français.  But I was very (very!) curious so I made sure her show was sky-plussed.

I loved everything about the show.  It somehow de-mystified french cooking for me and seemed to make it more accessible.  I’ve got Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, but have never tried any of the recipes.  French cuisine is, really, quite daunting (to me it is, anyway).  I’ve cracked the book spine by reading it but haven’t really had the courage to actually try one of the recipes (yes, I know I really should!).

Because I enjoyed the show and the recipes that were featured (and thought I’d be a dab hand at trying out the recipes) I bought Rachel’s book and it really is quite adorable.  The illustrations in the book are completely hers (and considering her visual arts background, I wasn’t surprised that the little illustrations were good, and really quite refreshing to see in a cook book!). 

The first recipe I’ve tried and have always come back to in the cookbook is the recipe for croque madame muffins.  They are simple to make and they taste absolutely scrummy.  There are only 6 ingredients: bread, butter, eggs, ham, cheese and bechamel sauce!  If you are considering buying this book, do, if only for the croque madame muffin recipe!  They’re wonderfully tasty and oh-so-easy to make.  And, they do, come out quite beautifully.  When you pull them out of the oven and see their lovely golden bakedness, you can’t help but say, “Oh wow!  I made that!”

Yelly Writes

Choices, choices

I had written down this woeful entry about how tired I was, and how I wished I could just go to work tomorrow (as it is 8 minutes after midnight, I guess I should say later!) and just say, I’m going now, toodle pip!  But I’m not a quitter.  I may whine and cry about how hard it is but I try my best to get things done…with a smile on my face.  I guess I’m just feeling the pressure at work and needed a good cry to relieve the tension.  I hit the delete button and trashed the entry.  It’s a good thing to vent, but not a good thing to send out negativity into the cosmos!

In my heart of hearts, I’d love a job where I can read, cook, bake and write.  Does anyone need anyone to do just that?  I’d love to do that, and, because we live in the real world, with real needs and real bills, I’d love to get paid for it too!  But when I seriously consider what I want to do in this dream job of mine, the pesky self-doubt creeps in:  Am I a good enough writer?  Will people want to read what I want to say?  Are my thoughts even interesting enough?  Am I interesting enough?  After I’ve wallowed in my self-doubt long enough for my hands and feet to go all pruney, I go back to my dream job drawing board, not to rethink, but to plan how I’m going to find a way to find that job that lets me do what I want and make money out of it!  There has got to be a way for me to do what I love the most!  But until I figure out how to do just that, I shall go back to the grind!

Now how’s that for verbal diarrhea?

I’m trying to decide which cookbook to write about:  Lorraine Pascale’s Home Cooking Made Easy or Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen.  Any thoughts?