Friday, 19 November 2010

Sticky Apple Cake

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Several wrinkly deteriorating apples in my fridge and some luscious looking recipes online inspired me to make this. Dark, moist, fragrant, sweet and festively spiced with chewy chunks of soft fruit and the added bite of nuts- NOM NOM NOM.

Sticky Apple Cake
Makes one large-ish (about 13" x 9") rectangular pan's worth of oooey-gooey cake

Stir together and let soak for at least an hour:
150g sultanas
Generous glug of brandy

Melt 225g butter, then leave aside to cool.

Combine in a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes until thick and pale:
2 eggs
300g dark muscovado sugar
100g white granulated sugar

Add and fold until well-mixed:
The melted butter
The soaked sultanas
2 large green apples, cored and chopped
100g nuts, toasted and chopped (I used hazelnuts but use whatever you want)
250g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg

Pour into a lined 13" x 9" rectangular baking tray and bake for about 1hr 15 mins at 160C (or 140C fan-assisted). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Rich Tomato Beef Stew

Cold weather calls for hearty comfort food, so here: a simple-to-cook pot of tender beefy goodness with a thick flavoursome gravy to warm you up this winter :) Double the recipe if you like and freeze for a later date- the beef keeps well and will only get tastier with time.

Bon appetit!

Rich Tomato Beef Stew
Serves 2-3

Sweat in a pan over low-medium heat until translucent:
1 onion, sliced into half rings
2 cloves garlic, minced

Add and stir for a few minutes until meat is browned:
600g stewing/braising beef, cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
Generous sprinkling of dried mixed herbs
2 dried chillies, crushed
Salt and black pepper

Stir in, cover and simmer on low heat for 2 hours until thickened:
1 large carrot, cut into chunks (or any vegetables/pulses you feel like using)
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
A good glug of milk

At the last minute, stir in 1 tsp wholegrain mustard and cook a couple more minutes.

Serve hot with rice, couscous or bread.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Kabocha Korokke (Japanese Pumpkin Croquettes)

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OK, so strictly speaking I can't call this recipe kabocha korroke as I didn't actually have any of those beautiful deep green Kabocha squashes (or Japanese pumpkins) on hand. Instead, I massacred poor Count Pumpkula instead- our Halloween pumpkin vampire which no longer had a purpose in life beyond October 31st.

The late Count Pumpkula, serving us well in life and in death. Or is that undeath?

The Kabocha squash you're meant to be using for this recipe

Kabocha squashes have an exceptional intense sweetness like a cross between sweet potato and butternut squash, so a few adjustments were necessary to get the far more watery, inferiorly flavoured regular pumpkin to taste the same. If you have a proper Kabocha on hand, the sieving step won't be necessary as it won't be that wet, and you can omit the sugar and flour in the mash.

Kabocha Korokke (Japanese Pumpkin Croquettes)
Makes about 10 small pieces

Cut half a small Kabocha pumpkin into small chunks- leave the skin on so you get pretty green bits in your croquettes. Boil for about 20 mins in salted water (or some people use chicken broth) until tender and cooked. Drain thoroughly, then mash and set aside to cool.
If using regular pumpkin instead of Kabocha, drain it again
once mashed by pressing through a fine sieve.

Finely chop half a small onion and fry for a few minutes in a bit of oil or butter over medium heat until translucent. Stir it into the mashed pumpkin along with:

2 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp salt
A generous dash of white pepper
1 tbsp flour (if using normal pumpkin)
1 tbsp sugar (if using normal pumpkin)

Place 1 cup flour, 1 extra large whisked egg and 1 ½ cups panko
(Japanese breadcrumbs) in 3 separate bowls.

Panko- lighter, flakier and crisper than normal breadcrumbs,
commonly found in Asian shops

Shape the pumpkin mash into croquette patties with two large spoons.

Dip each pattie in flour...

...then in egg...

...then in panko breadcrumbs.

Deep fry a few croquettes at a time until brown and crisp, turning several times with a pair of long wooden chopsticks. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Let cool for a few minutes so you don't burn your tongue. Drizzle with a bit of fruity tonkatsu sauce if desired, then crunch away!