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Entries in Dessert (10)

Saturday
Nov242012

Mini-Episode: Spiced Rhubarb Jalousies

Totally not created out of spite. Nope. Not a bit.

So, as explained in the video, I had made a video of my making Jalousies, and was waiting for AlphaBakes to get to J. They got to T, and I got cold feet. I submitted the video as Turnovers, and that was a thing. Now 3 months later, they have J. It was suggested that I recut the original episode, but I don't do two takes /Calculon. So I got more pastry & more fancy market jam, and I made them again. 

So yes. AlphaBakes, run by Ros (The More Than Occasional Baker) & Caroline (Caroline Makes).

The letter this month is J. Dagnabbit.

 

Music Notes:

"Immigrant Song" by Trent Reznor, Karen O & Atticus Ross, from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack", 2011

I did not see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, either version. Tanja read the books, but I had no interest. I did, however, see this INCREDIBLE fake trailer for an Ender's Game movie. I was hooked on the song and grabbed it right away from iTunes. As I learned later that week, if you're sprinting after the bus with it playing in your headphones, you feel like you're in a Tony Scott action movie.

And also, Ender's Game was so good of a book that as a teenager I stole it from a kindly English teacher who lent it to me. I did not like the sequels, or the Shadow series, more's the pity.

What about you, oh reader? What work of fiction affected YOU so much that you'd steal it from an educator?

Recipe:

See here.

 

Also I am planning some big changes for the blog in the near future, so stay tuned!

Sunday
Nov182012

Episode 29: Anni's Chilli Choc Cookies

Hey, Lucas, lately you've been really bad at this whole "regular updates" thing. Yeah, yeah, I know but hey! New one!

Notes:

The making of these cookies and posting of this recipe comes from my friend Anni & Joel (or @annisugar and @gingerexplosion on Twitter). They are cool folk & are full of lovely knowledge and recommendations of things, but as Anni is intolerant to gluten & lactose, and Joel is a vegetarian, they are the very devil to cook for. In looking for something to bring to a pot luck brunch that everyone could enjoy, I stumbled across My Darling Lemon Thyme, which is a great blog full of gluten & dairy-free recipes, and these cookies. I'm working up to trying their medjool date chocolate slice one day. The resulting cookies were given the Anni seal of approval (she has declared that she would skip a meal & eat nothing but these, which is high praise).

Music Notes:

As with the last few times I got a guest to assist with the inspiration, I had Anni choose the music:

"Deceptacon" - Le Tigre, from "Le Tigre", 1999
"Wishbone" - Architecture In Helsinki, from "
In Case We Die", 2005
"California English" - Vampire Weekend, from "
Contra", 2010
"Why Can't I Be You?" - The Cure, from "
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me", 1987 

The real surprise for me was how well The Cure's track fit into the rest of the thoroughly modern songs. Well, there you go. My young teenage self who wrote the Cure off as one-hit wonders & bleeding-heart-love-song-writers has been proven wrong, as he so often has been. Don't worry. Adult Lucas knows better.

Recipe:

Anni's Chilli Choc Cookies
makes 8-10 good-sized biscuits 

ingredients:

  • 55g ground almonds
  • 60g rice flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 55g cocoa
  • 55g brown sugar
  • 50g raw sugar
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chilli
  • 65g slivered almonds
  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp rice or soy milk, or skim milk if you don't mind the dairy

 

  1. Sift the rice and corn flours, the cocoa, the ground almonds, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the chilli into a bowl. 
  2. Add the salt, then the almonds, and stir to combine.
  3. Using whatever you feel like, bash the chocolate into little pieces then add it to mix.
  4. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil, vanilla extract & soy milk.
  5. Add the eggy-oily mixture to the floury-chocolatey mixture, get a wooden spoon (not a whisk) and mix it all together. You're going to get a damp mixture, like in the video.
  6. Using about two tablespoon of the mix, make a little pattie with your hands, like a felafel. Make sure it's flattish and smooth the outside with your fingers so it stays together. Make 8-10 of these patties & transfer them to a tray lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool, seize, and consume!

 

 

 

Friday
Aug102012

Episode 26: Jalousies, or Fancy Jam Turnovers

Another AlphaBakes? So soon? Well, there's a perfectly good explanatioLOOK OVER THERE

 

 

Notes:

So I've become a bit gun-shy of posting any recipe that involves baking because JUST IN CASE it matches the next month's AlphaBakes letter and GOD FORBID I have to shoot something else. In this case, this recording was sitting, fully edited, waiting for the letter J. Or B. Or hell, I'd have settled for P. But the letter came up T and a frantic renaming happened, which sparked off a tide of memories.

 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

 

A few months ago, Tanja & I stopped in at Corridor, a small bar at the north end of King St in Newtown. We'd not been before, but many friends praised it, and Charlotte (she of Creme Brutal fame)'s brother used to be cocktail manager there. I loved the decor, and the fact that I could chat fancy cocktail knowledge with the bartenders as they would experiment with ingredients (We had a 10 minute conversation about bitters. Seriously). So after a happy few cocktails, we wandered homewards, slightly loopy, and stumbled into Pentimento, the bookshop home of amusing cards, beautiful notebooks, art books, and yes, cookbooks. I bought myself a beautiful old lock and key, and somehow Tanja ended up with THE ART OF FRENCH BAKING. The next morning, she looked at it, and said "Oh. I don't think this is my style. Perhaps I'll take it back." I have never moved so fast in my life to steal it out of her hands.

 

Admittedly, much of the content was FAR beyond my skills (anything involving making my own pastry terrifies me), but I quickly spotted a recipe for Jalousies. I'd love to say they were a remnant of my French-Canadian childhood, but no. They simply looked easiest. Madame Mathiot's version involved making her own puff pastry, and my brain was all NOPE.

 

A tangent: when I was a kid, we moved around a lot. Usually once a year, occasionally more. And as we were Not Rich, moving inter provincially meant driving. A lot. It had gotten to the point that I knew the TransCanada Highway routes from Vancouver-to-Hull and Fredericton-To-Ottawa like the back of my hand. I knew the landmarks, and how looking for Hope and Riviere-De-Loup and St Louis De Ha-Ha and Wawa can make the trip go faster. However my favourite was always travelling through Quebec, because they had a) smoked meat sandwiches at every diner and b) the best Rest Stops. And why were they the best Rest Stops? Because they were frequent, the bathrooms were well-maintained and they had chuck wagons with sugar tarts and The Good Apple Turnovers/Strudels (as opposed to The Bad Apple Turnovers/Strudels, which were prevalent in English Canada, and had big chunks of crystallised sugar on top and no icing. Heathens). Of course, it wasn't until years later that I had Proper German Apple Strudel, and I was always disappointed it didn't have the same sugary artificial kick the Rest Stop ones did. This recipe is the closest I've come to making Turnovers for myself.

Anyhow, talk about the recipe, Lucas, geez.
This recipe is about as simple as it gets and so versatile. I've made berry jalousies, I've made fig jalousies, I've made a variation that involves butter and cinnamon sugar, rolled like a scroll to make baby mutant cinnamon buns, I've even made mini jalousies, folding the half-sheet over like a turnover, which gets you lots more servings out of one recipe.

And now the warning: the jam you choose is KEY. The original recipe uses redcurrant jelly. DO NOT USE JELLY. Or cheap supermarket jam that is too watery. I used beautiful Berry Vanilla jam I bought from the Eveleigh Markets (and later fig jam from the same stall) and having experimented, I won't use anything else. The reason is simple: if you use watery supermarket jam, the water will boil, and foam out over the vents, leaving your tray a sticky mess, and the jalousies devoid of any actual jam inside. Jelly is eve worse, as the water ends up evaporating, and you get empty pastry! So pick a well-made sticky name with a good consistency like the one in the video, and go for it.

 


Oh yes, and this is for AlphaBakes. You know, that thing that Ros and Caroline do? It's for August, and the letter is T.

 

Music Notes:
Aluminium - "The Hardest Button To Button", from "Aluminium", 2005
You guys know I love Jack White. Well, these guys love him more than I do. Richard Russell and Joby Talbot have created an entire album of avant-garde symphonic White Stripes covers. They presented their work to Jack White and got his seal of approval. The covers themselves range from epic (Hardest Button To Button re-imagined as a Hall of the Mountain King style escalation), to whimsical (Why Can't You Be Nicer To Me uses xylophones & strings mimicking horns) to fucking scary (Aluminum could the soundtrack to a horror film or gothic opera starring vampires). Part of the album has actually been choreographed by the Royal Ballet. Cool, huh? 

Recipe:
Jalousies, or Fancy Jam Turnovers
ingredients:
1 sheet of puff pastry (you could make your own, or buy it)
1 jar good-quality jam (I used Berry Vanilla in the video, but Fig, Blueberry or Raspberry work fine)
50g slivered almonds
1 egg

  1. Preheat your oven to 180.
  2. Lay out a piece of baking paper on the counter, and put your puff pastry upon it.
  3. Bisect the puff pastry down the middle so you get two identical rectangles.
  4. On one rectangle, spread on the jam thickly but evenly, leaving about a centimetre around each edge.
  5. Lay the second rectangle of pastry on top, and seal the edges with your fingers.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut vents in the top, about 5mm-1cm apart. Make sure you don't cut too deep and make a hole in the bottom. That'd be bad.
  7. In a little bowl, crack the egg and beat it severely. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash, making sure to cover it completely.
  8. Get a cookie sheet or baking tray and spray a little bit of water onto it, before transplanting the baking paper & pastry to it.
  9. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until it goes all golden in the centre.
  10. 5 minutes before the baking's done, dump 3 tbsp of jam and 2 tbsp of water into a little saucepan. Heat on medium, until it combines, then take off the heat.
  11. Get the pastry out of the oven, and while it's still hot, brush the top with the heated jam mixture.
  12. Quickly sprinkle slivered almonds on top, then brush with more jam so it sticks.
  13. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cut across into strips.
  14. Seize and consume!
Tuesday
Jul242012

Episode 25: White Chocolate Show-offs

Back again for another week, just squeaking in under a deadline:

 

(In the US? Can't see the video? View or download here.)

Notes:

Is it considered bad form to make the cookies of one of the people putting on the blogging challenge you're entering? Nah. Anyhow, I made these cookies of my own volition, not filming them, a few weeks back and they turned out great. In the afterglow of successful cookie-baking, I tweeted out a few photos, by way of a humble brag. I got many appreciative comments, including one from Ms Ros, the more than occasionally baker, stating that I could enter these into Alphabakes, due to "White Chocolate" fulfilling the W quota. Suddenly the race was on to finish this batch & make more so I could show the making of them. Such was my rush that I brought some to work with me, and I discovered that "Brown Butter Espresso White Chocolate Cookies" doesn't roll off the tongue, because people keep stopping you to ask about bits of the title. And then you end up showing off, hence the new name, and the Dolph-Ziggler-looking cartoon on the record. Me and my big mouth, right (though said big mouth comes in handy for eating cookies)? Also, between this and me bringing in some remix bread, several folk at my workplace have dubbed me "a feeder". Hmph.

On the recipe itself, the size of the cookies is key. Too small, and the butter inside will convert them into little rocks after a week in the tin. Too big, and the insides won't cook through properly. Make a few different sizes and trust your judgment. When in doubt, make 3 different sizes, and bake one of each for a sample. Done right, the butter will be chewy goodness inside each biscuit.

As mentioned before, this is my July entry for Alphabakes, as hosted by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker & Caroline of Caroline Makes.

 

Music Notes:

Shonen Knife - "Top of the World", from "If I Were A Carpenter", 1994

The 5.6.7.8's - "Hanky Panky", from "Japanese Groupsound!", 2003

So my musical choices did not start this way. On a whim, while buying a New Pornographers album, I spotted a 6" single in the Sale! bin. It was by a group called the Go-Devils (not to be confused with the American psychobilly group of same name) out of Osaka, Japan. The A-Side was "I'm In Pittburgh And It's Raining", originally a jangling garage rock hit for The Outcasts in 1966 (who, ironically, have been hailed in hind site as proto-punk psychedelia forerunners). I looked at the back and saw three Japanese girls named Momo, Ritsuko & Mao Mao doing their very best tough-girl faces. My attention was got. I bought the single and had a listen. Ass-kicking rock and roll, with the wonderfully distinctive accent singing over top. Sadly, the Go-Devils haven't been active online at all (none of their stuff is available for download, so this 1996 release is my only link. And as I don't have a USB turntable to rip the vinyl, you guys get two of my other favourite Japanese rock and roll girl groups. Shonen Knife, and the 5.6.7.8's.

Shonen Knife, of course, are 30-year (!) veterans of Japanese rock and opened for Nirvana of all people, even bringing Kurt and the gang back to Japan for a tour. And on their 30th anniversary as a group, they (what else?) released an album of Ramones covers, which is winging it's way to me now.

The 5.6.7.8's have been around nearly as long, but really jumped to everyone's notice from their spot in Kill Bill in 2003. They were in the House of Blue Leaves izakaya playing while Uma Thurman  is scoping out the Crazy 88. They also played continuously through the One Big Take: The steadicam follows The Bride in the building, through into the bathroom, then turns and follows a book up the stairs into the dining room, they order, then follows Sofie back down the stairs, past the band, and into the bathroom. Full band playing, dozens of extras, one take. Seems that Mr Tarantino heard the band's music playing in a clothing store a few hours before he left Tokyo, and had to offer the clerk double the retail value of the CD to walk away with it. But he got it.

Recipe:

White Chocolate Show-Offs

adapted from the more than occasional baker & healthy delicious

makes 9-12 big cookies

ingredients:

114g unsalted butter

1 tbsp ground coffee

250 plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

pinch of salt

150 dark brown sugar

85g caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

180g white chocolate chips.

 

 

  • Preheat oven to 185.
  • Get the butter into a little pot on medium heat & heat it, stirring now & again to stop it burning. When it turns all golden-like, take it off the heat, dump in the coffee & give it a stir.
  • Put the flour in a big bowl. Add the bicarb of soda and salt & mix it up.
  • Get a littler bowl, and pour in your ButterCoffee SuperFluid. Add the brown sugar, then the caster sugar, then the vanilla extract. Mix to combine, but don't use a whisk. The mix is so sticky it'll just become a bat & it'll be a mess to clean out.
  • Once combined, crack in the egg and beat until smooth.
  • Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and mix it together carefully. It's going to be dryer than you expect. Don't be afraid to mix with your hands, as you don't want any flour stuck to the bottom.
  • Pour in the chocolate chips and stir again.
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof, and grab a handful of dough, Use your hands to smooth it into a little globe (see above note on size) & onto the paper it goes.
  • Bake for 14 minutes or so until the middles are firm but not darkened.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack before you seize and consume!

 

Sunday
Jun032012

Episode 21: Vanilla Crème Brûtäl

Because more accents over letters means more awesome. 'Specially if they're umlauts.

 

Notes:

Guest baker! I've known Charlotte for a few years now, but have only in the last year discovered her tumblr of lovely recipes (which infuriates me because Tumblr won't let you comment) and when I said that sometime over the Easter Weekend she and Gonzi (who used to be in my team at work) should come over and we'd "cook stuff". They brought pork rillettes, I made VeganTamer Soup (future episode, watch this space), and Charlotte whipped up this delicious concoction, in spite of our temperamental oven.

See? This is her here:

Observe my wacky camera setup behind her.

The actual torchifying of the brulees went well, but the filming of same did not. The big camera was at an angle that couldn't see the melting, and my attempt at hand-held with my FlipCamera lead to varying white balance & focus. So only the prettiest shot stays in the video (hence the shift from torching the first one, then suddenly there are others. Cinema magic! See?
 

Special thanks also to Gonzi, whose artistic prowess I bow down before. He was just hanging out on my couch as Charlotte turned into a tornado in the kitchen, and I pressed him into serviceto draw the record this episode. We brainstormed a bit before deciding that Easter was about guys rising from the dead and rabbits with chocolate. So naturally the answer appeared to us: zombie bunnies. Gonzi knocked it out of the park, and I present the design in its full glory:

You can follow Gonzi & Charlotte on Instagram too, she's @FancyDancyMagicPrancy and he's @Tobasco_Slinger.

This is also my entry for the June AlphaBakes challenge, hosted by Ros of More Than Occasional Baker & Caroline of Caroline Makes. What's that you say? Wasn't the last entry an AlphaBakes one? Well, yes, it was, but I'd like to get on the board earlier in the month this time, and V is a hard letter.

Music Notes:

 

Mates of State - "Son Et Lumiere" "Long Way Home", from "Crushes: The Covers Mixtape", 2010
Nouvelle Vague - "Ca Plane Pour Moi", from "3", 2009
So after I'd cleaned up the kitchen, I sent Charlotte a message asking what music she'd prefer. Seeing as she's French and all (and proper French, not 3rd-hand French Canadian like me), I suggested Nouvelle Vague, whose first two albums I have. She agreed (specifically pointing out two covers of theirs I didn't know, like "Come On Eileen" and "Ca Plane Pour Moi" (!)), but also suggested Mates of State and their Covers mixtape. I filed all this away for later.
So now it's later and I've discovered Spotify (despite some early confusion and worried about my mobile's data cap). Through looking for the Nouvelle Vague "Ca Plane Pour Moi" cover, I found that both Holly Golightly (who collaborated with the White Stripes on "It's True That We Love One Another") & the Presidents of the United States of America have also covered the song. Then I go looking for the Holly Golightly cover on iTunes, and can't find it, which is because, as I later discover, Holly Golightly originally recorded it when she was part of Thee Headcoatees (a garage rock outfit created by Billy Childish as a backing band for his group Thee Headcoats). So see? You learn things through music.
Anyhow, Nouvelle Vague (French for New Wave, which is translated into Portueguese as bossa nova. See what they did there?) is a cover band, specifically making 60s bossa nova covers of punk, new wave and post-punk songs). They use a rotating roster of singers, secifically choosing those who have not heard the original track, to give each cover a unique feel. Their take on the wild and wacky Plastic Bertrand favourite is a good one. Also, go look up the legal battles around that song. It's interesting.
And Mates of State's Crushes Mixtape? Despite their website being baffling & occasionally non-functional, I did manage to get ahold of this album. It's pretty good, you guys. At first I felt their cover of Tom Waits' Long Way Home was too poppy, but it's grown on me. Their spooky intro of the Mars Volta song "Son et Lumiere" provided the perfect accompaniment for the zombie bunnies attacking the populace.
Recipe:
Vanilla Crème Brûtäl
ingredients:
  • 300 mL double cream
  • 200 mL milk
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or the seeds of 2 vanilla beans
  • 4 tbsp of demarera sugar

 

  1. Preheat oven to 100 degrees.
  2. Separate your eggs (maybe keep the whites for an enormous meringue?) and add them to a pot along with the milk, cream and caster sugar.
  3. Set the pot on medium heat, and stir gently & continuously with a wooden spoon (don't use a whisk! It'll make bubbles and we HATE bubbles).
  4. Once the mixture is dissolved together and beginning to thicken, turn off the heat & take the pot off the burner.
  5. Get a big oven-proof dish or tray & double-up a tea-towel in the bottom. Fit 4 ramekins inside.
  6. Divide your custard equally between the ramekins, then pour boiling water into the big dish, so it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  7. Into the oven for about 35 minutes, or until just set but still wobbly in the middle. (our oven was a jerk and it took nearly 50 minutes).
  8. When set, put the whole tray in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of demarera sugar evenly on top of the custard. Use a spoon to super gently level it if you need to.
  10. Using a blowtorch (if you're awesome) or a preheated grill (if you're less so) to carmelize the sugar evenly into a crackly glazey layer. 
  11. Seize, crack in with a spoon, and consume!

 

Hey you! Yes, you!

 Are you an awesome cook?

Do you live in the Sydney area?

Do you have a blog to plug?

You too can be a guest cook on CoverVersions.TV!

 *Ahem*
I'll run the cameras, do the editing, the whole shebang.
Just drop me an email at Show@CoverVersions.TV with when you're free and what you want to do.
As some of you may have seen, I've got the next just-shy-of-two-weeks off, so happy to arrange something.