All posts by A_Boleyn

About A_Boleyn

Having come late to the kitchen, other than in an eating capacity, each new recipe I try is an exciting opportunity to enjoy the original and then make it my own.

Carbs are Comfort

Sometimes thoughts come to mind that make you go hmmm…..

In our world of low-carb/no carb diets, suddenly there’s a shortage of bread, flour/yeast and people who wouldn’t have thought of EATING bread in the past, let alone BAKING it, are learning how. Even sourdough.

What a topsy-turvy world we live in, in the days of Covid-19.

Salisbury Steak a la Graham

When you make a recipe within a day of it being posted on a blog and love it enough to share the link, it must be a pretty good recipe.

And it IS.

I didn’t use any Kitchen Bouquet cause I didn’t have any but it’s just a matter of aesthetics anyway. Everything else is (mostly) the same. You might want to make three patties not two, unless you’re a very hearty eater.

 

REVIEW: Make it as soon as you can. You probably already have all the ingredients on hand. A few fresh mushrooms are a nice touch. I had some white button mushrooms so I diced a couple and added them to the Salisbury steak meat mixture. And a couple more to the mushroom-onion gravy. By the way, you’ll have a LOT of gravy. Enjoy it.

 

Japanese Chicken Curry with Roux from Scratch

Chicken curry (kare) is quite popular in Japan and most households apparently purchase the ready made packages of roux instead of making it from scratch. Over the years, I’ve made Japanese curry several times, always using the boxed roux cubes. However, as I looked at the box of Glico Curry ($2.29 CDN) in my pantry recently, I had a though … how hard can it be to make my own?

So I gave it a try.

I used the recipe for roux found here and ended up with about 120 gm of roux. I was debating on whether to use all, half or one third of the roux for the small amount of chicken curry that I was going to make. In the end, I decided to use half, or 60 gm, of the roux I made and freeze the rest.

Japanese Curry Roux from Scratch

Japanese Chicken Curry

Japanese Chicken Curry – serves 3-4

<1/2 lb/200 gm chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into roughly triangular pieces
1 medium onion, half finely diced and the other half sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups chicken stock
salt, to taste (start with 1/2 tsp)
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper *
1 tsp honey
1/4 cup/60 gm curry roux**
1/4 cup frozen peas
water, as needed

* Start with the smaller amount of cayenne pepper, the larger amount makes it HOT.
** The roux is made with unsalted butter so all the salt in the dish is added here.

In a medium sized saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the finely diced onions. Saute the onions until they start getting golden brown around the edges. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the chicken and saute until no longer pink and starting to get browned.

Add the minced garlic, carrots and the potatoes and saute for 3-5 min until the potatoes begin to get tender. Add the salt, sliced onions and chicken stock. When the stock comes to a boil, cover and turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for another 10-15 minutes until you can pass a fork through the carrots and potatoes and the meat is tender.

Break up the roux into small pieces and add to the stock, stirring to dissolve. (NOTE: If you didn’t add any cayenne pepper to the roux and decide you want it a bit spicy, add the lower amount of cayenne pepper and stir through.)

Add the honey and stir well to mix through. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more salt if needed. You may also add more cayenne pepper.

Add the frozen peas. The heat will be enough to thaw and warm them through.

Your curry will gradually thicken while cooking. If you decide it’s too thick, add water as needed to dilute. Remember if will thicken even more on sitting.

Serve chicken curry over rice or noodles.

Cranberry-Orange Duo

I hadn’t planned on doing any Christmas baking because I still had a mini pumpkin pie in the freezer from Thanksgiving. Then, I changed my mind, because it was Christmas, after all.

So I went rooting around my pantry and freezer to see what I could find.

In the freezer, I found a half package of cranberries, left over from making a half batch of cranberry sauce, so I made a fast and easy cranberry loaf.

Cranberry-Orange Quick Bread – makes 1 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan

Cranberry Preparation

~1 1/2 cups/170 gm frozen cranberries, partially thawed and cut in half
1 tsp flour

Dry Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, large
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly oil or butter the loaf pan. (See NOTE below.)

Toss the cranberries with the flour and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.

Stir the web ingredients into the dry ingredients just until mixed. Gently fold in the cranberries. Pour the batter into your loaf pan.

Bake for 45 min to an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out cleanly.

Cool in pan set onto wire cooling rack, to room temperature then slice and serve.

NOTE: My loaf pans are bigger than this so I used a disposable aluminum loaf pan, filled about half way. The excess batter was baked in the wells of a medium sized muffin tin. Both the loaf pan and 3-4 of the muffin tin wells were oiled lightly. The loaf pan took about 55 min to bake while the muffins took 20-25 min.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

There were dried cranberries in a jar in the pantry so I used them to make cranberry-orange short-bread cookies.

I was going to be fancy and dip part of the short-breads in chocolate but after tasting the short-breads plain, I decided they didn’t need any embellishment.

Cranberry-Orange Short-breads

Cranberry-Orange Short-breads – makes 28 1 inch wide x 2 1/4 inch long x 1/2 inch thick bars.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 cup/ 227 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup icing or powdered sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
castor sugar, optional

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Add the chopped cranberries and toss through to coat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, icing sugar, vanilla and almond (if using) extract, and orange zest, with a hand mixer.

Add the flour/cranberry mixture to the butter mixture and beat at a low speed with the hand mixer until well incorporated, 3-5 min, and then give it another minute or two at a higher speed until it holds together into a ball.

Divide the dough into two even parts. Pat each portion into a 7 inch by 4 1/2 inch rectangle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut each section into 14 x 1 inch wide x 2 1/4 inch long x 1/2 inch thick bars. Alternatively, roll each section of dough into a one inch diameter log, about 7 inch long, wrap with plastic food wrap and refrigerate until firm. Cut into half inch coins.

Bake at 325 deg F/160 deg C for approximately 30 minutes, or until dry and firm but still pale.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack until cool. Serve.

Three Kings Cake … with Repurposed Filling

They know how to party in New Orleans, especially before the forty days of Lent when Christians are supposed to fast or give up something they like. Mardi Gras is the name for the time period before Lent … a joyous carnival like atmosphere of parades and indulgence.

And, in New Orleans, King Cake or Three Kings Cake is the personification of that joyous occasion in pastry form.

There are a number of variations in terms of whether there’s a filling or whether it’s braided, but decorating the finished cake with the colours purple, gold and green is traditional in the southern regions of the United States.

For Christmas I made a sweet Boursin cheese spread flavoured with dried cranberries and orange zest. It was tasty, but other than a single rather skimpy smear on my Christmas bread wreath, it’s been lingering in my fridge. So when I was deciding on a filling for my Mardis Gras style (Three) Kings Cake during the Epiphany, I repurposed my sweet Boursin. I thought it needed some additional texture and substance, so I chopped up about half to three-quarters of a cup of sliced almonds and sprinkled it over the Boursin.

The resulting cake, using this recipe, was tender and delicious, though my decoration fell short of my expectations. It needed a lot more glaze. Double or even quadruple, I think.

The filling was an unqualified success.

Cranberry-Orange Spice Boursin – makes about 3/4 cup of spread

1/2 pkg cream cheese, room temp
1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1-1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp orange zest

Cream together the cream cheese, butter and salt using a hand blender. Stir in the cranberries, black pepper and orange zest. Pack into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate so that the flavours will marry. Remove from the fridge 1 or 2 hrs before serving so that the Boursin will be soft enough to spread.

Brazilian Bonbons (Coconut Brigadeiros) for Christmas

The gifted chef and baker who runs the food blog, Bewitching Kitchen, which I follow closely, was recently a contestant on The Great American Baking Show. On the dessert show, she decorated her cake with brigadeiros, Brazil’s most popular and well-known bonbons. After having seen them on her blog in the past, I was finally inspired to try making them myself.

The coconut brigadeiros recipe used was chosen because I actually had all the ingredients in my pantry.

I decorated some with shredded sweetened coconut and the rest with some Christmas themed sprinkles or shot.

REVIEW: Simple and tasty recipe. And there are several variations on the blog that you can try out.

Fruity Fruit Adventure … Persimmons

I’ve gotten more adventurous in trying out new fruits as I’ve gotten older.

Not DURIAN level adventurous, but persimmons are pretty adventurous for someone whose teens were limited to eating apples, pears, oranges … and grapes.

Persimmons are fairly innocuous in appearance even though the one I bought, a Fuyu persimmon, bears an uncanny resemblance to my deadly foe, the tomato. An orange tomato, but still, it’s a TOMATO. If you want to know how to process this fruit for eating, check out this Youtube video.

I was going to try and eat it out of hand, after peeling and cutting it in wedges, but the brief taste left me singularly unimpressed. It actually smelled great, very floral, but the taste was kind of … meh! Bland and just barely sweet. Not sour. I wouldn’t have minded a bit of tang. Just boring. I didn’t spend a LOT of money for this pretty sizeable fruit ($1.69 CDN for a 237 gm beauty) but I didn’t want to turn it into as smoothie or just pitch it.

So I did some net-surfing.

And the result was a persimmon puree gelee. I used some of the gelee to top a basic vanilla panna cotta. The rest of the gelee was allowed to set by itself in a pretty glass and garnished with freshly whipped sweetened whipped cream. The gelee was tastier than eating the fruit plain, after adding some sugar and lemon juice to give it a bit more flavour, but as a topping for the panna cotta, it wasn’t bad at all. Would I buy it again? Probably not. There are a lot more fruits out there to try.

PS: I ‘borrowed’ the fruity fruit part of the title of this post from the “emmymadeinjapan” Youtube channel playlist, Fruity Fruits.

Pasta Al Limone (Lemon Pasta)

Today’s supper came to the top of the posting queue because it’s an amazing combination of two simply prepared dishes, a main and a pasta side, and a green salad of your choice.

I’ve made pan fried breaded chicken cutlets before so that wasn’t a big deal. It was the pasta dish that took it over the top.

The recipe came from this Youtube video but the ‘bones’ of the recipe are very simple: whipping cream, the zest of one lemon and a tablespoon of butter. Simmer together for a few minutes in a large saute pan until the sauce reduces a bit, add some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and your freshly cooked pasta, stir it together tasting for seasoning (salt and pepper) and then serve with some more grated cheese on top. The recipe suggests adding some lemon juice as well, but, in my opinion, it didn’t need any. If you have a fetish for something green for a garnish, sprinkled some freshly chopped parsley over the top.

And gobble it down before it gets too cool.

Forget taking pictures for your blog.

FORGET it, I tell you!

Sós Kifli or Salted ‘Croissants’

My first post of the new year is, fittingly, a bread recipe.

Creamy eggs and salted croissants make for a perfect breakfast

Just before Christmas my brother was in my neighbourhood and stopped in at a nearby European style bakery. And then he dropped off four of these bread rolls shaped into crescents and sprinkled with caraway seeds and coarse salt. And a bag of chocolate bonbons filled with cherries and liqueur. I ate three of the bread rolls the same day but the chocolates lasted until after New Year.

Recently, I saw someone had posted a picture of a similar type of bread rolls, on my Hungarian Facebook group. To make a long story short, I got the recipe, originally posted in Hungarian, and translated by a second party, and made them yesterday. A similar recipe can be found here though I used 2 tsp of dry instant yeast, rather than fresh, in my bake.

Shaping the croissants … a pizza wheel is the best way to make the clean cuts for making the dough wedges. The dough (652 gm) was rolled out into an 18″ circle.

Baked at 400 deg F for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven’s foibles.

Fluffy interior of the croissants