Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ham, Leek and Cheddar Quiche

According to the author, "Quiche is one of the most versatile dishes you can make. It can be varied with the seasons; accomodate a spectrum of cheeses, vegetables, and meats; and be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This is one of my all-time favourite quiche combinations."

Quiche is a favourite in my house, and I have made many versions of quiches, with different meats and vegetables. When I saw the photo of this recipe in the book, I knew that I will have to give this a try sooner or later! I like how the long slices of leeks arranged over the top, sprinkled with cheese and bake to a golden delicious colour.

Long slices of leeks sauteed in butter, is arranged on top of the filling.

The crust is pretty easy to handle. I've used a rectangular tart pan with dimensions 8x12-inch. The flaky pie dough in the recipe is for a single 9" round crust. So I have made one and a half recipe for both the dough and the filling to fit my pan. Follow the usual steps for making the crust dough as instructed in the recipe, and the steps for blind-bake.

The filling is made by sauteing the sliced leeks until wilted and the diced ham is added in. An extra leek is sliced lengthwise and then saute in butter until wilted. In a large glass measuring jug, whisk the eggs, milk, sour cream, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Scatter the leek and ham mixture onto the prepared crust, pour in the milk mixture, then arrange the long leek slices, followed with the sprinkling of cheese over the top. I have used Cheddar cheese as Gruyere cheese is not easy to find over here. Bake for about 30 minutes until the top is golden.

Sprinkle some Cheddar cheese over the top. 

 Freshly baked and smells good!

Delicious quiche! Really nice when eaten warm, with a few slices of cucumbers and tomatoes. This would be great for lunch and even dinner with some other side salad. Just as the author says, it is the most versatile dish, for any meal of the day.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake

I made this boozy moist chocolaty cake, Chocolate-Bourbon Bundt Cake, for Father's Day. Another fabulous recipe from my selected cookbook for this month, at Cookbook Countdown #6Williams-Sonoma : Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw.

Made only half a recipe and used my half-sized bundt pan with a 6-cup capacity. I've reduced the sugar slightly, using scant 3/4 cup and for the bourbon, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon. For half a recipe, I've baked the cake for 35 minutes.

As for the glaze, I find that when left to room temperature (as instructed in the recipe), it has thickened considerably and quite impossible to pour over the cake. I have therefore stirred in more cream, a little cream at a time, until I get the consistency I want.

This cake is delicious. It is moist, chocolaty bitter, though in a delicious way. And I can definitely taste the bourbon in it, very, very nice! Top with the chocolate glaze, this makes a wonderful cake for any celebration, though, with the amount of bourbon used, definitely not for young kids! Served with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, this is a divine dessert treat! As with cakes like this, the taste gets even better the next day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Coconut and Lime Shortbread

My next bake : Coconut and Lime Shortbread

Firstly, I've got to say that this is one of the best shortbreads, ever! According to the author, "A good shortbread cookie should be buttery and tender, crumbly and toothsome". And these are exactly that! 

The dough is easy to put together, only thing is do not overknead. It is then refrigerated for about 30 minutes. Once the dough is taken out from the refrigerator, work quickly as it softens rather fast. If it is too soft to handle, refrigerate the dough again before proceeding. Sliced to size, prick with a fork and scatter some sugar over the top. Bake until golden at the edges about, 22 minutes.  

There's lightly toasted shredded coconut and zest of a lime in the dough. And while the shortbread are baking, they smell delicious!

Buttery, tender, crispy, crumbly and so, so good! I've enjoyed snacking these Coconut and Lime Shortbread with a mug of hot black coffee. Another keeper recipe from this fabulous book! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mini Chocolate Chip-Almond Muffins

These little muffins are so easy peasy to make. I made them on the spur of the moment when I felt like baking something. Recipe uses cold butter straight from the refrigerator, cut into chunks and beat with almond meal and sugar till creamy and the rest of the ingredients are added in accordingly. I have used ready bought almond meal for the batter instead of using sliced almonds which is to be processed in the food processor with the sugar until finely ground. If you can get hold of almond meal, makes it much easier. I've added the zest from one orange as per suggested in the recipe for variation, but did not sprinkle on the flaked almonds.

Recipes says that it will yield about 3 dozen, but I got about 84 mini muffins! It was a good thing I had 4 sets of 24-hole mini muffin pans!

These were baked for 11 minutes and they rise with little humps on top and looks very cute in little red cups.

It was suggested in the recipe to serve these muffins warm. While they were very good when freshly baked and warm, we find that they tasted even better the next day. Very addictive, we find it is hard to stop at just 2 or 3. These were moist, soft and so yummy! Perfect with a glass of cold milk, hot coffee, cocoa or tea, take your pick! This is a keeper!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Good, Honest Sandwich Bread

I'm using one of my favourite baking books for Cookbook Countdown #6 this month, Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw. She has a few bread recipes in the book, and I wished that she had more! This is the third bread recipe I've tried and so far I like them all, especially the soft and fluffy Cranberry Bread which I've made before. 

I like how she called this bread, "A Good, Honest Sandwich Bread". While I was making this bread, with the book opened on this recipe page, my son took a peek to see what bread I was making, and he had a good laugh at the name of the bread, as he thought it was funny calling a bread "honest"! But just as the author said, this is really "A Good, Honest Sandwich Bread"! 

The recipe makes 2 loaves, but I've made only half a recipe for one loaf. I've replaced both the flours in the recipe with bread flour. This is an easy, straight forward bread to make, nothing fussy about it. The dough is easy to work with. 

This bread, as the author describes, "is both moist and lightly dense and is superb for anything from turkey or grilled cheese sandwiches to cinnamon toast and eggy French toast".  I agree, this is a very nice bread, with light dense crumbs, yet soft in texture. I ate a piece on its own as it is quite tasty! We had it for breakfast with some tuna spread, and a mug of hot coffee.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Oatmeal Jammy Bars

I've made Oatmeal Jammy Bars, because I wanted to use up my opened jars of jam which are cluttering my refrigerator. I was looking for recipes to use up all that jam, and found this simple, easy bar snack that can be made in a jiffy, though the baking takes about 40 minutes. 

The base and topping is the same, an oat mixture using rolled oats, flour, butter, brown sugar, orange zest, ground cinnamon and vanilla extract. The oat mixture is a little crumbly and a little dry, but according to the author, it is supposed to be like that, and it will work out fine. Press about two thirds of the crumbly oat mixture to the bottom of the pan, and it does work out fine after all! The mixture sort of bind together even though they are very crumbly. 

For the filling on top, I have used opened jars of jam which I wanted to clear. I've used raspberry jam, apricot jam and my homemade orange jelly which I've made a while back and they have set rather thick, so it is perfect for bakes like this. Spread the jam over the oat mixture evenly, then scatter the top with the remaining oat mixture. I press the oat mixture lightly into the jam. Bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and the jam are bubbling.

What a relief that these are gone, in a delicious way, of course!

Cut into bars or slices to serve.

Oatmeal Jammy Bars with  three different jam fillings, raspberry jam at the bottom slice, apricot jam in the centre slice and my homemade orange jelly right on top.

Makes quite a nice bar to snack on with a cup of warm tea. The oat mixture crust is very chewy from the oats, and it smells really "cinnamony-vanilla" nice.

Oatmeal Jammy Bars
(adapted from "Home Baked Comfort", Kim Laidlaw)
Makes about 18 bars
1-2/3 cups (8-1/2 oz/265gm) all-purpose flour
1 cup (7oz/220gm) firmly packed light brown sugar (I use 120gm)
1/2 tsp kosher salt (scant 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 1 small orange
3/4 cup (6oz/185gm) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1-2/3 cups (5oz/155gm) old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/2 cups (15oz/470gm) of  your favourite jam, such as apricot, raspberry or a mixture

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F (180C). Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33cm) baking dish.
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest, and butter. Pulse until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the oats and pulse a few times to mix. Press about two-thirds of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. The dough will be super crumbly, and you might wonder if it will ever bake together, but press it down firmly so it all squishes together. I assure you that it will work. Spread the jam evenly over the top, then sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the pan.
Bake until the top is golden brown and you can see the jam bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the dish, then cut into bars.