Friday, 11 August 2017

Banoffee Upside Down Cake


All things banoffee are always a delicious. Well, that's my understanding anyway. This banoffee upside down cake is by no means an exception.

With gooey, sticky, toffee coating infused into bananas, it's something not to miss. With the addition of some walnuts for a welcomed crunch, it brings this cake together. You'll also be happy to know your likely to get some delicious random pockets of toffee appear throughout for an extra surprise.

This cake makes a nice change from the usual banana loaves you'd find, so if you're looking for something a little different, this sweet treat recipe is for you.

Recipe 

Ingredients:                                                                                                                          (Serves 8)

Topping
70g soft dark brown sugar
35g butter
1 1/2 bananas, cut into 2cm slices

Cake
60g butter
100g sugar
1 egg
170g self raising flour
200g banana, peeled weight, mashed
80g walnuts, broken into pieces
Milk to consistency

Method:
  • For the topping, melt the butter and sugar together in a pan. Stir till combined and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Pour into a lined 18-20cm tin. Quickly place the banana slices on as you wish before the toffee sets.
  • For the cake, beat together the butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the egg, beat until combined. 
  • Add the sifted flour and stir until you form a smooth cake batter. 
  • Add the mashed banana and broken walnuts. Fold everything thoroughly together. 
  • If the cake mix is too stiff, add some milk until a soft consistency. 
  • Smooth over the topping in the tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Once cooked leave to cool for 10 minutes before flipping and removing from the tin. 
  • Serve with lovely banoffee cake with a generous scoop of ice cream.


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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Pineapple Iced Tea With Pearls


A road trip to Taichung at the weekend was enough to jog my memory about tapioca pearls. Taichung is the birth place of the bubble tea with pearls. There's a bubble tea shop on virtually every corner.

For those of you who remember my post of, homemade bubble tea with boba, you may remember I mentioned there's a second way of making the tapioca pearls (boba). In this recipe I decide it would be a great opportunity to share it with you. These may the a little more labour intensive and time consuming but it's worth it. Finding tapioca pearls is not the easiest task, tapioca starch on the other hand, certainly is. From start to finish the pearls shouldn't take any longer than 25 minutes.

Pineapple iced tea is great! Whether you are using regular tea, a good quality black tea or even green tea you can enjoy this. The natural sweetness from the pineapple helps this drink a lot, especially letting it have a little brew with the tea before cooling.

For more great recipe to use up any leftover pineapple, check these out.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                               (Serves 4)

Tapioca pearls
50g tapioca starch
15-25ml boiling water
50g soft brown sugar

Iced Tea
500ml boiling water
3-4 black tea bags
100g fresh pineapple, finely diced
Ice cubes

Method:

  • Sift the tapioca starch into a mixing bowl. Add the boiling water gradually (crucial it's boiling or the texture will be very different). Mix well until you can form a smooth firm ball. The water can vary so be sure to add slowly to avoid a soggy mess.
  • Roll the ball into a long cylinder, approximately 6-9mm thick.
  • Cut the cylinder into small pieces to make the balls.
  • Roll the balls one by one to make them spherical.
  • In a pan of boiling water add the brown sugar. Once dissolved, add the tapioca balls.
  • Cook the pearls for 10 minutes to start, check to see if they are ready by lifting a couple from the water and look for a soft texture and lots of bubbles in the pearls.
  • Leave them to cool into the now formed sugar syrup. 
  • For the tea, let the tea bags brew in the water. Whilst brewing chop the pineapple into a small dice. 
  • Add the pineapple to the brewing tea. Once brewed remove the bags. 
  • Add a good handful of ice and shake through the tea. 
  • Place some tapioca pearls, along with some syrup to sweeten the tea into the bottom of a glass. Add the iced tea, be sure to check there's lots of pineapple in there. Lastly top with extra ice and serve. 


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Friday, 4 August 2017

Lemon Curd & Chocolate Shortbread Bars


It's rare to find excess chocolate in this household, but when we had some the other week I had to make something new with it. Combining it with lemon was unexpected, but well worth it.

The key these bars being so good is how crumbly and delicate the shortbread is. The addition of cream and an egg yolk is truly noticeable. If, however, you don't have them to hand, the recipe will still work very well. This chocolate shortbread is most definitely moreish just on its own - with a wonderful zing from the lemon curd, it is transformed. You get this light, easy to eat bar, with a real chocolatey taste before a fresh taste of lemon freshens your taste buds.

You'll be having a bite of these bars in no time with this recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients:

Shortbread
110g butter
60g sugar
1 tbsp cream
1 small egg yolk
110g plain flour
20g cocoa powder

Lemon curd
1 whole egg
3 medium egg yolks (70g)
3 lemons, zested and juiced
170g caster sugar
85g butter

Method:
  • For the shortbread, mix all the shortbread ingredients together until combined and comes together in a ball.
  • Press into a lined 18cm/18cm tin. Bake at 160°C for 15-18 minutes. 
  • Whilst the shortbread bakes it's time to make the lemon curd. 
  • For the curd, whisk together the egg, the egg yolks and the sugar. Add the lemon zest and juice, followed by the butter. 
  • Whisk over a bain marie. Constantly moving the mixture from the edges to ensure even cooking. You will notice it thickening, wait until it starts to leave a trail and remove from the heat. 
  • Pass the curd through a sieve to remove any zest or pips. Leave to one side. 
  • Remove the shortbread from the oven. Pour over the lemon curd whilst hot, then smooth out. 
  • Bake once again for 5-8 minutes until fully set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. 
  • Once cool trim the edges and portion. 
  • Top with a dredging of icing sugar before serving. 


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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Prawn & Corn Dumplings


I took advantage of the free time this weekend due to a possible typhoon hitting the area and unpleasant weather to make some prawn and corn dumplings and play about with shapes.

Making your own dumplings at home is very straight forward. Whether you make your own skins or head to the shop for some, they are something the whole family can do. When it comes to the shapes you can be as creative as you please. With there being almost endless possibilities, just like pasta, feel free to experiment. If you do have open face ones, steam them instead of boiling.

Corn and prawn is a lovely combination and depending on your location, corn may be in season right now. I've gone for baby corn, however, regular corn would also work just as well. These dumplings have a great crunch from the corn with the meatiness of the prawns holding everything together amongst all these fresh flavours.

For another dumpling recipe to try out, these gyozas (pan stickers) are a superb dinner or lunch.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                      (Makes approx. 18 size dependent)

Dumpling skins
150g strong bread flour
Pinch of salt
100ml boiling water

Filling
200g baby prawns
2 garlic cloves, pureed or finely chopped
1 whole medium sized fresh chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh pureed/ finely grated ginger
1/4 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
4 large baby corns, finely chopped
4 large Chinese leaves of your choice, chopped small

Method:
  • Start by making the dumpling skins. If using store bought, head straight to the filling.
  • Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and incorporate with either chopsticks or a spoon. (Don't add all the water in one go as it may not all be required).
  • Make a ball with the dough, cover with cling-film and leave to rest for 30 - 45 minutes.
  • For the filling. Chop the prawns until they are around 5mm dice. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander. Give it a good mix before seasoning with salt and pepper. 
  • Add the chopped baby corn and Chinese leaf. Leave in the fridge until the skins are ready. 
  • Roll the dough into a cylinder and cut 18 even sized pieces. Roll the individual dough pieces on a floured surface until a thin as you can possibly get it. Normally around 10cm diameter. 
  • Place a tablespoon of filling into the centre of the skin. Wipe a little cold water all around the edge of the skin and shape into the dumpling shape of choice. 
  • Repeat for all skins. Once made keep in the refrigerator or cook straight away. 
  • Cook in either salted boiling water, stock or even the soup you may be serving with. Remember these can also be steamed. 
  • Cook for around 5-6 minutes. Remove from the water or cooking liqueur if not being served as a soup and serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. I recommend a good sweet chilli sauce or a blend of soy sauce, little rice wine vinegar and some chilli oil. 

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