Karu Ja Hundu
Software, Electronics, Music, Cooking, Photography and all-round Geekery

Cranberry & Hazelnut Brownies

I spent all of Saturday working on my blog engine. The site now uses modal popups and AJAX. I also updated the text editor to CKEditor which has been a pleasure to work with, unlike TinyMCE which has so many strange styling issues. One such issue cost me 2 hours of troubleshooting and development time - when loaded in an AJAX call the styling uses to format the TinyMCE editor textarea cannot be changed once the textarea is rendered. I eventually just gave up trying to make TinyMCE fit my needs and decided to look around for something new. 

I'm happy with the new and improved engine. It's been optimized quite a bit and runs a bit better too which is great considering it's now running on a Raspberry Pi.

In a sort of computer detox I decided to spend Sunday cooking. I eventually decided on something sweet.

brownie

Ingredients

Method

Melt the chocolate, butter and vanilla extract together in a bain-marie and allow to cool. Next mix the eggs and caster sugar together until the mixture becomes pale in colour. Once this is done fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs. When this is done sieve in the flower, coco powder and baking powder. Lastly fold in the cranberries and hazelnuts. 

Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius for 30 to 35 min. You want the center of the brownies to be dense, almost under cooked when you take them out of the oven. During the cooling phase the brownies will finish cooking and you will be left with nice, chewy brownies.

2013-06-23 18:52:11

Potato cakes

Over the last few months I've been baking / cooking and I've decided to document two of the recipes I've been most impressed with. In this post I'm going to discuss a new favourite of mine - the potato cake.

I cook sausages and mash a lot. Partly because it's one of the quickest things I know how to cook. I suppose it's mostly down to convenience, especially after a long days work. I've had sausages and mash so many times at this stage that I'm not sure if I can even taste it any more. To remedy this I went on a hunt. I needed a new recipes that retained the same level of convenience while also providing me with a new culinary experience. The solution I realised was to simply look for a way to jazz up sausages and mash. I came across Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book 'Three Good Things ...on a plate' which contains a great recipe for potato cakes - which are in my opinion is just a fancy, circular serving of mashed potato. 

While initially potato cakes looks to be more labour intensive, the cakes can be mass produced and stored. Resulting in a stock pile of delicious cakes ready to be popped onto the frying pan to accompany anything, in my case sausages. 

Ingredients

Method

Put a little oil on a frying pan at a medium heat.

Roughly mash the potatoes in a bowl then add the cheese, thyme, salt & pepper.

Create a ball of mash in the palm of your hand and flatten into a round cake. 

Cover both sides of the cake in flower and pat to remove excess flower.

Place the cakes onto the frying pan and cook for 5 minuets on each side.

Done! 

Tip

I added a teaspoon of finly chopped shallot to the potato cake mix and found it tasted great.

2012-10-30 19:34:03

Quick Apple & Pear Tart

I was looking for something sweet to eat with a cup of coffee today but as it was raining I wasn't too keen on leaving the house. I decided to see if I could make a quick tart.

First I chopped up two apples and a pear. I then added 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of demerara sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract. Next I grease a cake tin with some butter, lined it with puff pastry (something I always have in the fridge) and  poured in the fruit mixture. Lastly I folded the over hanging pastry over the top of the tart. I baked the tart for 30 minuets and then set it aside to cool.

Easy, quick and tastey.

 Apple and Pear Tart

2012-07-16 16:27:58

A newcomer to pizza.

It's Friday and that means I have the time to cook something new!I always wanted to try my hand at making Pizza so, seeing as today is a day for new things I've decided to go for it.

I always had this idea that making white bread dough was a difficult and tyring ordeal - I couldn't have been more wrong. This recipe makes three medium sized pizzas.

Home made pizza

Ingredients

Pizza Dough

Toppings

Sauce

 

Method

Dough: Add the yeast, water, sugar and olive oil together in a mixing bowl. While the yeast is 'activating' mix your dry ingredients together. Next, gradually add the yeast solution to your dry ingredients and combine using your finger tips. Flower your work surface and begin to kneed the dough for about 10 minuets. Once the dough has formed a firm ball place it in a container and leave aside for approximately 60 minuets - until it has risen. Once risen, remove from container and knock back the dough for a further 10 minuets. Separate the dough into three equally sized balls. Done!

Sauce: While the dough is rising make your sauce. Add the tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and pepper to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Place this mixture into a sieve and allow to drain for a few minuets.

The Pizza: Roll out a ball of dough and cover in sauce. Next add your desired toppings and bake for 15 minuets at 200 degrees Celsius. Enjoy!

Tips

Make sure you leave your sauce to strain for at least 20 minuets before using it otherwise the pizza base will be soggy.

2012-05-11 17:04:04

Grilled chicken breast on ciabatta serverd with roast veg and salad

I was starving coming home from work today and didn't really fancy a salad, so I decided to make this open sandwich.

Chicken  

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chicken breast
  • 2 Coves of garlic
  • A Few cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of sun flower seeds
  • 2 Medium sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 Small radishes
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • 1 Carrot
  • 4 Baby potatoes
  • 1/4 Butternut squash
  • 1/4 Onion
  • Ciabatta

Method:

Boiled the chicken and potatoes for 12 minuets and then cut into peaces. 

Cut the butternut squash into 1 and 1/2 inch chips and cut the carrot into eclipse. Next dice the garlic and slice the onion into pieces big enough to remain recognisable after they are cooked - we don't want them to burn.

Place the chicken, potatoes, butternut squash chips and carrots onto a baking tray; cover in olive oil. Next sprinkle the chopped garlic over then chicken and grill for 10 / 15 minuets on a high heat.

A few minuets from the end, cut the ciabatta bread in half and drizzle with olive oil. Place the two halves under the grill and cook for approx. 3 minuets. 

While the chicken is cooking I suggest you make the salad. Puree the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a food processor. Combine this mixture to our cherry tomatoes, radishes, sun flower seeds and Iceberg lettuce.

Once cooked, immediately place the ciabatta halves onto a plate, place a generously amount of salad onto each and top with the onions, butternut squash chips, carrots, baby potatoes pieces and chicken.  

Tips:

Don't make the salad too early or the lettuce leaves will go soggy.

2012-05-02 22:25:09

Brown Bread

I really like this brown bread. I make it at the start of the week and it usually lasts until Saturday.It's simple to make and tastes really good.

Ingredients

Method

Simply mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add about half the butter milk. Using your finger tips, bring the dry and wet ingredients together. Slowly add more milk until the mixture has come together without allowing it to get sticky.

Place the mixture onto a flowered baking tray and add to a preheated oven at 230 Degrees Celsius. After 10 minutes bring the temperature down to 200 Degrees Celsius for a further 30 minutes.

Tip

If you are unsure if the loaf is ready tap the underside of the loaf, if it sounds hollow it's done.

Make sure the oven is hot before you start.

 

2012-04-15 21:40:01

Carrot Cake!

I love Sundays, this is probably due to the fact that I get loads done. The apartment is clean, the laundry is hung, I've done my iOS study and managed to cram in a chapter of 'The rules of the road'. I like to bake on Sundays too, today I'm making carrot cake - my favorite. So, lets get started.

 

Ingredients

Cake

Cream Cheese Icing

 

Method

First set the oven to 150 degrees Celsius so its at the right temperature when you add your cake. Combine the wet ingredients into a bowl (I like to use a large aluminum bowl) and then gradually add the dry ingredients; Simple!

Place this into a loaf tin and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

I like to make the frosting the day before so that I can refrigerate it. I'm starting to get better but I find my frosting is always a tad bit too runny. By refrigerating the frosting it becomes thicker and easier to spread onto the cake. 

Slowly combine the cream cheese and butter with a fork, now add vanilla. Add 1/2 of the icing sugar and bring the mixture together. You need to use your judgment here, you may not need to add the rest of the icing sugar. slowly add it untill the mixture is suitably sweet. Warning: add too much and the frosting will become overly runny.
 

Tips

 

2012-04-15 13:12:02

An alternative to salad vinaigrette

While I'm still quiet fond of the vinaigrette I posted earlier, my partner has already grown tired of it. His complaint was that the vinaigrette was 'too oily' and 'too sharp', considering that those two qualities sum up vinaigrette's in general I decided to try make something that would still complement the sweetness of our lunch time fruit salads while also appeasing his sweet tooth.

I mixed a half a cup of natural yogurt with 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of honey. I then added a pinch of ground black pepper to give it a little kick. 

Partner happy, job done.

Ingredients

2012-04-09 14:17:45

Baking Muffins

I tried my hand at baking muffins - they looked good, tasted way too sweet. Next time I'll use a lot less sugar. Oh and I got the muffin tray in TKMax for €8! 

2012-04-09 00:13:11

$dinner->chicken_salad();

Dinner, my first opportunity to cook meat in three days. As I mentioned earlier I've joined my partner in a plain, non-processed food diet. A part of a non-processed food diet involves choosing foods that have the littles amount of cooking applied to them. So, with this in mind should you fry, grill or blanch meat? Apparently grilling and blanching are both good options - blanching from my experience produces more satisfying results.

Dinner tonight was a chicken salad. I blanched the chicken by boiling some salted water and adding the chicken once the water starts to boil. I added the large breast of chicken first and after two minuets I added the other two small pieces. In total the cooking time was 12 minuets. After blanching the chicken I then submerged the breasts into ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

I prepared a salad of;

The dressing was fairly simple;

Mix it all together and server, simple :)

2012-04-08 21:43:23

No more processed foods!

The other day I was informed that my partner has a stomach ulcer and as a result he has to avoid processed foods. To make it easier on him I decided I would follow suit, besides it would make cooking dinner a much simpler affair.

Initially this sounded fairly simple but after a few minutes discussion on the topic we both realised neither of us knew much about what exactly defined non-processed food.

It turns out that doing anything to your food counts as a process of some sort, the trick is to identify how much has been done to the food you want to eat. If it has been boiled, preserved and canned, spiced and microwaved before you even eat it, that's a good indicator that you should probably avoid it. So, with that in mind, this means things straight from the ground are ideal.

Things to avoid

Things to eat

Things we've learned so far.

To consume enough calories a day when you're only eating non-processed foods costs significantly more than a standard diet. All those nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables and fruits cost a lot - €40 more on our shopping bill in fact. Hopfully we won't have to buy this lot every week.

 

2012-04-08 18:49:13

New to salad

I don't know much about salad but what I do know is they can be very, very bland. To remedy this I decided to try make a vinaigrette.

This is the one I made and I think it's pretty good.

I find you should add the olive oil in slowely, tasting the vinaigrette untill it suites your palette. 

2012-04-08 18:48:46