Regular readers of this recipe rolodex may be quite surprised to learn that I’ve never made my own mayonnaise. One more reading of Nigel Slater’s Appetitenagged at me to do so, so I did. I was wary of the whole splitting thing but luckily did not encounter any of the emulsion demons. I gathered about half a dozen different recipes and picked and choosed my favourite parts of all of them. How many eggs? Which oil? To lemon or not to lemon? What I ended up with was very tasty (and perfect for the roast chicken baguette I paired it with) but a touch harsh on the extra virgin olive oil. My next will definitely get less olive oil and a little more grapeseed oil.
2 egg yolks
½ teaspoon English mustard
100ml grapeseed oil
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Your strongest wrist
- Give the yolks and mustard a few beats with a pinch of salt to begin firming everything up. Add the grapeseed oil a drip at a time, whisking vigorously – don’t stop. After about half of it’s gone in, you can move to a trickle.
- Once the grapeseed oil is gone add the olive oil and continue to whisk. You may not need all the olive oil, check the consistency as you go.
- Once it reaches the desired, thickened, wobbly consistency check for seasoning. A little lemon juice for acidity is also welcome here.
Now this is more like it. After last week’s misfire, this Victoria sponge was extremely satisfying. Light and crumby, with rich cream and tart jam, we’re heading in the right direction. There’s still some improvement to be had in the texture, so that’s my next area to work on.
Baking is a very different area for me; I’m so used to the ‘slap dash’ nature of most savoury cooking. You know – taste this, dash of that, more of t’other – but baking requires that chemistry, that alchemy that a well-risen sponge demands. I’m very up for it, and keen to understand what each part of the mix brings to the final cake.
175g caster sugar
175g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few drops vanilla essence
50g icing sugar
Sifted icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C°. Line and grease two 20cm baking tins.
- Combine the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder and vanilla in a freestanding mixer with a pinch of salt and blend to a smooth batter.
- Pour into the sandwich tins and bake for 20 mins or until the batter has risen and springs back to the touch. Remove to a cooling rack.
- Beat together the icing sugar and butter to a smooth cream – you may need a splash of milk to let it down. Spread one of the cakes with jam, the other with the buttercream and sandwich together. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
I am an RSS addict. When bookmarking first appeared the idea was sound but I knew I would never actually revisit that site to read it again. Then RSS became popular and lazy forgetful types like me were able to not bother hitting F5 again. I’m a subscriber to the very American Epicurious.com, and there’s often very interesting articles in there. This recipe flew in this week and I was interested straight away. Chicken and cheese? Ta.
I made it according to the recipe below, but couldn’t help feeling it was missing something. There’s too much onion for the chicken – it becomes acidic – and there’s one big flavour lacking. Perhaps paprika, but definitely more parmesan. I’d do it again, but with tweaks.
Original recipe found at Epicurious.com.
Cakes and baking isn’t really my thing. I don’t know why, but batter rarely sets, sponge goes leathery and it ends up being a fantastic waste of time. Well, not this year. I will become Ace of Cakes.
Attempt #1 this year is true to form. I blindly followed an Olive magazine recipe, much to my peril. When I was assembling it I knew something was wrong but couldn’t put my finger on it. Out came two dry, flat cakes of sponge, bland and weird. My wife quite astutely spotted it: no raising agent. I double-checked the recipe and I followed it perfectly. Plain flour, beaten egg yolks and sugar. That was it. The maddening thing is, I’ve seen this recipe printed more than once, and I’m certain there were no differences.
That aside, the icing was pretty great – but then melting chocolate and butter together is hardly going to result in a disaster, is it?!
Attempt #2 follows soon – watch this space.
griddled tori masala
To accompany the mega-rich butter chicken, I wanted a veg-based accompaniment. I was in the mood for courgette so Googled Indian-influenced courgette recipes. Disappointingly there was hardly anything out there; it’s not a particularly Indian ingredient and the only recipe that seemed to crop up was one for “courgette with peas and tomato” which was moving away from the side-dish I was after. There was nothing left but to get creative. I thought about how I would prepare a courgette, and thinly sliced and griddled is one of my favourite. By adding a curry-flavoured oil I was pretty much there. I was really pleased with how they turned out and will stick them out front for another Indian meal some time.
Griddled tori masala:
2 courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways
100ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 cloves garlic, grated
- Combine the oil with the garam masala and garlic and heat in a pan over a low heat. Once the garlic pieces start to fizz and bubble, turn the heat off and allow it to infuse the oil for 15 minutes.
- Preheat a griddle to very hot. Brush one side of the courgettes with the oil and griddle the courgette oil-side down.
- After a couple of minutes peek underneath. If the char-marks are starting to appear, brush the raw side and slip them over.
- When griddled on both sides, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt and pepper.