02 December 2016

GINGERBREAD PANCAKES

Celebrate the beginning of December with a plate of delicious gingerbread pancakes. They are fluffy, soft, and full of those perfect warm winter spices. Demerara sugar gives them an ever so slightly caramel flavour, while the black treacle gives a deep, robust flavour.
I love to serve them with a tiny drizzle of chocolate or honey, but you can serve them with whipped cream and some maple syrup, if you wish. If you do serve them with a syrup of any kind, you can heat it up slightly before pouring it onto pancakes.



Ingredients
120 grams plain flour
50 grams Demerara sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
50 grams black treacle
180 grams vanilla yogurt
2 medium eggs
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation
Sift together the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, as well as cinnamon, allspice, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, and cocoa powder, if you are using it. Once sifted, add the Demerara sugar, and whisk it really well. Separate the eggs into yolks and whites, and reserve them. Take another bowl, and whisk together the black treacle, yogurt, yolks, and vanilla. When the wet ingredients are well combined, pour them over the dry ingredients, and mix gently to blend. Do not overmix the batter.
Pour the whites into a medium bowl, and whip them until firm peaks form (with a whisk, or a hand-held mixer). Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, keeping as much of the air in as possible. Heat your pan (or griddle) to medium heat, and lightly coat it with vegetable oil. Using a small ladle or a measuring cup (80 ml; 1/3-cup), take out the batter and pour it onto the pan. Cook for about a minute or so on one side, or until the bubbles have formed all over the top of the pancake. Gently flip it over, and cook for another minute, or until cooked. Serve them immediately with a topping of your choice. Yields 6 medium pancakes.

25 November 2016

VANILLA CUPCAKES WITH EARL GREY ICING

When you love to eat or drink something, you constantly look for ways to incorporate it into many different recipes. I have been a coffee drinker and a coffee lover for years, and although I miss it sometimes, I have found my new favourite thing to drink – tea. Earl Grey tea, to be precise. Earl Grey tea is a tea blend (traditionally, black tea with the bergamot oil as a flavouring) with a prominent citrus flavour.
While it is a fantastic tea all on its own, I find it to be a great addition to desserts. Now, we know that chocolate and citruses pair fantastically, so you know right away that this lovely blend of chocolate and Earl Grey is delicious. Adorning a light and fluffy vanilla cupcake, it is a great treat to have. With a cup of hot tea, of course.

Vanilla cupcakes with Earl Grey frosting recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the vanilla cupcakes
150 grams plain flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 medium egg, separated
100 grams butter, softened
100 grams sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
120 ml whole milk
For the chocolate Earl Grey buttercream
120 grams butter, softened
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
250 grams icing sugar, sifted
3 Earl Grey tea bags
3 tablespoons boiling water

Preparation
To make the cupcakes, separate the yolk from the egg white and place the egg white in a medium-sized glass or metal bowl. Reserve the yolk, as you will need it later on. Sift together the flour with the baking powder and set that aside, too. Beat the egg white with an electric mixer on high, until soft peaks form. Set it aside. In another bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on high for about 2 minutes, until pale in colour and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating on high for at least 3 more minutes, until well blended. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and a tablespoon of the dry ingredients, and blend completely. Adding the flour just helps with the emulsification.
Add a third of the milk, and a third of the dry ingredients and blend lightly. Repeat until you use up all of the milk and flour. Make sure you do not overmix the batter at this point. Finally, gently fold in the whipped egg whites, making sure you do not overmix and deflate the batter. Divide the batter between 6 standard muffin cups (lined with paper liners), and bake in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for about 15-18 minutes. They are done when the toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Make sure you check them for doneness around 15 minutes, so they don't dry out. Let them cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then place them on a wire rack and let them cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Take three tea bags and place them in a saucepan, then pour over 4 tablespoons of boiling water and let it steep until it cools completely. Place the softened butter in a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixer on high for 2 minutes, until the butter becomes paler in colour and completely smooth and creamy. Add the sifted cocoa powder and blend for another minute. Next, add the sifted icing sugar in a few additions, blending well after each addition. Once you've added all of the sugar, blend for another minute, then add the cooled tea (a bit at a time), and blend it well. Decorate the cooled cupcakes to your liking and serve.

18 November 2016

PASTA IN SAUSAGE MOZZARELLA SAUCE

Pasta is a staple; it is a great ingredient for delicious meals. Usually quite easy and quick to make, and pretty much a safe dish for all. Enjoy this lovely pasta meal full of smoked sausage, sautéed veggies, and delicious fresh Mozzarella cheese. If you like your pasta extra cheesy, you can even grate some more cheese on top of each serving once the pasta is ready.

Pasta in sausage and Mozzarella sauce recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
300 grams spicy smoked sausage (rød pølse, andouille)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, diced
200 grams carrots, shredded
200 grams Swiss chard, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
300 grams thick tomato sauce
500 ml boiling water
200 grams uncooked pasta (such as rotini)
100 grams fresh Mozzarella cheese
5 tablespoons fresh parsley

Preparation
Start by shredding the carrots, cleaning and dicing the Swiss chard, and dicing the yellow onion. Place two tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and add in the onions, and the carrots. Keep sautéing the veggies until the onion becomes translucent, and the carrots soften up. Add in the remaining tablespoon of butter, and add in the sliced sausages. Stir it vigorously so the sausages do not burn, and cook for a few minutes, to enhance the flavour of the sausages. Add in the minced garlic, and the Swiss chard, stir very quickly, and cook it for only one minute.
Then add the tomato sauce, and mix it really well. Pour in the pasta shapes of your choice, along with half of the water, and let it cook for about 20-30 minutes, slowly adding in the rest of the water, until the pasta is done to your liking, and the sausages are fragrant and soft. Once the pasta is cooked, add in the diced Mozzarella, and mix until it is completely melted. If is fine if it does not melt all the way through. Immediately pour into serving bowls, top with fresh parsley, and serve. Yields 6 servings.

11 November 2016

RASPBERRY CARAMEL COCONUT LAYER CAKE

Here she is, the queen of cakes. Gorgeous and amazing eleven layers of tender cake, and a delicious coconut and raspberry caramel filling. It is as beautiful as it is delicious. I love how lovely the coconut pairs with raspberry and caramel. It is a small cake, and serves only six, so if you need to feed a crowd, you can double the recipe to suit your needs.

Raspberry caramel coconut layer cake recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the cake layers
270 grams plain flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
150 grams granulated sugar
3 medium egg whites
270 ml whole milk
9 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons coconut extract
For the filling
180 ml whole milk
4 tablespoons plain flour
1 whole vanilla bean
100 grams caster (superfine) sugar
5 tablespoons desiccated coconut
¼ teaspoon coconut extract
50 grams soft caramels
200 grams butter, softened
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
For the coconut cream frosting
200 ml heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon coconut extract

Raspberry caramel coconut layer cake recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Preparation
To make the filling, pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the flour, sugar, and the beans from the vanilla bean, and whisk everything thoroughly. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. It will coat the back of the spoon, and it will resemble a cooked pudding. It should take about 5 minutes or so. Remove it from the heat, and immediately add in the desiccated coconut, coconut extract, and the soft caramels. Mix the filling thoroughly, and let it cool down to room temperature.
While the filling is cooling, make the cake layers. Take a large bowl and sift the flour with the baking powder twice, add sugar and whisk well. In another bowl, whisk the whole milk with the oil, add in the coconut extract, and whisk really well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry, add in the egg whites, and blend everything well by hand. Take three small round pans (10 cm; 4”), grease the bottoms and sides, then line them with baking paper. Evenly distribute the batter between the three of them, and bake, in a preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F) for about 20-25 minutes. Check them with a toothpick, and let them cool completely.
By that time, the filling base should be almost completely cool to the touch. Place the softened butter into a large bowl. And beat with an electric mixer on high, for about 3 minutes, until it becomes lighter in colour, and completely creamy. At this point, start adding the cooked coconut base, a tablespoon at a time, beating on high constantly. Keep mixing until the filling is completely smooth. Add in the raspberry jam towards the end of mixing. Finally, add in the heavy cream, while beating constantly on high, until incorporated. This will make the filling extra creamy and smooth. Place some plastic wrap on the surface of the filling, and place it in the refrigerator.
To assemble the cake, level the cooled cake layers, cut them into two horizontally, and place the first layer on the cake platter. Place the filling in a decorating bag fitted with a large round nozzle, and pipe the filling on the first cake layer in a circle. Carefully place the second layer on top. Keep staking cake layers and frosting them until the cake is stacked. You should have enough filling to do a crumb coat on the cake. Take three cake dowels and insert them into the cake in a triangular manner, then trim to level them. This will act as support for this very tall and delicate cake. Do the crumb coat with the filling you have, then place the cake in the refrigerator for about half an hour. Whip the heavy cream with the coconut extract, decorate the cake as desired, and return it to the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Serve it well chilled. Yields 6 servings. © TINA VESIĆ 2016

04 November 2016

CHERRY HAND PIES

Making hand pies is rather straightforward. You need a nice, flaky and flavourful pastry shell and a simple and effective filling. Sour cherries are always a good choice, because although sour, they have a lot of flavour. Combined with a sweet vanilla pastry shell, it is a great tea dessert, as well as a fun picnic food or a party favour.

Cherry hand pies tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the dough
100 grams butter, softened
100 grams Ricotta cheese
200 grams plain flour
50 grams icing sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon powdered vanilla
For the filling
100 grams sour cherries
100 grams sugar
1 ½ tablespoon cornflour (corn starch)
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon kirsch
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Preparation
First make the filling, because it will have to cool down before being put in the dough. Take the cherries and put them in a heavy-based saucepan, add the sugar and leave them for about 15 minutes, so they release the juice. You can also use frozen cherries, just leave them in the saucepan to thaw, then add the sugar and continue with the recipe as directed. Bring the cherries to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Mix the cornflour (corn starch) and cold water in a small bowl, and add it to the cherries. Mix really well and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove the cooked filling from the heat and add the cocoa powder and kirsch. Mix well and leave it to cool down.
For the dough, sift together the flour with the icing sugar and the vanilla, and leave it to one side. Cream together the softened butter with the Ricotta cheese, with an electric mixer on high, until well blended (it will take about 2 minutes, or so). Add half of the dry ingredients and blend it well with your mixer on the lowest setting. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and blend in the same fashion. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and use your hands to bring it together. It will be very soft, but not sticky at all. Place it in the fridge for 10 minutes, to firm up slightly.
Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough in the centre. Roll it out to about 3-4 millimetres (⅛-inch) thickness and cut out 8 rectangles. If you need to, first cut out the first four, then re-roll the scraps and cut out the other four rectangles. Place a portion of the filling in the centre of the rectangle, then fold it over and press the edges firmly with a fork, to seal them. Arrange the pies on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper, cut them once diagonally with a very sharp knife and bake them immediately in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F), for about 12-15 minutes. Yields 8 small hand pies.