25 February 2014

cocoa pancakes

cocoa pancakes

makes 4 medium / 2 big

1 egg
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
4 tbsp yogurt
optional: banana, muscovado sugar

beat the egg with sugar until pale and foamy
add the flour sifted with cocoa and baking powder, mix in delicately (the batter will the thick) – just a few hand moves, it doesn’t need to be all incorporated
add the yogurt and mix slowly until smooth
fry for about 2 minutes on each side in a hot buttered frying pan (for banana version, place banana slices on top before flipping the pancakes)
preferably serve warm, goes perfect with some muscovado sugar that gives the pancakes earthy and deep sweetness

27 January 2014

mac & cheese

Everyday simple and pretty comfort at it's best.

mac & cheese
(makes 2-3 portions)

200 g macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
250 ml milk
1 tsp mustard
1 egg yolk
salt, pepper to taste
100 g mild to strong cheese, grated, to preference (I use red leicester or mild cheddar)

make the base: melt butter, add flour and mix vigorously until smooth
pour in the milk and continue mixing quickly to avoid lumps, keep on the stove until it starts to boil and thickens, take off the heat
add the egg yolk and mustard, mix in
add the cheese and mix until melted and the sauce is smooth
season to taste

green salad
handful of watercress
handful of rocket
rice vinegar
sea salt

mix the greens with a pinch of salt and a splash of vinegar, to taste

20 January 2014

milk powder matcha cubes

I've been looking for a nice and soft way to introduce matcha to people who haven't tries it yet in baking or candies. The idea is not to make a fancy sophisticated dessert or something intense like matcha swirly rings, but to have a base that carries the flavor of the tea easily and makes it delicate and pronounced at the same time. Condensed milk pound cake seems a good idea there, but it's a tale for another time, in a few weeks, maybe. 

Milk powder, even though it hasn't appeared much on this blog, is one of my favorite ingredients ever. Matcha is another. Combining them into one seemed like a thing to do; my sister's smile when she heard the about idea was just the last straw (although she's far away and won't get to taste this). The dessert is really simple though - 5 ingredients, maybe 5 minutes of work, and then just waiting until it settles and is ready to eat. The texture of this kind of milk powder candies is somehow sandy and velvety, which matches matcha's bitter-y flavor perfectly, and the sugar balances it so that no ingredient it overpowering the other. The cubes are chewy and soft, a bit like some Indian candies that use similar ingredients, but matcha makes them far eastern-Asian and unusual. 

Since the milk powder candies are one of my favorite things to make, I shall certainly present you more ideas and variations in the future - this one is perfect to start the recipe collection. So,頂きます!

milk powder matcha cubes

(makes 36 2.5 cm/1" cubes)

120 g butter
60 ml water
½ cup sugar
250 g milk powder - full fat only*
2 tbsp matcha powder

bring the butter, water and sugar to boil, cook until sugar has dissolved and the liquid is bubbling intensively
put the milk powder and matcha together, sift at least two times so that there are no lumps remaining
take off the heat and add the milk powder, mix immediately and energetically with a whisk until there are no lumps left
taste: if desired, add more matcha (it depends strongly on the quality of your matcha; if you think you need more, the best way is to add 1 tbsp water for every 1 tbsp matcha and mix with a spoon until it creates a thin paste, and then add the paste to the milk powder mixture, that way you avoid lumps)
transfer into a pan lined with baking paper (I used 15x15 cm/6x6” one)
let cool to room temperature and then put into a fridge for at least six hours to let it set properly
cu into small pieces and store in an air-tight container in a fridge, serve chilled

*note: use full fat milk powder only for the right flavor and especially the right texture of the cubes; skimmed milk powder makes mix that is too loose; full fat might be hard to find in some places but it's worth it; here in the UK you might try Polish/eastern European shops; I get my mleko w proszku from a nearby Polish shop :)