The Simple Things

With my life being so busy at the moment – I feel I hardly have any time to myself – I’m taking great pleasure in the little things. In the things which take little energy or effort. The Simple Things In Life.

My favourite recipes are quick and easy; the sort which can be committed to memory after one or two attempts and can be adapted without trouble.

As an example, chocolate truffles. The basic recipe I use can be adapted for all sorts of flavours and types of chocolate, and these days, can be made in about 5 minutes. 20 if you include the rolling out. And I suppose there’s the 3 hours or so waiting for the mixture to set.

RaspberryTruffles.jpg

I prefer to use dark chocolate – it seems to handle the melting and mixing process more happily than milk or white. In fact, unless absolutely necessary, I don’t use milk chocolate at all.

White chocolate is so-so. The fat tends to come out more with white chocolate which gives the mix an odd appearance, but doesn’t affect the taste. Might just be the cheap chocolate, of course. On the other hand, it’s better for more delicate flavours than dark, which can overpower.

The above truffles are raspberry and coconut. With a splash of mango vodka.

 

(Almost) According to ScandiKitchen: Kladdkaka

There is a café just off of Oxford Street. (There’s probably a lot of cafés off of Oxford Street.) I can’t remember exactly where, but you can get there in almost a straight line from Goodge Street, from the street opposite Paperchase, with the Tesco Metro on it. Walk along there for about ten minutes or so.

Actually, that might be a lie. You might have to turn off it somewhere. It’s been a while.

Anyway, this café, ScandiKitchen, is a home away from home for Scandinavian expats. It provides Scandinavian food and a small grocery section for imports. Like reindeer meat. And Scandinavian licorice. But I go for the cakes.

One of the things I miss the most about my time in Sweden is the baked goods. Sweden has some wonderful cake recipes. Especially kladdkaka. I normally describe this as a sort of brownie-cake, and my ScandiKitchen recipe book say it literally means sticky cake.

Kkaddkaka.jpg

This isn’t the one I made, but a picture of the picture in the book. Mine was eaten too quickly for photographs.

It’s a reasonably quick and simple recipe too:

2 eggs

200g sugar

100 butter, melted and cooled slightly

150g flour

3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

Teaspoon of vanilla

  1. Whisk together eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in dry ingredients and vanilla
  3. Add melted butter and mix well.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 in a 20 cm cake tin

The crust should need a little pressure to crack but the cake shouldn’t be completely cooked. The middle should still be a bit runny – it’ll set once cooled.

Best served with a dollop of cream.

Mine, I think, was slightly overdone. Still tasty, but I feel it probably should not have broken neatly in half when I picked it up…

P.S. – Apologies for the delay – one of those weeks!

Simple Vegan Flapjack

We all know I’m a lazy so-and-so when it comes to cooking. I’m a throw-it-in-the-pot-and-see-what-happens kind of a girl. And it’s honestly just effort to change my ways just because I’m cutting out dairy, eggs and meat.

So I’m just going to be taking my ordinary recipes, and substituting, and seeing what happens.

What I believe to be vegan flapjack; recipe next week

Apricot Treacle Flapjack

This week, as promised last Sunday, is the recipe for a Simple Vegan Flapjack.

You won’t need a long list of outlandish ingredients, or fancy-pants equipment: just a big saucepan and a baking tray. If you’re feeling up to it, a set of scales to take ratios from your preferred flapjack recipe. I tend to guesstimate when I’m making flapjack.

Ingredients:

Oats

Treacle, several tablespoons (Tate & Lyle assure me theirs is vegan; I looked it up and everything!)

Coconut oil, a couple of tablespoons

Chopped apricots (or dried fruit of your preference)

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients – from any good supermarket – it’s simply a question of a normal flapjack-making practice. Heat the treacle and coconut oil until the oil’s molten and stirred into the treacle. Pour into a bowl with the oats and apricots. Mix well. Turn onto a baking tray and bake at about 200C for about ten-fifteen minutes.

See, simple substitution of coconut oil for butter. (And treacle for syrup, but if you’d prefer to use syrup, go ahead. I still have yet to stock my cupboards with any and the treacle needs using up.)

Next up, I’m going to experiment with fairy-cakes and substitutions.

In Praise of Butter

Did you ever do that thing as a child where you hold a buttercup to your chin to see whether you like butter? If your chin goes yellow (which it invariably does), you do.

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Now, I’m never going to single-handedly save the dairy industry: I don’t drink milk or take it in my tea. I’m more partial to cream and even that I don’t really have much anymore. I occasionally (rarely) eat yogurt or cheese-on-toast. Ice-cream, yes, it’s necessary in this heat.

What I like, though, is butter melting on my toast. Jam is good for cream teas, but not on my toast.
There is nothing better than golden pools of melting butter on toast; on crumpets toasted on an open fire; on Sunday breakfast drop-scones that your dad made because your mum hasn’t made pain au chocolat. It’s just so gorgeously decadent, so wonderfully luxurious, to be eating something dripping with melting butter.

Now, usually, I buy basics butter, on the premise that, you know, butter is butter. Is there really any difference between basic brands and more expensive butters? There’s no point spending more than I need to, thought I, reaching for the cheapest. Well, actually, in a word, Yes. My goodness, yes.
You see, the other day, ASDA forced (yes, I will use that word) me to deviate. It had none of the Value Butter. I had to look towards the more expensive ones. Trying to stick to my budget, though, I went for the next cheapest. Only about 50p more expensive, so not break-the-bank expensive. It was a half-pound block of green-foil-wrapped Cornish butter, from Trewithen’s dairy.
It is, by far and away, the most delicious butter I have ever tasted. Mark and I ate the entire block, and the loaf of bread I’d just bought, in about two days. Honestly, this butter is all I need on my toast. I can’t begin to do justice to the taste of Trewithen’s butter. I have been raving about this butter to all who’ll listen. I eschew making “proper” meals to have more toast, just to eat the butter.

And now that I hear that fats are supposed to be good for me, so much the better. I suspect that, ideally, the powers-that-be would prefer me not to be slathering it over toast, or crumpets, or drop-scones, or whatever, but screw that. Life’s too short, and buttery toast too delicious.