Monthly Archives: April 2014

Blueberry & Vanilla Financiers

Afternoon.

I’m back on Health come next week, at least Mon-Fri, so have been frontloading a few posts, mostly savoury actually, ‘cept for this one here today. I was gifted some amazing Ugandan vanilla by a friend whose husband is about a million times better at baking than anyone I’ve met before, so I had to make sure I did something yum with them. The boyfriend (who will remain ‘boyfriend’ as I cannot countenance ‘husband’ anytime soon, and I die a little inside at the thought of ‘hubs’ or ‘hubby’) hates custard, the crazy, so god knows what I’m supposed to do with the leftover egg yolks from this recipe.  I could in fact use both the egg yolks AND some more vanilla if I were to make custard.  I might need to find a new boyfriend.

Anyway, the egg yolk conundrum didn’t prevent me from having a bash at these financiers which, if I’m honest, remind me a lot of less-cakey friands. Unless they are the same thing, which would make sense.  Recipe was sourced via a google search which led to me to – http://www.gourmantineblog.com/financiers-with-blueberries/ – apparently the name financiers comes from Paris, the financial district etc etc blah blah whatever. They are yum, is all.  I added vanilla to my recipe.  Obviously.

Preheat your oven to 200C. I did that on my fan oven and mine came out arguably a bit too toasted but I’m a fan of the caramelised chewiness that leads to so, you know, do what you like.

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Gather:

170g butter, melted – warm but not hot

150g ground almonds

250g icing sugar

50g plain flour

5 egg whites

pinch of salt

some extra butter or vegetable oil for greasing molds – I just flung another 5g into the butter to melt and used that to grease the tins

blueberries – I used 3 per cake thingy.  See how you feel on the day

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Stick all the dry ingredients into a big bowl and sift – by sift I mean whazz around with a whisk. The icing sugar will dust you and your kitchen like  dandruff on a middle-aged bachelor’s shoulder.

Melt your butter and when done scrape the seeds from a vanilla pod and add, stirring around.  I am sure you can use vanilla paste here.  Probably.

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Whisk your egg whites till stiff peaks have formed, adding to them a pinch of salt as you go. Helps them peak.

The above is an incredibly shit photo of me trying to demonstrate stiff peaks by holding the bowl upside down over NewHuman’s head but I found I was utterly incapable of doing that, holding an iPad and pressing the camera button all at the same time. Boyfriend was unimpressed – am fairly sure you can tell that yourselves from the disapproving set of his beard.

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ANYWAY – using a big metal spoon, cut the dry mix into the egg whites – do this in 2 or 3 stages, and only mix through till just combined. Then dribble in the melted butter and vanilla, mixing through as you go, and only as much as you really have to; that is, do the minimum. It’ll get to soft dropping stage, if you’ve done it ok.  Don’t knock the bowl with the spoon, don’t do anything to scare off the air you’ve managed to get into the mix.  Keep it fluffy, people.

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Drop spoonfuls into your tin or cases or whatever you’ve decided to use. I’ve seen this done as a whole cake, would be bloody yum in a big round tin.  Today I went with very shallow Yorkshire pudding type things. Fill to just short of the top, and drop a few blueberries on.  They’ll look like surprised faces.  Like my face when NewHuman sleeps past 6am (I have bigger bags under my eyes, though), or the boyfriend’s face if I’m nice to him and he’s not sure why and gets a bit worried.

Into the oven for 15-20 mins, keeping an eye on them and not letting them get overly brown.  The mix made 23 little cakes, for me.

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Just a pause to pay tribute to the dog who is being an utter trooper in the face of NewHuman’s new and sophisticated methods of torture. She is brilliant.   She will always be my firstborn.

Rightyo – out of the oven when done, really 15 mins should be plenty.  Let sit in a tin for a few minutes then turn out to cool on a rack.  Ideally you’d serve these with tea or coffee, on a twee plate, having sprinkled them with a bit more icing sugar but this is me so you get a shot of them on the old grill-rack, sat next to my sink.

Easy and way yum and so go make them.

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Sticky Pork Ribs, kind of Asian-Style

Look, I’m going to have to admit it to those of you who don’t know already as I’ve very quickly run out of ways to say ‘big party’ and, in this post, talk about ‘holiday just with the boyfriend and no NewHuman’ without actually saying ‘wedding’.

So yeah. We, like, got married. We happened to have chosen the day traditionally set aside for those who, in the past, got married for beneficial tax purposes. Seems a good enough reason. Having already gotten a dog, a mortgage and a NewHuman we felt we may as well finalise the rise to adulthood, albeit in reverse order. And, you know, tax benefits.

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It was a day of fun and I started with a double shot of bourbon and packing of plimsolls as god knows I wasn’t made to wear high heels all day. Plimsolls went on as soon as the Register was signed. I of course actually managed to audibly say ‘shit’ in the middle of the vows and failed to maintain composure at any point. Regardless, boyfriend seemed to want to continue and we were, thus, promised and married and all that stuff.

Does it feel different now?  No. Not at all. Except for wearing an extra ring and, of course, the not yet realised tax benefits.

Anyway the upside of all this was that my mum visited from Australia and offered to remain behind in London with NewHuman whilst me and the boyfriend traipsed (ie: ate and drank) our way down the North-East coast of the USA.

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We went to the baseball in Boston.  Baseball is, as far as I can make out, a slightly faster and very American version of cricket.

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Because we are blatantly not cool, young hipsters we of course stayed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn which was full of cool, young hipsters. We mostly ate oysters and drank beer and the boyfriend got a brief mancrush on the barman at Allswell.  HI KEVIN!

We are home again now and Mum is back home in Australia and NewHuman is back to suffering our much lower levels of care and attention. So far he’s rewarded us by being disconcertingly cute and somewhat bitey.  Today we went to the grocery store (I’m SO BLOODY AMERICAN NOW) and spunked £200 on various things. Mum had brought over an Aussie Women’s Weekly so I scanned the always-good recipes and they had something along the lines of Spicy Asian Ribs.

Mine aren’t spicy and the recipe is vaguely different but either way I must give credit to the AWW for the inspiration.

These ribs are freaking yum and sticky enough to glue your teeth together, useful if you serve it to people at a dinner party and they just won’t shut up.

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Get;-

Something between 1.5-2kg of pork ribs

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup sake (not pictured)

1/2 cup plum sauce

1/2 cup chilli sauce

1/2 cup honey

1 medium onion, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced

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Mix together everything bar the ribs.

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Lay the ribs in a baking tray lined with baking paper, and use, I dunno, bout 1/3 or 1/2 of the marinade on the ribs. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 2-3hrs, or overnight if you really, really want to. I just left mine for 2hrs in the cold oven, covered. Was FINE.

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I’ve been pleased by the view out the back door recently – awfully spring-like.   THANK GOD.

Anyway after the requisite marinading stick the ribs in a pre-heated oven (140C fan oven, 160C other ovens) for 2 hours, after having covered tightly with foil.  Don’t over-crowd the ribs – I ended up using two baking trays.

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The ribs will, after 2hrs, look like anaemic little shits. Fear not.

Remove them from the baking trays to a plate or bowl, for a bit. Not long, just for interim storage purposes.

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Drain the remaining liquid into the leftover marinade, into a saucepan, and simmer till it goes a bit thick and reduces by about half. It’s no great science, just do it till you are happy with it.

It’ll look gross.

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When reduced, generously brush it over the ribs, which you’ve put back into newly lined trays.

Stick them in a preheated oven at 160C (fan) or 180C (regular oven).

After 20 mins turn the oven up to 200C and brush with more marinade.

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I served with a simple salad of cucumber, onion seeds, coriander and Japanese rice wine vinegar.

After ten more mins the ribs should be freakishly brown and sticky.

Serve – you can use the leftover marinade as a dipping sauce if you want. I caught the boyfriend pouring some over the cucumber salad – NOT NECESSARY.

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