Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Mouse Trap

Making the fruit chutney in my previous post was all so I could try the Edmonds Mousetrap recipe.  For those of you not familiar with them....as I was not.  A mousetrap is a snack composed of some type of spread on bread covered with cheese which may or may not be toasted.  In the case of the Edmonds recipe....the spread was of course chutney, and the snack was in fact toasted....twice.  As per the Edmonds directions....you should:
  1. toast one side of your bread
  2. spread the untoasted side of the bread with chutney
  3. top with shredded cheese and minced onion
  4. pop it all back in the toaster oven to melt the cheese
  5. garnish with chopped parsley
  6. salt and pepper to taste
Now, after trying this....I would recommend using chopped onion greens rather than minced onion as you would get a bit of colour for garnish and a milder onion flavour as well.  All and all, a nice little snack....This is based on the fact that I alone have almost finished my first jar of chutney filling myself with these tasty little snacks.  Ike however does not share my fondness for these.......he's not quite sure of what he thinks of the chutney I think.....perhaps a different spread for him then....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Making a Better Mousetrap

I was sitting and flipping through my Edmonds Cookery Book wondering what might next be of interest for me to try......when the recipe for mousetraps caught my eye.  I have heard of these......but had no real  clue what they were about.  The recipe called for chutney, of which I had none.......Hmmm....but I did still have 10 pounds of  apples left to do something with....A few more pages flipped and there was the recipe I was looking for.  So......I actually made a chutney recipe just so I'd have a jar to try the recipe for mouse traps.  The chutney recipe was nice though, and made quite a few jars.  Maybe enough to share with the neighbours or for Christmas giving.  More on the mouse traps later......
Edmonds Fruit Chutney
2 kg apples peeled, cored and chopped
500g onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups raisins
4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice or cloves
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups (or there abouts) Malt vinegar

Put apples, onions,  garlic,raisins, sugar, salt, and spices into a large pot.  Add enough vinegar to not cover but leave some fruit above the vinegar.  Cook at a simmer for about two hours, frequently stirring to achieve the consistency of a jam. Bottle and seal.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chocolate Macaroon and Lemon Cake

One of my souvenirs from New Zealand was a cookbook.  Books are extremely expensive over there and I had the good fortune to find this book (A Second Helping....More from Ladies a Plate) on sale which brought the price down to a level that was a little more easy for me to swallow.  I will admit to a bit of a cookbook addition.  I sit and read through them over and over again, cup of tea in hand, just staring at the pictures and considering the ingredient combinations.  Regional cookbooks are especially interesting to me.  It is curious how years of regional isolation created and maintained pockets of cultural uniqueness and in turn their regional menus.   So when I found this compilation of New Zealand favourites......I just had to have it.  Here is a recipe that I gave a try.  It turned out quite nice and moist......and I will at some point, make it again.  The yellow layer is noticeably lemon and the dark layer is macaroonish.  Yum!
Chocaroon Cake
(slightly adapted from A Second Helping...More from Ladies a Plate)

Cake Layer
85 grams (1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp) butter (room temperature)
115g (1/2 cup) sugar
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
170 grams (1 1/4 cup) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk (room temperature)
2 tbsp syrup

Macaroon Layer
2 egg whites
2tbsp sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tbsp cocoa powder
icing sugar for dusting top of loaf
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 8 1/2" by 4 1/2" loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment.  Start by making the macaroon mixture first.  Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually beat in the sugar.  Fold in the coconut and sifted cocoa and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar til soft, then beat in the lemon zest and vanilla.  Add the egg yolks one at a time beating between additions.  Fold in the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) and milk alternately to make a soft batter.  Spoon half of the cake batter into the pan followed by half of the macaroon mixture spreading as evenly as possible. Top with the remaining cake batter.  Brush the top of the last cake layer with melted jelly, fruit syrup or corn syrup (any syrup) to help the last macaroon layer stick.  Top with remaining macaroon layer.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool in tin, then turn out carefully so as not to lose the top macaroon layer.  Sift the top with icing sugar, cut into slices and serve.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sauced Butterscotch Pudding

Where I live, the rule of thumb for the first snow fall......seems to be right around Halloween.  Most often, there is not snow on the ground for Halloween, but there can be.  Any time between Halloween and the start of December......we will get snow that stays.  We were quite lucky this year as Halloween night was a beautiful night for trick or treating.  Remembrance Day seemed to bring on the snow and rain.  It really was quite damp and cold....all that slushy snow!  This morning the snow continues and it looks as though the snow may stay.  That will please Ike as construction of the first snow fort of the year is under way.
The change in temperature brings about a new direction in cooking.  More stews and oven baked dishes......and warm desserts.  I had been thinking lately of baked puddings.....and this recipe has sat untried in my recipe binder for at least 5 years.  Finally last night at 10:00pm I decided I must give it a try.  My suggestion was met with some grumbling as the Chocolate Sauce N Cake version of this pudding is so popular in this house, that replacing it with a new and untried recipe was met with a lot of scepticism.  However since I wanted to try this recipe.....after all of these years.....and since no one else was going to get off the couch to help with it....I made the executive decision to try something new!  It was very good!  It makes a Butterscotchy raisin dotted cake with sauce all in one dish.  Very yummy, served with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream or a splash of pouring cream.  I am expecting the delivery of a large box of apples this morning and I think they might make a nice addition the next time around??  Sort of caramel apple-ish?? A very nice last minute recipe as it uses things you probably have on hand and.....it is super quick and easy:)
If you'd like to give it a try, here it is.....
Sauced Butterscotch Pudding
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup raisins

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups hot water
Measure first 7 ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Turn into a greased 8 " casserole.  In the empty mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter, vanilla and hot water until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour over the batter gently, and do not stir it in.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until sauce is on the bottom and a top crust has formed which is firm to the touch and a bit golden.
Variations: add 1/2 tsp cinnamon to sauce before pouring over the batter.  Or for a Mocha Sauce: Omit last 4 ingredients for sauce mix.  Mix 2 Tbsp cocoa and 1 cup brown sugar.  Stir 2 tsp instant coffee into 2 cups hot water.  Add to cocoa sugar mixture.  Pour over batter and bake as usual.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dark Mocha Cake- A One Bowl Wonder

Always on the lookout for something new to try........I found this recipe in an old Fine Cooking magazine.  It promised to be quick, easy, and delicious.  And it kept its promise.  It also stays nice and moist for up to 5 days when wrapped in plastic wrap.  I'll be making this one again.  It's nice on its own.....sprinkled with icing sugar.....with a bit of pouring cream......or warmed with a scoop of icecream.  It's very versatile! 
Dark Mocha Cake
10 Tbsp butter, soft
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups coffee, cooled
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line bottom of a 9 inch square pan with parchment, and grease and flour pan.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in 2 eggs, one at a time until sugar begins to dissolve. (about 1 minute of whisking)  Mix in the vanilla and salt and then sift and mix in the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder.  Pour in the coffee and gently whisk until smooth and free of most, but not all of the lumps.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth batter with spatula.  Bake until cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs....about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool 20 minutes.  Run knife around edges of pan and invert onto cake rack, and remove the pan.  Invert again onto a second rack so it is now right side up and cool until just warm.  Serve warm, or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.