Friday, September 30, 2011

Raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes

Mmmmmhhhh, I LOVE cupcakes! 
These are my standard (mini-) cupcakes and I've got a good excuse to make some today. My friend from work is moving to Paris and I thought I'd surprise her by making some as a farewell present.

They are a combination of different recipes that I have tweaked a little so they are to my liking now.

Vanilla Cupcakes (adapted from Crabapple Bakery)

2 cups (about 250g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder 
200g softened unsalted butter 
1 cup (about 350g) caster sugar 
4 eggs 
1 tbs vanilla extract 
1 cup milk 
About 85 raspberries (one for each mini cupcake)

I started by defrosting some frozen raspberries this morning, of course you can use fresh raspberries, but unfortunately the season is over, and frozen ones work just as well.

Sift flour and baking powder together. In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes.

Add the sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. When all the sugar has been added, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved. 
Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. 
Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process. 
Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; take extra care not to over-beat otherwise the mixture will toughen and not be light anymore.

Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full. Put a thawed rasperry on top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting. 

For the frosting I just melt some white chocolate with 1/4 cup milk, meanwhile while the chocolate is cooling down again after melting, I cream abt 60g of butter and add icing sugar until I get the consistency I want, I then add the melted (and cooled) chocolate. If the frosting is too liquid just add some more icing sugar.

Et voilĂ !

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Moroccan (or preserved) lemon

Have you every tried Moroccan lemon? They are divine and great to add some taste to fish, poultry or veggies.
Back when I lived in Melbourne I prepared a jar of Moroccan lemons, also known as preserved lemon, but never actually got to taste them as I had to pack up my stuff and move back to Germany before they had sat long enough in their juices.
Anyway, I gave it another go when I found some nice looking, untreated, thick-skinned lemons at my local market.
Making these is easy and they also make a nice gift.

All you need is...
- a preserve jar
- rock salt
- lemons (of course!) I think I used about 5 for a medium-sized jar
- a cinnamon stick
- a garlic clove
- bayleaf

Cut lemons in quarters and roll each quarter in rock salt. Squeeze the lemons into the preserve jar and continue packing them tightly. Add a layer of salt in between the layers of lemons. Put the cinnamon stick, garlic clove and bayleaf between the lemons and continue packing and squeezing until the jar is full of salty lemon juice and tightly packed lemons.
If need be, add juice of one more lemon or some hot water to top it up so that all lemons are covered in juice. Close the lid.

Now the waiting begins... you have to leave the lemons for at least two months before you can use them, you can turn the jar over a few times in between so the salt doesn't just sink to the bottom (but make sure it's properly sealed!!!).

Once the wait is over, open the jar and smell the lemons! They smell soo intense and especially in winter they take you back to warm and exotic summer nights.
To use them, just take out a quarter and get rid of the flesh, all you want is the lemon peel.
You can dice or slice the peel and add it to your dishes for some extra flavour!