Of all the things I imagined making with a sourdough starter, brownies were not one of them. This month Sourdough Surprises showed me otherwise. Silly me.
Butterflied chicken, aka spatchcocked chicken (which is much more fun to say), is one of the items on my list that can now be checked off. Butterflying/spatchcocking (see? more fun ) a chicken simply means cutting out the backbone so that the chicken lies flat, and as such, it cooks faster and more evenly. Last week we had a run of gorgeous early summer weather (shorts, t-shirts, and SPF 30 kind of weather – it was glorious) so I fired up the barbeque to celebrate and cooked my spatchcocked chicken on the grill.
Did you know that a true lasagne bolognese contains neither ricotta nor mozzarella? Just bolognese sauce, béchamel sauce and parmesan cheese (and pasta sheets, of course), and it is delicious.
If you are on a diet, you might want to avert your eyes.
When I asked Nate a few weeks ago what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he gave me free reign to make whatever I felt like. I was all set to make a tres leches cake, but when I told him this the day before he didn’t seem as enthusiastic about it as I was. So I asked him exactly what he wanted, and he gave me these particulars: chocolate, maybe some bacon, perhaps some caramel. Basically, “It should be… insane.”
Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!
Before this month, I had of course heard of the great epicure and gastronome Brillat-Savarin, but not of this cake by the same name – which is quite unlike any other cake I’ve ever made. It starts with a rich brioche dough baked in a ring pan (there are special Savarin pans, but a bundt or angel food cake pan works too). The baked cake is soaked in a flavoured syrup, which it soaks up like a thirsty sponge, and then the hole in the middle is filled with pastry cream and topped with fruit. Savarin is very similar to baba au rhum, which is soaked in rum syrup and usually made into individual cakes, and both baba and Savarin are somehow related to Polish babka (sort of like this babka – it’s all one big extended brioche family).
Several months ago, Jamie Oliver posted a photo on Facebook showing the most beautiful pasta I had ever seen, which immediately prompted me to start a frantic search to find out what it was called and how it was made.
The picture came from a British food TV show called Simply Italian, which of course I couldn’t watch in Canada, but I did manage to find the recipe for “wedding tortelli“. Unfortunately it didn’t give very clear instructions for how to shape the tortelli, so I turned to the Google machine and found a related pasta shape called culurgiones:
Culurgiones are also known as Sardinian ravioli and usually have a potato filling, sort of like a cross between a ravioli and a pierogi. They are formed in a manner similar to the tortelli in question, however they are more round and plump like dumplings versus the tapered, almost leaf-like shape of tortelli, which is what I was after.
Oh how I’ve missed baking bread every week!
This beautiful, holey, airy, chewy bread is exactly what homemade bread should be: rustic and delicious and better than anything you can buy in the store, partly because it only contains five ingredients (flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil) but mostly because you made it yourself. That’s the part about baking bread that I love the best.
We didn’t eat spaghetti and meatballs in my house when I was growing up – we ate lots of spaghetti with meat sauce, but not with meatballs. I didn’t make my first batch of meatballs until I was well into my twenties, and since then it seems I’ve been making up for lost time, because I could quite happily eat spaghetti and meatballs almost every day. In my recent quest to cut down on the amount of processed white flour in our diet, I looked for an alternative to the pasta part so that I could still get my fill of meatballs, and spaghetti squash seemed like the most obvious choice.
Lemon curd. Toasted meringue. Coconut macaroon. What’s not to love?
(I told you there’d still be plenty of butter and sugar in these parts… no flour in this one though!)
In the course of making these little tarts, the only thing I didn’t really love was that for some reason, my meringue topping just would not whip up to stiff peaks. I started it off by hand with a whisk, because I thought how hard can it be to whip one egg white into a stiff meringue? Apparently it’s pretty hard (and I think I know the reason I’ve ended up with tennis elbow, or more accurately, baker’s elbow!), so I transferred it to the KitchenAid mixer, ending up with sticky meringue on half the utensils in my kitchen, and still only achieved floppy peaks. Nonetheless, the meringue toasted nicely under the broiler, which worked out much better than my failed blow-torch attempt.