Friday, 31 January 2014

Red Velvet Macarons

If you’ve been reading this blog since the baby years of its existence, you might be aware of my humiliating macaron attempts in the past. 

Macarons are the sweet, sweet confection that I’ve posted on here regardless of their success. I’ve even tried to educate the internet on how not to make macarons. I am that confident in my mistakes. 

This is why there is a grand total of five macarons in these pictures. The other 15 were cracked, Mr Blobby shaped and had missing limbs (no “feet"). 

The macaron ship had sailed, people.  
It gets worse. Last week, I completely forgot about how terrible I was at “macoranage.” I forgot so badly, that I agreed to try and match a boutique’s red velvet macaron! 
Macarons from L'orchidee in Westfield Stratford
Naturally, the macarons at L’orchidee were exactly what you’d expect: each told its own tale. Even though they’re made in continuous batches 3 days a week, not one was the same. Which I think is just the way it should be, none of this precision and uniformity, especially since so many of us have so much trouble making them at home. 

So here is my attempt to out-do L’orchidee’s red velvet macaron for Westfield Stratford City’s We Are Dining campaign. This month, Westfield Stratford City is showcasing their diverse array of eateries, and they're giving lots of offers to customers in this nifty little booklet which you can download here. 

I am usually disappointed by the vast selection of same-y food chains you find in shopping centres. But Australian company, Westfield, do things a little differently. They have whole sections dedicated to certain cuisines. For example, a 'World Food Court' where the busiest fast food restaurants are the ones serving up sushi, falafel and ribs, and the same goes for their 'Fast Food Court.'

Personally, I don’t think my attempt at red velvet macarons even slightly match up to L'orchidee's. But it was nice to see what else The Great Eastern Market had to offer, besides beautiful Baklava and gorgeously scented roasted nuts.

If you live in London, you're never too far away from a Westfield shopping centre. Go east for Westfield Stratford City, or west for Westfield London in Shepherds Bush. You can also pick up the offers booklet at the concierge desks in both branches! 

Friday, 24 January 2014

Waffle Iron Stroopwafels {Caramel Waffles}

I made stroopwafels without a pizzelle! That’s a fancy iron made specifically for one use, aka this. That’s also a lot of money and space spent on an appliance that might only get a handful of uses. London Bakes did a far better job of justifying why its good to only have just a few kitchen gadgets when she made buckwheat waffles with roasted rhubarb (made your mouth water, didn’t it?).
The original name of these sticky Dutch crispy pancake sandwiches has wafel in it. Wa-fel. But let's just pretend it says 'waffle' okay? So if the name has a waffle in it, then why are all the recipes telling me I need a pizzelle to make the crispy wafers holding the caramel (they say its caramel but I’m convinced its toffee) in place? 

That’s when I realized there was a waffle iron sitting on top of the dryer that would definitely benefit from having the dust blown from it. Sure, they look like waffle sandwiches. But the taste has chewy dutch goodness written all over it. At this point you still might not have a frickin clue what stroopwafels are…for that I am sorry.

These pleasingly large disks are usually found packaged in two beside the tills in coffee shops. My friend used to say that Starbucks stroopwafels smelt like wet dog, she still ate them though. Maybe she enjoyed wet dog. Luckily, these are NOTHING like wet dog. I should know, I made them at 1am with 2 sloppy sharp pei’s by my side, rooting me on like the supportive fluff balls they are.They're quite large in size because they're meant to sit on top of your cup of coffee and heat up, making them a right warm treat by the time you eat it. 
And the waffle iron experiment worked a charm! At first I was like…Oh THAT’S why I need a pizzelle, these things aren’t cooking in the middle! But after you let them firm up overnight, you get a crunchy ice cream cone type texture and a deep dark toffee flavour from the filling. Yeah its sticky, but it sure as hell don’t taste like wet dog.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Best Cup Of Turkish Coffee

I wrote a whole post about Turkish coffee and then Google thought it would be funny to delete it. Normally in these situations (yes this happens a lot, my life is a shambles), I would just write a new post, but I had a bit of a connection to that post so now that it’s lost I’m not going to try and remake it.

Turkish coffee is usually enjoyed as an after dinner beverage, it is thick, muddy and unbearably strong in all the best ways. Men are usually served water with their little cup, which always has flowers on it of some kind. While women are forced to drink as is, there are probably some sexist connotations there, but waters for wussy’s anyways.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Orange and Poppy Seed Cream Scones

I’m a little late, but happy New Year! I lost my car keys on January 1st and they turned out to be in my mums bag, OF ALL PLACES. 

I mean, who puts their keys in their mum’s bag at 4am on New Years Eve and then forgets? WHO? That’s not important, what happened before that incident was important. It involved flour and cream, additional flavours and the Kenwood KM330.  
So, lets kick off the year with scones, and not the kind that leave the roof of your mouth feeling scone-like. You know what I’m talking about, right - that seriously weird texture you get in your mouth after having a store bought scone? It’s the blindingly obvious indication that your scones weren’t really homemade from that seriously cute teahouse. 

Oh, the lies.

Scones were the first things I made in Food Technology (home ec) way back at the wee age of 11. I guess, the main reason why we made them had a lot to do with how darn easy they are to rustle up. Not to mention how delicious they are in that fattening and comforting kind of way.
From 2004 to 2013, scones involved cold butter, a knife and a tiny bit of elbow grease (by that I mean having floury hands and cutting shapes). In 2014, thanks to the Kenwood dough hook and the realization that you can produce a softer crumb with full fat cream instead of butter, the making of scones involves the flick of a button. Aaaaand the cutting of shapes that begged to be triangles but sadly, clearly, aren’t.

The trick is to let the dough hook run for half a second, until everything is just combined, because this is not breakfast brioche, but breakfast scones, studded with crunchy little poppy seeds and the faintest flavour of orange. You hardly know its there, but when you notice it; you’ll thank me for passively making you put it there.

If you don’t have a mixer, it should be your new years resolution to purchase one. But if you’re not buying it (geddit?), these beauts are made just as well by hand. Just pour your dry ingredients onto a surface, make a well, pour, knead and cut.  
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