Monday, 30 January 2012

Green Tea Scones



As mentioned in this month’s Daring Baker’s post, I made Green Tea scones. 

Green tea scones?! Whaatt ?

Anyway this was the perfect excuse to finally get on with it as this recipe has been on my mind for months. My sheer laziness is the reason why I never got around to actually baking it!
I also have to be honest, as the end product initially got some strange reactions with someone even proclaiming that it looked mouldy. You may ask, why wreak a perfectly delicious scone. My answer would be because I have an insatiable addiction to green tea. Also in my defense, green tea seems to be everywhere these days, in cakes, mousses, ice-creams; so why not incorporate it into a traditionally British scone and see what happens.

Once again, my green tea addiction has been justified. These scone came out perfectly delicious, soft and light. The crumb texture was pretty much spot on and the earthy flavor of green tea powder was subtle but definitely distinctive. It’s not a sweet scone but pairs well with citrus jams or curds as well as sinful yet luscious clotted cream.
So go on, give this fusion scone a try today and be blown away.


Green Tea Scones


Adapted from BBC Good Food

Makes 7 scones

Ingredients

220g self raising flour
2 tsp green tea powder (matcha powder)
¼ tsp salt
50g salted butter, chopped into small pieces and chilled
50g caster sugar
125ml buttermilk
Jams/curd/clotted cream to serve

NB: To make buttermilk, add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and set aside for 10 minutes.

Method 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Measure flour, green tea powder and salt. Sieve 3 times into a large bowl.
  2. Add the chopped butter and rub it into the flour using your fingers to create a medium sized crumb texture. When rubbing the butter into flour, lift it to aerate the mixture. Do not over-mix.
  3. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture with a butter knife and pour in ¾ of the buttermilk. Using the knife, mix the flour with the buttermilk until it starts to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Add more buttermilk if necessary.
  5. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead the mixture 3-4 times until the cracks have disappeared.
  6. Pat the dough gently to a thickness of 2-2.5cm. Dip the cutter into a bowl of flour, to prevent sticking. To cut the scones, press the cutter down firmly and quickly into dough. Don’t twist the cutter. As you press the cutter down, you will hear the dough giving a big sigh.
  7. Gather trimmings and repeat step no.6.
  8. Brush tops of scones with milk/remaining buttermilk.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden.
  10. Serve immediately with jam, curd or clotted cream. Or all together! 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Daring Bakers' January 2012 - Scones



Scones, scones, scones. The quintessential English teatime treat usually served with clotted cream and jam. Having lived in Bath, cream teas were a common occurrence. Every time a friend visited, I’d find myself sitting in a quaint cafe, sipping on tea and slathering sinful amounts of clotted cream on my freshly made scone.

It is these times that I find myself missing the UK and especially Bath..
For the first Daring Bakers Challenge of 2012, Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

To clear up any confusion our American friends call these biscuits, and are usually served as part of a main meal. Despite the various terminologies, it is a known fact that scones/biscuits incredibly cheap to make and takes hardly any time to make.

Scones can be sweet or savoury, with an endless possibility of flavour profiles. In fact in the spirit of the challenge I decided it was finally time to unveil the Green Tea Scones recipe that I have been developing. This recipe will be posted later this week.

We were given many handy tips to help us achieve perfect scones; light, fluffy with a perfect balance of flavours.  These tips as well as the challenge recipe can be found here.


Top to bottom: Triple sifted flour, chopped & chilled butter, medium sized fat particles, incorporating the buttermilk into flour, cookie 'scone' cutter, scones fresh out of the oven.

I used my trusted buttermilk scones recipe in this instance as these scones never let me down. Plus there is no need for baking powder which can sometimes produce ‘powdery’ scones. Although I used a different recipe to what the challenge called for, I incorporated the various techniques shared to improve this recipe even further.

It seems that triple sifting flour, which permits plenty of air to the mixture which in turn creates a more light and fluffy scone. Also make sure that the dough remains sufficiently moist, as it creates a lighter scone.

With all scones, it’s important not to overwork the dough as it affects the texture, creating rock hard scones. 









Buttermilk Scones

Adapted from BBC Good Food

Makes 7 scones

Ingredients

225g self raising flour + extra flour for dusting
¼ tsp salt
50g salted butter, chopped into small pieces and chilled
25g caster sugar
125ml buttermilk
Jams/curd/clotted cream to serve

NB: To make buttermilk, add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and set aside for 10 minutes.

Method 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Measure flour and salt and sieve 3 times into a large bowl.
  2. Add the chopped butter and rub it into the flour using your fingers to create a medium sized crumb texture. When rubbing the butter into flour, lift it to aerate the mixture. Do not over-mix.
  3. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture with a butter knife and pour in ¾ of the buttermilk. Using the knife, mix the flour with the buttermilk until it starts to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Add more buttermilk if necessary.
  5. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead the mixture 3-4 times until the cracks have disappeared.
  6. Pat the dough gently to a thickness of 2-2.5cm. Dip the cutter into a bowl of flour, to prevent sticking. To cut the scones, press the cutter down firmly and quickly into dough. Don’t twist the cutter. As you press the cutter down, you will hear the dough giving a big sigh.
  7. Gather trimmings and repeat step no.6.
  8. Brush milk/leftover buttermilk on top of scones.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden.
  10. Serve immediately with jam, curd or clotted cream. Or all together! 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Chunky Mango Kerabu


How are the resolutions coming along so far? I made some life changing decisions with regards with food and exercise in December and so far I’ve managed to keep to it.  I am currently training for a half-marathon so it’s all systems go at the moment.

In an attempt to clean up my diet, salads have become a regular fixture and I’m always thinking of ways to spice up salads and this recipe is exactly what I’m talking about.

Mango Kerabu is a popular salad in Malaysia which will tantalise your tastebuds and excite your senses. Comprising of simple ingredients, this salad is perfect served cold. Think tangy, sweet, refreshing and spicy all combined in one colourful dish. This salad is usually served with rice and other side dishes but I quite enjoy it as a meal on its own.

The vegetables and fruit in an authentic Mango Kerabu is usually grated quite thinly unlike what I’ve done here. I sliced the mango and carrots into thick slices to make it feel like a substantial salad for lunch.
In this instance, I used a mango, carrots, shallots, ginger flower, fresh herbs and a couple birds’ eye chillies. Other times I’ve added cucumbers or slightly unripe papayas. Fresh herbs can range from coriander, mint and basil or mixture of all.

Topped with crunchy peanuts, the freshness of this salad is simply addictive. Don’t wait for the summer to try this delightful salad, do it today!


Chunky Mango Kerabu

Serves 1 as a main meal, or 2-3 as a side dish

Ingredients

Semi ripe mango, sliced thickly or shredded
Large carrot, sliced thickly or shredded
3 shallots, sliced thinly
Birds eye chillies (optional)
Fresh herbs; mint, coriander, basil
Ginger flower, sliced
Crushed peanuts

Dressing
Lime, juiced
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce/ light soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
Dash of pepper

Method

Combine all ingredients for dressing and set aside.
In a bowl, combine all salad ingredients and toss with salad dressing.
Serve immediately. If not, chill salad and seasoning separately until ready to serve.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Moules Marinière

Moules Marinière is my favourite way of enjoying mussels. The French got it spot on by steaming mussels in a concoction of white wine, onions, garlic and cream. There is nothing better than tucking into a huge bowl of steaming mussels with a side of fresh crusty bread or chips (Belgium style) to dip into the sauce with.

Not only is this a delicious way of enjoying seafood but it’s sustainably sourced and rich in nutrients.  Mussels are also incredibly cheap and low in calories. I’ve been told that a portion only contains 90 calories!  



For a dish to impress, you only need fresh herbs, a few cloves of garlic, onion, white wine and double cream. Preparing mussels is takes hardly any time and if possible try and buy mussels that have been de-bearded. If not, the simple guide below should be helpful.



The beard of a mussel is a combination of many fibres which emerge from the mussel’s shell. De-bearding is a simply process, hold the mussel in one hand and pull the beard with the other, giving it a sharp yank. Discard the beard and put the cleaned mussel in a bowl of clean water.
Try it today, you won’t regret it!


Moules Marinière

Adapted from BBC Good Food 

Serves 4

Ingredients

1kg mussels
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Half onion, chopped
15g butter
Bunch of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
120ml white wine
120ml double cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve

Method
  1. Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water. Discard any opened mussels that won't close even after being lightly squeezed.
  2. Pull out the fibrous beards that protrudes out of the tightly closed shells. Give the clean mussels another rinse in cold water to remove any remaining broken shells.
  3. Soften the garlic and onions in a large pan with butter and parsley. Set aside a handful of the chopped parsley which will be used as a garnish. *The pan used should be large enough that it should be half full when the mussels are added.
  4. Add the mussels and wine, turn up the heat and cover and the them steam in their own juices for 3-4 minutes. Give the pan a good shake every now and again.
  5. Add the cream and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Remove from heat and spoon mussels into large warmed bowls.
  7. Top with remaining chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread.