Sunday, 30 December 2007

Birthday spread - part 2

Here's hoping third time's the charm! Now I see that if instead of composing in the Picasa window, I had typed it up here, good old Blogger would have been auto-saving my efforts. Ah well, you live and learn. So here are some close-ups and recipes from the birthday party.

Chocolate cupcakes
This recipe has fast become my favorite chocolate cake recipe, it's fool-proof, i.e. me-proof.

Makes about 2 and half dozen cupcakes. [The original recipe from Gourmet is for a 9 inch round layer cake. ]

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (not dutch-process)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 deg. line 2 12-muffin trays, or 2 9-inch round pans. I had enough batter left over for a 4 inch round cake after filling the two muffin pans.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Beat the sugars and butter in a larger bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer until light, can take several minutes with a handheld. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well each time. Add melted chocolate and vanilla until. Now alternately add the buttermilk (1/3rd at a time) and flour (1/4th a time) ending with flour. Mix until just combined and spoon into muffin cases. Bake for about 20 minutes, or 25-35 if using the round pans.

White Chocolate frosting

8 oz white chocolate, broken into large pieces
1/2 cup cream
4 oz butter
12 oz confectioner's sugar
Melt the chocolate with the butter over a pan of simmering water. remove from heat and whip in the cream and the sifted icing sugar, keeping whipping until smooth and thick. refrigerate for about thirty minutes before using. I was a little hasty in using it, with the clock ticking and all, so it was a bit soft and drippy, but i had some leftover that i used later that was perfect for piping. I divided the icing into four bowls and used Ateco gel colors -- green, blue and pink in three of them. I had ordered the colors from Amazon for Halloween, but they hadn't arrived on time, but at least I had them for the birthday.

Pipe or spoon onto the cupcakes and enjoy!

Raspberry Financiers

adapted from here

4 egg whites
Scant 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
11 tablespoons butter (i used 9 because the almond meal has more fat than flour)
Scant 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup almond flour (i used almond meal)
1/2 pint fresh raspberries (about 24)

Mix the egg whites and sugar in a medium bowl over saucepan filled with simmering water and stir until until the whites warm slightly and the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a small saucepan, cook the butter on medium heat until it browns and gives off a nutty aroma. Don't overcook and remove promptly from heat when you see golden sediments at the bottom (FYI, this cooked butter is the ghee used in Indian cooking).
In a large bowl whisk the egg white mixture at low speed. Gently add the flour, followed by the almond flour, and mix just enough to combine. Add in the warm butter in a thin stream, mixing at low speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and continue to mix 10 seconds so the batter is completely combined. Here is the strange part: cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight (I did overnight so there would be one less thing to do the day of the party).
When ready to bake, take out the batter and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter 2 miniature muffin pans (it's OK if you have only one, you can do them in batches). Fill the molds two-thirds full with batter, about one generous tablespoon, and place a fresh raspberry on top of each. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Repeat if you have any batter remaining, or using one tray.
Each financier: 77 calories; 1 gram protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 5 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 11 mg. cholesterol; 8 mg. sodium.

Chicken Rolls

I was inspired to make this from a recipe on Delia Smith's website... she's my mom's favorite TV cook. I decided to go with chicken, hoping it would be healthier, and because several of my guests do not eat beef. For the chicken mixture, i went with a traditional family recipe for meatballs.

2 pounds chicken, ground
2-3 green chiles (jalapeno or serrano)
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
1 inch ginger chopped coarsely
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 large bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
1 medium onion, (yellow or red)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp or less of crushed red chile (not cayenne powder)
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp unseasoned bread crumbs
10 puff pastry sheets


Pulse the green chiles, salt and cumin for a few seconds, until chiles are chopped. Add ginger and garlic, if using (it gives an Indian-restaurant style seekh kebab taste) and pulse until combined and there are no large pieces. Add the onions, then cilantro and pulse until you get a coarse mixture. Remove into a bowl and add ground chicken ((if you can't get ground chicken, you can use chicken breasts and chop them and whiz them in a processor with other ingredients), black pepper, crushed red chiles and vegetable oil. Mix well and taste, and adjust salt and pepper according to taste. If the mixture seems a little wet, add the bread crumbs.
I was too chicken to use the mixture uncooked -- I had visions of soggy pastry as the meat gave off water. So I shaped the meat into rolls the length of the pastry sheets, about 4 inches, and laid them in single layer in a heavy saute pan and let it cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes or until the water evaporates.
Next, heat the oven to 375 degrees. To assemble, place one roll on each pastry sheet (i added a slice of onion and tomato) roll up, and cut in two and place on a greased baking tray. Bake until golden brown.

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Aamena said...

aapa! wow some work! I love the colourful cupcakes, and the raspberry financiers look so cool with the dent the raspberries have left... and the chicken roll looks fab... you better come home soon and make some, no chickening out!

aamena said...

hey how did your cupcakes get so dark without dutch process cocoa, mine are always a shade of brown.. and i like the colour of yours.. i like chocolate cakes to be more black than brown...

aisha said...

i think it must be the ratio... also this recipe called for brown sugar and melted chocolate