Thursday, 19 April 2007

Week in Review

beginning with bread...Since diagnosed with diabetes, dad has made quite an effort to change his diet opting for brown bread instead of his favourite supermarket soft n fluffy white. We were at the shops the other day and I almost blurted out a string of profanities when I saw the price for a 350g (so-called) sourdough loaf. But seeing how samples were generously offered, I thought I should try some before jumping to conclusions.

I was so enraged how something like that could be claimed as sourdough seeing how it lacked all the necessary characteristics: the distinct complex, sour flavour from slow fermentation, the crust thin, yet crisp and the crumb, springy moist with uneven holes.

I shook my head with disappointment and in distaste, took dad aside and promised I would make him some good low GI bread... not sourdough in particular (for the starter would take at least a week to establish) but something packed with more character and plenty of love... of course.

I produced a couple of 4-seed (flaxseed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed and poppy seed) loaves which tasted slightly wheaty (from the wholemeal flour) and mildly sour (from the extended fermentation and slow proofing). The crumb was moist and heavy but soft with the subtle crunch of seeds and when toasted, it tasted so flavourful on its own. It was the perfect wholesome sandwich bread my dad needed and he loved it too!

the almost forgotten dessert... ok, this is a bit of a spill-over from the previous week when I attempted to make guinness chocolate cupcakes (which didn't taste extraordinarily stouty to me). I never got around to frosting them because I had run out of the necessary ingredients so as soon as they had cooled on the rack, I packed them away, wrapping the container with several layers of plastic (chocolate cakes seem to take on fridge odours quite readily) and somehow they made their way to the back of the fridge.

One afternoon after lunch, S wearing her sweetest smile asked me very politely if we could have some cake with ice-cream for dessert. I had almost completely forgotten about these cupcakes but I promise you, I am not usually this neglectful towards food!

Anyway, I gently heated 2 cupcakes and served them with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice-cream. The malty taste and slight tang of stout was slightly more pronounced this time but again, it didn't really leap out at you. Still, the both of us scarfed it down quite happily. S stopped mid-way to complain, "The ice-cream to cake ratio is wrong", but that was promptly solved with her returning to the kitchen for more ice-cream.

utter disappointment... all week I have been finding some excuse to use my new silicone moulds and when the opportunity presented itself in the form of yoghurt cake(lets), I couldn't let it past. After all, I am in complete favour of recipes that require the minimum of effort for gainly returns.

Now don't get me wrong, it had nothing to do with the recipe nor the moulds (the cakes turned out beautifully shaped with fluted edges). It has been passed down one generation to the next in France, it's the first cake most children learn how to make there, you can make it with an eye shut and I have tried it in the past with great success but for some reason, this batch turned out downright n-a-s-t-y.

Completely taken by the golden tops that were just bursting with the promise of the light and moist crumb beneath, I had to help myself to a cake when it was just cool enough to eat. How deceived I was and to describe the taste is to liken it to eating cakey soured milk curds with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Sounds disgusting, doesn't it? Well, I can assure you - it was. (I have to add, despite the flavour, the texture was great!).

The reasons behind this bitter disappointment, as I have just uncovered, are (a) the flour I used - an unbleached wheaten variety I normally reserve for bread and (b) the yoghurt used had already gone bad contrary to what the expiry date had stated. Oh well, at least we now know it was completely my fault and it had nothing to do with the recipe... and we are moving right along!

layer upon layer... this Indonesian layer cake, a planar version of the German baumkuchen will have to be my pride and joy for the week! Although time consuming, the batter is so simple to whip up and I found it quite a pleasure to make. I suppose I decided to make this because I reasoned its success would help me get over my yoghurt cakelet fiasco. It did.


Figur8 said...

Did I ask you ever so sweetly? Well it was good! :op Let's have some again soon!

fatboybakes said...

what fantastic food photos. was referred to your blog by friend. (friend of your brother's, apparently).

may i link my blog to yours?

li said...

we must!

thank you! and of course you can link KITCHEN MUSINGS to yours.