Saturday, June 30, 2018

Weekend Cooking: Sponge rolls

A couple of months ago I posted about my first Bake It Box adventure where I made a beautiful Red Velvet Cake with a mirror glaze finish. In that post I said something stupid along the lines of I am going to have to complete the boxes I had before I can buy more. I'm afraid I am hooked on buying these boxes, and I always have good intentions of making them, but I do now have multiple boxes here to make.

Today, I want to talk about one of the skills that I learned through making the last box that I actually did make. The May box was for a Pattern Swiss Roll Cake which was a vanilla sponge cake filled with salted caramel whipped cream. 

The salted caramel was delicious so now I need to work out what else we can do with it so I can make some more, but today I am going to focus more on the sponge roll itself. A while ago I made a Honey Log Roll which used this technique, but I hadn't done it since. Since making this one  (well technically the second attempt) I have now made several more and feel like I now have the sponge roll technique mostly down. There's always room for improvement, but they are pretty much turning out every time now.

So firstly,about the Bake it Box

The kit came with fuchsia food colouring but I had decided I was going to make it for my partner's birthday so I went and got green colouring instead. The instructions said to create dots for the pattern, and I was really happy with how it turned out, but then when I made the first sponge, I think my dodgy oven wasn't hot enough so instead of ending up with a light and fluffy sponge I ended up with flat, cooked eggs.

I was determined not to be defeated and I had plenty of the pattern mixture left, but what I didn't have was the pattern sheet, so instead of dots, we ended up with a squiggly kind of messy design (definitely not a pattern), but it tasted amazing, and he was happy with it, which is the main thing.

One thing that perplexes me is how this is a vanilla sponge cake given that there is no vanilla in, but that gives me something to ponder in the shower and other places that I do my deep thinking!!

Sponge Roll

1/2 cup (105g)caster sugar
 1/2 tbspn (5g) corn flour
1/2 cup (65g) plain flour
4 large eggs
2 1/2 tbspn (40ml) milk
Icing sugar

Pre-heat oven to 180c (160c fan forced)

Beat the eggs and sugar for at least 5-8 minutes or until it has turned pale and nearly doubled in volume

Sift in half the flours at and a time and fold in very carefully. Pour in the mile and gently fold until incorporated.

Pour the mixture into your greased and lined tray . Drop the tray a few times to burst any air bubbles. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for just a few minutes.

Lightly sprinkle icing sugar onto a sheet of baking paper. Whilst the sponge is still warm, run a knife along the edges and carefully flip it over the dusted sheet. Slowly peel the baking paper that you lined the tin with.

Carefully flip over the sponge and then using the peeled baking paper roll the sponge. Allow to cool completely and then fill with the filling of your choice. I have been doing strawberries and whipped cream

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Weekend Cooking: Word of Mouth TV

I have soooo many Weekend Cooking posts in my head and have done for a couple of months, but the process of sitting down and writing one or more just hasn't happened. There was the post about eating while we were away in South Africa, the fact that I have become pretty good a making swiss roll style sponges in the last month or so, the fact that I made pastry from scratch, a few new recipes, the initial steps in an upcoming kitchen renovation and possibly more that I can't think of right now. Maybe some of those posts will still happen but probably not all of them.

Today, I want to post about Word of Mouth TV which is a relatively new Youtube TV show that has been put together by one of my favourite Australian authors, Kate Forsyth and her friend Sarah Mills (also an author).

The basic idea is to combine two loves, food and books, into one Youtube TV show. Each episode features an author guest who comes to eat delicious food but also to talk about their writing, their food loves, their favourite recent reads and favourite cookbooks.  The first episode featured husband and wife authors Graeme Simsion (author of The Rosie Project) and Anne Buist. Other guests have included Jennifer Egan, Richard Fidler and more.

On the Word of Mouth TV website, there are the recipes for the dishes that have been cooked for the show, plus details of the books that have been featured and by the authors that have been guests. There is a also a blog which includes a series of posts called  Iconic Literary Food Moments, which so far has included posts about Ernest Hemingway's Bellinis, fried green tomatoes (as in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg) and Charles Dickens' Sage and Onion Roast Goose

There already have been a couple of episodes that have inspired me to look for specific cookbooks, and to at least think about trying different authors.

In order to give you a taste of the type of thing you might see in this series I have included one of the Soundbites, a short video featuring author Kelly Rimmer recommending a cookbook that I have to get my hands on and soon!

My question to you all is..... if you could only recommend one cookbook that you own, which one would it be?

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thank goodness for audiobooks

As anyone who is still reading my blog knows I have had a long, long reading slump that has lasted years (no exaggeration). Whilst I am nowhere near reading as much as I did back in my hey day, I have rediscovered audiobooks this year, and so I am getting through a few books at least.

I thought that I would write a few words about the audiobooks I have listened to this year over a couple of posts. That's the plan anyway

The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick - It took me more than 4 years to read this book, which is actually a bit of a travesty because that makes it sound like I didn't really like it. I actually started reading the actual book in my pre slump days but put it down and never picked it up again. Then last year I started listening to the audiobook but then holidays and life got in the way, but finally I finished it.

Like all of Elizabeth Chadwick's books we get a great glimpse into the medieval life of her characters - in this case Alienor of Aquitaine, the only woman to be queen of both France and England. We follow her life from her marriage to Louis as a very young woman, through trials and tribulations, including plenty of scandals. Alienor is a strong woman who faces the challenges life throws at her the only way she knows - head first. There are two more books in the trilogy which I will get to eventually I'm sure. The narrator is Katie Scarfe. It took me a little while to get used to her somewhat breathy narration but I got there in the end

Ambulance Girls by Deborah Burrows - I have previously enjoyed reading Deborah Burrows' books that have been set in Australia during World War II. This time, the setting has moved to war time London, but still featuring an Australian as a main character. Lily Brennan is an ambulance officer in the Blitz, having to put herself in danger time and again as the bombs rain down. I liked Lily but there were times when I felt like her insecurities were overdone and got in the way. The narration was good from Penelope Freeman although I didn't think all the accents worked as well as it could. Like all of Burrow's previous books there was a mystery element to the book which was interesting s well as a romance. There is a a sequel to this book but unfortunately it isn't available on audio so who knows if I will get to it or not.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - I downloaded this book last year with the intention of listening to the book whilst on a road trip with the man. In the end, it ended up being just me listening to it on the commute. It was a complete change of pace to the books I had been listening to and it was a breath of fresh air. Whilst I have read lots of Pratchett books I haven't ever listened to one so I was very curious as to how this would work, and it was lots of fun. It starts when the Anti Christ is born, but unfortunately due to a case of mistaken identity he ends up living in England. When it is time for the end of the world, things don't quite work out as the gods and demons expect. I do think that the authors deserve an award for the most use of the word ineffable!

I did see that there is also a full cast performance available to listen to and then there is the TV adaptation that's coming next year as well.

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan- I actually wrote a full review of this. Shocking but true! There is a couple of more books featuring the same characters. I really should make an effort to listen to them.

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer - As narrated by Richard Armitage - le sigh. Do I need to say anymore! I have listened to this maybe 3 or 4 times now and I love it every time. In fact, I think I only last listened to it last year (when I wrote a review). That's how much I love it.  I think that Mr Armitage has been busy recording lots of audiobooks including a romance, which I am definitely going to listen to at some stage. Listening to that voice whispering sweet nothings in my ear...mmm hmmm. Could be a bit awkward if someone else gets in the car with me.

Here's hoping for a follow up post to this one with the next few audiobooks


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