Jamie’s cook book challenge

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Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – Mushroom Risotto

Published January 17, 2011 by Mary Jane

Okies, so risotto – I’ve never made one from scratch before. The reason for that is I’m personally not a risotto fan and if you read risotto recipes they usually take around forty minutes to cook. So when I came across this recipe, I was rather interested as I’ve never made a risotto in my whole entire life. The trick of making brilliant risotto is that you can make the risotto base cooked in bulk, but it will then be stopped halfway through and held until you’re ready to put it back in the pan with a bit more stock and other flavours to finish it off.

So I decided to make the mushroom risotto – I love mushrooms and this recipe involves mixing different types of mushrooms. So here it is…

ingredients

ingredients

To make the risotto base, you have to stir fry the onion and celery and cook it very gently for about 15 minutes until soft.

Then add in your risotto rice to it and turn up the heat, don’t let the rice catch on the bottom of the pan keep moving.

then it’s time to add some white wine, you will smell the alcohol immediately, keep stiring until it has evaporated.

Then it’s time to add the stock to the rice a ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next ladle. Turn the heat down so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly…This should take around 14-15 minutes and give you rice thtat is beginning to soften but still a little al dente. Now tip the rice aside and time to cook your mushrooms…

Add a knob of butter and mushrooms with some pepper. Toss it for a minute or two…

Then add in the thyme and garlic…

then it was time to pour the rice back into the pan and continue adding some stock…

Add the rest of the stock a ladle at a time until the rice is cooked. Jamie said it should hold it’s shape but still be soft, creamy and oozy.

Now turn off the heat and add in parmesan, parsley, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. There you have it…

And it was delicious and worth the wait! However, I did do a little oopsy…I accidentally added white wine vinegar instead of the white wine when I was making the risotto base…oops..so I skipped the lemon juice part and added extra stock to wash away the vinegar taste! doh! But it still tasted really nice 🙂

Cook book challenge success? Yup!

Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – Fifteen Chocolate tart

Published December 15, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy friends, hope this post finds you all well. It’s time to get back to Jamie’s cook book challenge again 🙂 Anyways, came across this chocolate indulgence recipe and most of you guys know I love everything that’s associated with chocolate – chocolate icecream, chocolate cake, chocolate flavoured drinks, hot chocolate, chocolate cheese cake etc.. But I’m not really a chocolate on it’s own type of girl. There’s only certain chocolates I love…anyways, wanted to try out this recipe. Why did I say the recipe is full of chocolate indulgence cos even the pastry is also made with chocolate.

So here it is…

ingredients

ingredients

next step – creaming the butter, sugar and salt

next step making my chocolate pastry

now it was time to rest the dough in the fridge for an hour. I was starting to think my dough looks huge for the size of a tart tin..oh well, the recipe says to add that much flour…

time to take out the dough and roll it flat to fit onto my tart tin…honestly, there was way too much dough and I ended up rolling it to a very thick size. Fortunately, my sister in law was with me and she said the dough looks really thick, so I decided to re-roll again to a thinner size, the amount of dough we had was enough to make 2 chocolate tarts – no kidding 🙂

Then it was time to pop them into the freezer for 1/2 hour and then baking time. I had my ceramic baking beads that my little sister gave me for my birthday prezzie so they came in handy…Jamie said to blind bake the pastry.

Then it was time to make the filling – my favourite bit. Time to melt close to two full bars of chocolate, whole milk, double cream, sugar and eggs. This is going to be so rich…

So that it’s easier to pour into my tart tin, I decided to pour the filling mixture into a jug 🙂

Now it was time to pour the filling into the tart and bake it…for some strange reason, there were heaps of it left over…

Now it was time to grab the tart out of the oven. For some strange reason, the top section of the chocolate tart filling was not looking smooth at all, in fact it was bubbling when I was peeking at it inside the oven. I suspect either it was overcooked or the temperature was too high. My oven is pretty unreliable it hasn’t got a digital setting for the temperature control hence the temperature can be slightly off at times.

Time to cool the tart 🙂

Time to check out the cross section of the chocolate indulgence tart 🙂

So overall, the tart tasted really good but I reckon if I didn’t overcook the tart filling it would have been perfect and gooey inside it. But I followed the exact timing and temperature for the tart – not sure what happened there. Another strange thing is that I’m left with enough tart pastry and filling to make a second tart. So my first tart went to Church on Sunday and it was all gone left with one tiny mouth piece which went into my mouth 🙂 and the second tart I baked to take to work and my colleagues said “this tart is delicious!” but they didn’t finished it off cos they were trying to stay healthy and this rich tart was too evil and too chocolate indulgence for their liking…I admire their self-control cos I’m pretty sure it would have been gone if I took it to work back home hehehehe…I’m going to write to Jamie to tell him about his measurements, some instructions are also not very well written…After making two tarts I still had some dough and filling left over which I’m going to bake them into tiny biscuits 🙂

Cook book challenge success? Yup 🙂

Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – Nan’s lemon drizzle cake

Published November 22, 2010 by Mary Jane

okies, I think I’m on the right track of finishing all the dessert recipes in Jamie’s cook book – yay 🙂 but the savoury section..mmm…it seems like a mission impossible. Nevermind, I’ll get there eventually…so came across this easy recipe – what caught my eyes is Nan’s lemon drizzle cake. Now I’m not sure whether I have mentioned to you that there’s 3 things that I’m very patient & fond with. Elderly people, kids and animals. So Nan falls into Elderly people so immediately I have a good feeling about this cake. I’ve never baked a lemon drizzle cake before and it sounds like it’s quite fun…

Now, the recipe requires baking the cake with poppy seeds – I’m not really a seeds person but I don’t mind poppy seeds and I’ve never baked a cake with poppy seeds in them. So I was happily folding the poppy seeds into the butter, egg and flour mixture…

Then it was time to add in some lemon zest. Woo…I love lemon zest it’s going to make the cake quite tangy…

Time to pour the mixture into the cake tin and popping it into the oven…

I made sure that I set my timer on my iphone after the episode of cheese cake drama with the oven timer failing on me. It was for 45 minutes and it was time to check the cake out…

The cake seemed to have cracked at the top, but when I checked it against the photos from Jamie’s cook book his cake also had some cracks too. Then the next fun part was to use your skewer and poke tiny holes into your cake and then make your lemon syrup – heating the lemon juice with caster sugar. Then it was time to pour the lemon syrup into the cake and it’s fascinating to see the syrup gets sucked into the sponge cake 🙂 and wait for it to cool while you start making your icing…

Now for some reason, my cake doesn’t look very tall compared to Jamies. I was starting to think whether my sponge cake would taste like sponge cake anyways, I persisted on with drizzling the icing. Jamie recommended to drizzle the icing in the centre from top and it should make that drizzle effect. It did at first but I think I had too much icing and it all sort of not only covered the whole entire plate but it kinda landed around the whole cake as well. I had to quickly transfer the cake to a new plate.

Now for the moment of truth to slice a piece of cake and have a look inside…

Woo la la…the cake actually looked half decent and very moist 🙂 that’s great…

I didn’t try a piece, I popped that piece of cake back to the whole cake and brought it to church the next day. My mate had a piece and she said it’s quite nice 🙂 and when I went to grab my plate it was all empty so I guess it was edible…

Cook book challenge success? Yes!

Jamie’s cook book challenge – 1980s-style Black Forest Swiss roll

Published November 19, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy friends, hope everyone is doing well for a Friday 🙂 Well, my wrist is feeling much better now so I’m glad I took the week off work to rest my wrist let’s hope it stays this way as I’ll be returning back to work next week…

Anyways, on my day off work this week I went over to my sister in law’s place for some baking. I’ve always wanted to make some Swiss roll so came across this particular recipe from Jamie’s cook book. I’ve been told Swiss rolls are hard to make especially the rolling part. But it’ll be a challenge…or a disaster…

Anyways, the recipe starts by whisking the eggs and sugar for 2 or 3 minutes until trebled in size and when you stop the mixer and lift the beaters up the egg foam sticking to them will drip back down into the bowl. Jamie’s instruction was to count to ten and if you can still clearly see the ribbon of foam that has dripped off the beaters, then the mixture has passed the ‘ribbon test’. I’ve never heard of the ribbon test before, as you guys know I’m not very good with baking as I don’t really stick to the exact measurement. So we did what the book told us and I still don’t see any ribbons at all. So we decided to just bake the chocolate sponge. When it came out of the oven, it was a little hard and dark compared to the photo in the cook book…

Then we made the chocolate cream by mixing chocolate with cream…

It was time to cook the cherries with orange juice and orange zest and sieve the cherries and you are left with cherries syrup goodness 🙂

Then it was time to whip the cream..

Followed by chocolate shavings…

Then it was time to assemble the whole swiss roll together. First you need to brush the chocolate sponge with some cherry syrup, put a layer of chocolate cream, followed by whipped cream and sprinkle the cherries on top and you’re ready to roll the swiss roll…

It actually looks rather pretty with this initial stage of assembling. For some reason, the sponge cake was still pretty hard and I had that gut feeling I’m going to have trouble rolling this swiss roll up. I was right, while I attempt to roll the swiss roll the whole lot of fillings squeezed out and the sponge instead of rolling smoothly like a sushi roll collapsed and snapped! NO!!! I screamed!! The whole swiss roll looks like it’s been run over by a truck…or close to some one throwing up…

I was really disappointed. It was either leaving this miserable swiss roll behind or use my years of cake salvaging experience and try to salvage this swiss roll. So I attempt to transfer half of the sponge to a square container and transfer the fillings and top the other half of sponge on top so it became viola “Tira-Swiss Cake” cross between Tiramisu and Swiss roll.

We served a little piece of it for ourselves, the taste was actually quite nice except the sponge was so hard that I had to pick it up and bite it…

My sister in law decided to bake the chocolate sponge again, I really admire her persistence – pursue of excellence. If it was me, I would have given up and go with the flow. We tried to nail down what went wrong, first we thought it was the pan size so we swapped it to the correct size and then we whisk the egg and sugar extra longer to achieve the ribbon test, after 10-15 min there’s still no ribbons to be seen?? So it was time to put into the oven and bake it. Unfortunately, when we took it out it didn’t look any different from the ones we made earlier. What went wrong??? If there’s anyone out there who knows the problem, let us know. We then went online and google swiss roll and unfortunately not many recipes explains what a ‘ribbon test’ means?? So it’s still a mystery as to why our Swiss Roll failed 😦

Cook book challenge success? Nope, failed!

Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – Bloomin’ easy vanilla cheesecake

Published November 13, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello everyone, I’m so behind with Jamie’s cook book challenge with only 3 months left of Melbourne to go to do my cook book challenge, I have a feeling that I won’t be able to accomplish this. That’s ok, I can always continue when I return back to Perth 🙂

So as you guys know that I’m currently on healthy food and Pandabear isn’t too adventurous with Jamie’s food so I’ve been sticking to the dessert section of Jamie’s cook book. I came across this particular cheesecake recipe. Now I’ve baked cheesecakes before and it was disastrous simply cos I’ve either used the wrong type of cheese, trying to substitute different ingredients and over baked the cheesecake so I was hoping Jamie’s recipe will help me overcome these problems!

Here it is…

biscuit base

biscuit base

cheesecake mixture

cheesecake mixture

cherry compote

cherry compote

Okies, as you guys can tell that my cheesecake is burnt on the outside!! Yes, I couldn’t believe it I made sure that I set the timer correctly and for some strange reason the timer decided to not work on that day. So instead of baking the cheesecake for about 45min I ended up baking it for an hour+ Seriously, I was blaming the oven for not doing it’s job and thanks to Pandabear who said “your cake has been in the oven for a while” then I realised that I have forgotten about my cheesecake so I quickly ran towards the oven and it was too late. Feeling really disappointed as I was going to take this cheesecake to my friend’s house for dessert. I waited patiently to slice it open and check whether it’s still edible. To my surprise the inside was still white and moist. I decided to take it to my friend’s place anyways and try to salvage it over there…

Thankfully, thanks to my friend James who managed to use his knife skills to slice off all the burnt bits on the outside and while I was making cherry compote I got carried away staring at him salvaging my cheesecake. He said to me “how’s your cherry compote going?” I quickly remembered and ducked back to the stove “it’s all good, not burnt!” Anyways, it’s time to plate up and I decorated the cheesecake with some cherry compote and icing sugar what Jamie has instructed. Wow, it actually looks 1/2 decent and tasted quite nice. James’s wife even said she wouldn’t have noticed it was burnt and it tasted quite nice! Yay 🙂

My salvaged cheesecake

My salvaged cheesecake

Cook book challenge success? Well…..sort of…

Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – Tea-party fairy cakes

Published October 24, 2010 by Mary Jane

Anyways, I managed to bake my last Jamie’s cook book challenge before I went on a holiday. I’m kinda stuck in the dessert section as now that I’m on Jenny Craig food it’s a little hard to complete the savoury section of Jamie’s cook book as now I only cook for Pandabear but he’s not a type of guy who loves to try new food so it makes it hard. But with desserts I can bring the baked products to the church and offer it as a morning tea – so it works out well. 🙂

So I came across this recipe of tea-party fairy cakes – the photos looks amazing and I’ve baked a few cupcakes in the past but not the fairy cupcakes ones. So I checked out my pantry on one of the nights and found out I didn’t have any fresh berries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries to make the fairy cupcakes so I decided to change the recipe slightly (sorry Jamie) and substitute them with some pistachio nuts I have and top them with chocolate icing. I also had some almond flakes left in my pantry so I used them as decorations. So here it is…

Ingredients

Ingredients

This tea-party fair cup cakes recipe were made using the sponge recipe for the victoria sponge and I realised that I didn’t have the right cup cake muffin tin tray (the usual 6 muffin try tin) but I have a 4 by 6 mini cup cake muffin trays which I borrowed from my sister in law. Doh! That means I’ll have to make them into tiny cup cakes and it means I’ll have to watch out for them as they bake since they are roughly half the size from the recipe. I was thinking at this stage my cup cakes might not turn out as I might overcook them and they’ll turn out dry and nasty. Anyways, I decided to take that risk…

When I pulled out my fairy cup cakes out of the oven, they looked ok a little crumbly on the top so I had to manually trim them as some of the cup cakes were over flowing and the top side kinda makes the whole cup cakes looks lop sided so I decided to manually trim their tops hehehehe….anyways, since I didn’t have any of the fresh berries, my plans were to make the chocolate icing and drizzle them on top of the cup cakes and sprinkle some crushed pistachio nuts and poke an almond flakes on top as my decorations. The drizzling of chocolate icing were quite challenging as my cup cakes were quite tiny in size so I had to make sure the icing weren’t overflowing and making my table top very messy. But eventually I got there and finished decorating my pistachio nuts chocolate icing fairy cup cakes 🙂

When Pandabear got home that night I demand that he try one of my tea-party fairy cup cakes to make sure that they are edible for me to bring to Church on Sunday. He tried one and said it taste ok, just a little dry…but it’s edible. That was good enough for me..I knew it was going to be a little dry as I didn’t have the right size cup cake tin tray for the recipe and I might have over baked it too…so all in all it was great, I was happy my tea-party fairy cup cakes were all gone and all I have left with was my tiny empty cup cakes tray 🙂

Cook book challenge success? Sort of…

Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – The best shortbread in the world

Published October 7, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello bloggy friends, sorry I haven’t been posting lately as I’ve mentioned before I started this full-time job and it was data cleansing meaning staring at a bunch of data and trying to fit them in the correct fields. Require lots of concentration and focus which is really bad for my eyes and it started giving me headaches. So thankfully, I have now changed my work load to part-time which gives me time to do other things and rest my eyes. Anyways, I’m really excited cos this Saturday I’ll be flying out to Singapore/Malaysia for a week which means I won’t be updating my blog during that time. So I better do some now.

Anyways, I’ve been still working on Jamie’s cook book challenge – and been focusing on the dessert side of things. After the chocolate brownie which seems to make my teeth fall off every time I take a bite, I thought I’ll go with shortbread as it should be less sweet.

Ingredients

Ingredients

This recipe seemed simple enough except it feels like there’s lots of butter in it. Well, since its the best shortbread in the world I better stick to the recipe. I went and bought myself some square baked tin as I only have the round ones and off I went.

When they came out from the oven it smelt so good, buttery biscuit smell and I wait for it to cool down and sprinkle some caster sugar on top as the recipe didn’t have much sugar in it just lots of butter. It looks great, Jamie cuts them in squares, but I thought that’s a huge piece, so I sort of slice them a little smaller. Got Pandabear to try some and he said it’s nice – but very buttery.

I ended up gave some away to a friend and some to my sister in law. Which works out well as I’m on a diet.

Cook book challenge success? Yes!