Saturday’s #BookCook – Harry Potter’s Treacle Tart

If you do not know who Harry Potter is, you might be living under a rock. He is a cultural phenomenon. Harry Potter books outstrip sales of every book in history, save for Lord of the Rings and The Little Prince. If you have read the stories, you may have noticed that JK Rowling uses food quite often as a prop in scenes. There are so many varieties to try: puking pasties, Bertie Bots Every Flavor Bean’s, Butterbeer. You could create whole banquets based on her fictional food and still have recipes leftover to try. However, one standout for me is the Treacle Tart.

“A moment later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavour you can think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, rice pudding… As Harry helped himself to a treacle tart, the talk turned to their families.”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

Treacle Tart’s are Harry Potter’s favorite food. That in itself washes me in nostalgia. It brings up countless hours of scintillating fantasy curled up in a chair with a fluffy blanket. Or, pouring over the last pages of book 6 at 4 in the morning after I went to a midnight book release party. It brings up good memories. Here is a recipe I found that may bring up some memories for you. The original recipe can be found here.

Courtesy of The Guardian

Treacle Tart

Serves 10

Ingredients 
Pastry
200g plain flour
2tbsp icing sugar 
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of salt
140g butter, chilled and cubed 
1 egg yolk

Filling
600ml golden syrup
A pinch of ground ginger
150g fresh fine breadcrumbs 
Zest and juice of one lemon 
1 egg

Equipment 
Mixing bowl
23cm fluted tart tin (or similar) 
Cling film 
Rolling pin
Fork 
Baking sheet/tray 
Baking paper and baking beans (or rice/uncooked beans) 
Saucepan 
Wooden spoon
Knife
Pastry brush (optional) 
Cooling Rack

 Read more

1 To make the pastry, combine the flour, icing sugar, lemon zest and salt in a bowl. Rub in the cold butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1-2tbsp of very cold water and combine with your hands in the bowl until the mixture comes together into a dough. Turn onto a lightly floured bench and bring into a ball. You shouldn’t work it too much, as the pastry won’t be crisp if you do.

2 Wrap the pastry in cling film and pop in the fridge for half an hour. Don’t be tempted to skip the chilling, as the pastry may shrink in the oven.Advertisement

3 Roll out the dough on a lightly floured bench. If the pastry is sticking – as it is wont to do in a warm kitchen – roll it between two pieces of greaseproof paper rather than straight onto the bench. Stop rolling when you have a 30cm circle that is around the thickness of a pound coin.

4 Drape your pastry over your rolling pin, or keep it on the sheet of greaseproof paper, and lay it across the fluted tart tin. Use a small ball of spare dough (rather than your fingers – your nails may cut the pastry) to push it into place, making sure it goes right into the edges. If there are any tears in the pastry, patch them up with extra dough. Lightly prick the base with a fork and return to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 190C and insert the baking sheet in the middle of the oven to heat up.

5 Line the chilled pastry case with baking paper and fill with the baking beans or uncooked beans. Place in the oven on the baking sheet for fifteen minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans and bake for a further five minutes, until golden.

6 To prepare the filling, heat the golden syrup and ground ginger in a saucepan over a low heat until hot, but not boiling. Stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice and one beaten egg until just combined, and pour into the pastry case.

7 Return to the oven and bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set and the pastry golden. Cool on a wire rack for fifteen minutes before removing from the tin and serving warm with crème fraîche, sour cream or ice-cream. Leftovers (should there be any) should be reheated a little in the oven before eating, or you risk losing a tooth!

Saturday Book Cook Up – Deadpool or “I can say Chimichanga in seven languages.”

Deadpool vs. Cable #13

According to wikipedia “Chimichanga (/tʃɪmiˈtʃæŋɡə/; Spanish: [tʃimiˈtʃaŋɡa]) is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in Tex-Mex, Southwestern U.S. cuisine. The dish is typically prepared by filling a corn tortilla with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, beans, machaca (dried meat), Carne adobada (marinated meat), Carne seca (dried beef), or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried and can be accompanied by salsa, guacamole, sour cream or cheese.”Deadpool loves it citing multiple times throughout the various comics and movie that he loves some chimichangas or more importantly, he enjoys saying the word chimichanga. Also beloved are pancakes, enchiladas, and tacos.  All are welcome in his twisted world.

Fun Fact: Chimichangas possibly came about in the 1920s when an owner of a Mexican restaurant, when dropping a burrito in the fryer accidentally, began to curse. Having stopped herself before the cursing came to fruition, she said the word chimichanga. 


Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 flour tortillas (10 inches), warmed
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped jalapeno peppers
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, onion, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic and cumin.
  • Spoon about 1/3 cup of beef mixture off-center on each tortilla. Fold edge nearest filling up and over to cover. Fold in both sides and roll up. Fasten with toothpicks. In a large saucepan, combine the chilies, peppers and remaining tomato sauce; heat through.
  • In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 1 in. of oil to 375°. Fry the chimichangas for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with sauce.
Nutrition Facts

1 chimichanga: 626 calories, 41g fat (9g saturated fat), 37mg cholesterol, 1094mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 6g fiber), 19g protein.

Originally published as Beef Chimichangas in Quick Cooking May/June 1998

What am I eating? Homemade Almond Milk

13701620155_003dd8caf1_z.jpg
Image courtesy of tasty-yummies.com

In a bid to try new things and learn about how to prepare fresher foods, I came across the idea of making my own nut milk. This is not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination, but new to me. I was always under the impression that doing things like making your own nut milk or coconut butter required a lot of machines, know-how, and time. All of which I am in short supply of. I do like almond milk from the store, but I find that I am getting really picky with it. If it isn’t one particular brand that I like it tastes metallic and almond milk is not supposed to taste like a copper penny right? bleh.

13701634563_457dec5e49_z.jpgA few days ago, I found a very easy guide (which I will post below) and gave it a go. What came out was the most delicious creamy wonderful almond milk I have ever had. I am digging it, plus it is fun to try out new and sometimes better ways of doing things. Give it a try. If you can use a blender you can do this. Pistachio milk?! Yes, please!

 

 

 

 

 

How To Make Various Milks

Homemade Nut Milk
makes 1 quart

  • 1-2 cups raw unsalted organic nuts*
  • 4 cups filtered or purified water

Optional:

  • pinch of himalayan sea salt (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoon local raw honey or other sweetener (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1) Soak your nuts and vanilla bean (if you are using one) for at the appropriate amount of time (see above chart for appropriate soaking times)

2) Discard soaking water and rinse your nuts and the vanilla bean.

3) Place soaked nuts, the whole soaked vanilla bean (you can chop it up or split it open if you wish) or vanilla extract, honey (or other sweetener), a dash of sea salt and 4 cups of water in a blender. Cover and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. It will be milky and have a bit of foam on the top.

4) Strain milk through a nut bag and squeeze into a bowl. (see my suggestions below on what I use)

SERVE.

I Try Ras el Hanout

#715 of 1001 Foods to Try Before You Die

 

 

jDOHDYbTSHiiH8IDHGlz-Ras-El-Hanout-Roasted-Potatoes_0575.jpg
Image courtesy of genius kitchen

 

 

I have decided that I am going to tackle the aromatics section of the list. I figure aromatics ship easier and I can make recipes at home for the fam. Much easier than say trying to ship a weird type of fish only found in Iceland. Why don’t I ever make things easier for myself?

I found a little baggie of this spice at the local World Market for 2.99. Duuuuuuuude. I was absolutely shocked. I have been looking and looking to get my hands on any of this and was sadly resorting to ordering from Amazon and their prices for it. I love trying new things, but 12.99 a little steep for a spice I may never use again. This was a great find.

Let me tell you about the glory that is this spice. Close your eyes.. they closed? OK.

Imagine that you are walking around a long street made of cobbled stone. You are in a Morrocan spice market. People are hustling around you hawking their wares. You are being bombarded with foreign (to me a least) sights, sounds, and smells. Especially, the smells that permeate the air are a concoction of all things deeply spiced. Not hot spices with their peppery overtones, But things like cinnamon, and cardamon. Deeply comforting spices that you want to roll around in and sip in tea.  This is what this spice made me think of when I smelled it, and the glory of it when I tasted it. I don’t know if it is accurate. I have never been to Morroco. But man, this is one of the best things I have ever smelled. It tasted even better.

I made a recipe I found on Pinterest via genius kitchen that used Ras El Hanout with potatoes. I can see how this spice could lend itself to pretty much anything. It is very versatile. Make sure you boil the potatoes first. Good luck! Make it, your house will smell amazing.

READY IN:

30mins

SERVES:

4

UNITS:

US

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g white potatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons ras el hanout spice mix
  • olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/Gas mark 7.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes in half and boil until ‘al dente’. Make a dressing by mixing the juice of one lemon, garlic, and Ras El Hanout. In a hot oven, pre-heat oil in a baking tray.
  3. Once par-boiled, drain the potatoes in a colander and toss the potatoes to encourage a fluffy outer. Place the potatoes in a mixing bowl with the dressing and ensure that the potatoes are covered. Transfer the potatoes into the hot tray and roast for 25 minutes.

What am I eating? Pimenton de La Vera

download

#680 on 1001 Foods to Try Before You Die

I finally found something I can get my hands on to try. Pimenton de La Vera is a smoked Spanish paprika. It is used in pretty much everything in Spanish cuisine. Which mean that I am sure I have had it before at some point. I love tapas. However, I wanted to single out the flavor profile so I could really try it.

I think in general I prefer Hungarian Paprika. I have no idea what the difference is, but I put paprika on my fried eggs constantly and the Hungarian stuff has a slightly different profile that accented the eggs better. That being said, this is good stuff. Smoky and spicy at the same time without being crazy overpowering where all you can taste is chilis. It was great! If you are interested you can get it at Amazon or any fancy grocery store. I got mine at New Seasons for 5 dollars a jar.

I Try a Boston Cooler

BostonCooler_tmwddp.jpg
Image from atlasobscura.com

Once again, in my attempt to try the unusual I came across a “recipe” for this drink on one of my favorite sites, atlasobscura.com In a section called gastro obscura people write in on local favorites of their homes. A Northeastern treat of the US is a soda shake that is made from ginger ale and vanilla ice cream. Sometimes blended, often times just a float. It is a spicy and foamy treat that is perfect on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Normally this treat is made with Vernor’s Ginger Ale, but I couldn’t find any after visiting three grocery stores so I settled for a locally made spicy ale that was made with real sugar instead of corn syrup. Pretty good stuff. It is delicious, and I think I prefer it to the famous root beer float that is so popular in the United States. Root beer lends itself to tasting rather medicine like, while good ginger ale is spicy and creamy. Definitely try it if you can find a good ginger ale, or make your own. (Which is another adventure entirely)

 

The recipe is taken from https://www.geniuskitchen.com/

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ginger ale (Vernors is the best)
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Directions

  1. Pour ginger ale in very large glass.
  2. Add 1 large scoop of ice cream.
  3. It will foam quite a bit. You may add more ginger ale or ice cream, to suit your taste.
  4. Enjoy!

Have You Ever Had Peanuts in Your Coke?

coke-and-peanuts-604-604-337-377d9740.rendition.598.336
(Photo Credit:  Photograph by Ashley Callahan)

Weird right? I come from a family with quite a few southerners. My dad is a out and out southerner from East Tennessee. I have tried many southern staples from his childhood: ice box cake, ham hock and lentil soup, hard cake, but until recently I had no idea that this was a thing let alone a beloved treat for many families. Apparently the rumor goes that farmers from the south would pop their peanuts in their Coke so they didn’t have to touch the nuts with dirty fingers. No idea the validity of that, but according to the Coke.com website southerners have been having their coke this way since the 1920’s.

There are even recipes for cake with the peanut coke flavor pairing. They Look delicious! I mean cake… but after trying this pairing of peanuts and Coke for experimentation purposes it is a must bake for me now.

This is a gorgeous flavor combination. It is salty and sweet all at the same time. If you are a fan of salted caramel or anything of its ilk, you will dig it. Go out and buy a coke and a pack of salted peanuts and give it a try and who knows? Maybe you will become a southern convert and start frying everything and drinking sweet tea.

b7ac59a6-fcff-42af-bb3a-a34045c99a03--2018-0523_coke-peanuts-sheet-cake_3x2_ty-mecham_002
Photo credit

Recipe from http://www.food52.com

Serves: 24–30

For the cake

  • 2 cups Coca-Cola
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pats
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup peanuts (roasted and salted), chopped, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

  2. To make the cake, place the cola, dark brown sugar and cocoa powder into a medium sauce pot and mix to combined being careful not to fizz over the cola. Add the butter. Place over a medium heat and bring the mixture to a bubble, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

  3. While the mixture cools, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Pour the slightly cooled but still a bit warm chocolate-cola mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into a large ungreased sheet pan or jelly roll pan. The pan should be about 12×16 (half-sheet pan size) but any similarly sized pan should do the trick.

  4. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the middle to check for doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, remove. If not, bake for 5 minutes more. Time may vary with the size of your pan. Remove from oven and let cool.

  5. To make the frosting, mix together the peanut butter and butter in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Once well combined, slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar at a low speed. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, carefully add in the salt, cream and vanilla extract. Once the ingredients have come together, turn the mixer on high and beat for 20 seconds just to incorporate a little air and to “fluff” the frosting.

  6. Frost the cake. And garnish the top with peanuts.

  7. Slice the cake and enjoy with a chilled bottle of Coca-Cola because, why not?