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Easy Cakes > Chocolate Crispy Cakes 28 February 2006

Posted by cath in cakes and treats, easy, Recipes.
33 comments

Cakes and TreatsChocolate Crispy Cakes

Everyone loves these cakes, but I’m posting this recipe especially for Col…these cakes take around 10 minutes to make, after about an hour in the fridge they are ready to eat!

Basic Recipe makes about 12 cakes.

Ingredients:
200g Good Quality Chocolate – this can be Dark Chocolate (min 60% cocoa solids), Milk Chocolate or White Chocolate – it should be broken into small pieces of roughly the same size.

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp golden syrup

80-90g Cornflakes (roughly)

Preparation:

  1. Place the chocolate pieces, butter and syrup in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Place the bowl on top of a saucepan of barely simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water in the pan)
    • For white chocolate and/or AGA cooks – boil an inch or so of water in a saucepan, remove it from the heat then place your heatproof bowl on top to melt the ingredients together. The heat from the water should be sufficient to melt everything.
    • Alternatively you can put the bowl in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, in short 30s bursts, stirring each time. When almost fully melted, stop heating and stir well until smooth – the heat of the bowl and mixture should help melt the last few bits of chocolate.
  3. Melt the chocolate, butter and syrup: stir until most of the chocolate is melted and smooth, then remove the bowl from the heat (take it off the saucepan!) and continue stirring until the larger chunks of chocolate are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add the cornflakes, 1 handful at a time, stiring until they are all thoroughly coated. Then add another handful and repeat until you have a good thick coating on the cereal – you may have to add more or less cornflakes depending on the amount of butter and syrup you added to the chocolate initially.
  5. Place a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each paper case (or place them all on a buttered baking sheet) and refrigerate until set.

Chocolate Crispy Cakes

Notes:
Valrhona Grand Cru Noir Manjari Gastronomie Chocolate (64% cocoa) makes luxury dark chocolate crispies.
Other cereals could be used instead of cornflakes.

To make much stickier and sweeter versions of the same cakes:

  1. To go with Dark Chocolate, add up to 50g of butter and/or 4 tablespoons of golden syrup to the chocolate and melt together.
  2. With Milk/White Chocolate add up to 25g butter and/or 1tablespoon of golden syrup to the chocolate.
  3. Experiment with other combinations: use different syrups, add dried fruit or nuts, other cereals etc.

Be careful about adding syrup and butter to the White Chocolate cakes – as white chocolate is already much sweeter and more buttery…

When using additional sugar and butter, more cornflakes are usually needed to complete the mix.

white chocolate crispy dark chocolate crispy

Chocolate Melting

Tip # 1: Be careful when melting chocolate! If the bowl is warm and most of the chocolate is melted, REMOVE FROM THE HEAT (this means taking it away from the saucepan and hot water) and continue to stir, allowing the chocolate to melt gently.

Overheating the chocolate will produce a grainy texture. It will look dry and thick rather than glossy and smooth. There is nothing much that can be done with overheated chocolate – for cooking anyway, so start again with a fresh batch.

White chocolate is much more sensitive to heat, so take extra care when melting it.

Tip #2: Microwaving chocolate – be careful not to microwave chocolate for long blasts (more than 30 seconds) as chocolate pieces appear to remain whole and unmelted, but in fact they will hold their shape until you stir them smooth and so they could easily overheat.

Tip #3: Don’t let any water come into contact with chocolate that you want to melt, the bowl and spoon must be completely dry. Don’t add any cold liquids (i.e. extra syrup) to the chocolate once it’s melted. Additions at this time will also produce a grainy texture as they will cause the chocolate to cool suddenly.

What to do with chocolate that has overheated/become grainy?

I’m just about to try some as a chocolate spread on toast…will let you know how that goes (hmm – OK but not very easy to do!). Also melting into cream can usually recover slightly overheated chocolate, but won’t help make these cakes!

You can now print this recipe from here

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Notes > Thai Ingredients Part 2 24 February 2006

Posted by cath in general info, Info and Cooks Notes, ingredients, shopping notes, Thai food.
1 comment so far

InformationDescription of Ingredients and Substitution Ideas

Ginza (or Galangal) is a sweet ginger, pale in colour (yellow and pinkish) and can be bought either fresh in season or dried in slices (which need to be re-hydrated) or in jars. You can also buy frozen ginza, or freeze chunks of fresh ginza to keep for another day.

Ginza or Galangal

Ginger can be used as a substitute – but it has a much sharper flavour

Chillies – several types of chillies are used in Thai cooking.
Mildly spicy dishes will usually be made with the large red and green chillies. Thai birds-eye chillies are used in many of the spicier dishes. Used whole (or pierced with a knife) they produce a mildly spicy flavour and can be easily removed from the dish. Chopped finely they will produce a tasty, very spicy dish.
Traditionally (I’m told) Thai chefs will use as many birds-eye chillies as they are years old – so the older chefs make much spicier food. A small handful will usually suffice for each dish.

Red Birds Eye Chillies

Green Birds Eye Chillies

Any type of chilli can be used as a substitute.

Notes about Chillies:

  • Green chillies (young) are usually hotter than red (ripened)
  • Small chillies usually have many more seeds and are therefore hotter than the larger, plumper chillies.
  • Large Dried chillies are usually soaked before use and chopped
  • Dried Birds-eye chillies can be crushed into a dish like chilli powder
  • Chilli powder is often used as well as fresh chillies, this typically adds more heat to the dish whilst fresh chillies give a clean chilli flavour.
  • You can remove the seeds from chillies to reduce the heat.

Mushrooms – Thais often use straw mushrooms in their cooking. These can be bought in tins – however they are usually soaked in salt water so need to be washed to remove the excess salt and cut. Any type of fresh mushroom can be used instead – try brown-cap mushrooms, oyster or shitake mushrooms, wild mushrooms. Large Flat and Portabella mushrooms have great flavour – but be careful of adding these to coconut milk soup for example, as they turn the soup base very brown and slightly unappealing (although the tastes is still great!).

Beans – Snake beans are very long, fairly thin green beans, they should be cut into bite-sized pieces.

Snake Beans

You can substitute any green bean (i.e. fine beans or dwarf beans) although remember that you’ll need to buy about 3 times more!

Kaffir lime leaves are an essential Thai ingredient. They can be bought fresh, frozen or dried. They are particularly good frozen as they keep their flavour better and can be stored for months. If you buy fresh leaves, pop the rest in the freezer for use in many Thai-style dishes.

Kaffir Lime Leaves

There is no real substitute for Kaffir Lime Leaves, but if you’re stuck you could try adding some lime zest instead.
Kaffir limes have a small amount of juice, but are mainly used for their zest, which has a strong lime flavour.

Kaffir Limes

Thai sweet basil has a purple stem and darker, thicker leaves than European varieties; it has a strong aniseed flavour and smell. It is best bought fresh. Other varieties of basil can be used instead, but will not produce the same flavour of dish.

Thai Sweet Basil

Some supermarkets sell frozen Thai basil which is a good substitute for adding to curries.

Notes > Thai Ingredients Part 1 24 February 2006

Posted by cath in general info, shopping notes, Thai food.
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InformationWhere to Buy Thai Ingredients

Thai supermarkets have a wide selection of imported herbs, spices and speciality vegetables from Thailand. Also look in your local Chinese supermarket or Asian greengrocers for similar items or substitutions.

Shops In Edinburgh:

  • Nittiya Thai Market, Dalry Road
  • Aihua, West Crosscauseway
  • Hing Sing, Leith Walk
  • Pat’s Chung Ying Chinese Supermarket , Leith Walk
  • Global Fruit & Vegetables, Gillespie Place
  • Oriental Supermarket, Lauriston Place
  • Orient Thai Market, Bruntsfield Place

There are also several good shops along Argyle Place in Marchmont.

Thai Recipes > Soups > Tom Kha 24 February 2006

Posted by cath in freeze-friendly, mildly spicy, Recipes, Thai food, thai soups, variations.
6 comments

Mildly SpicyTom Kha Gaifreeze-friendly
(Coconut and Galangal Soup with Chicken)

Serves 4 as a lunch with steamed rice, or as a dish in a main meal

Ingredients:
400g (approx.) Chicken (skinned and boned) – cut into long, thin strips across the grain
Coconut milk – up to 2 tins (depends on how rich or fluid you like your soup)
Chicken or Vegetable Stock – approx. 250mls (half a pint)
3 stalks Lemongrass – lower third only, cut into 1-inch pieces
Galangal (Ginza, Pink Ginger) – peeled, at least 6 slices, approx. 5mm thick
Chillies – green or red, any size, any number (large slices or whole for a mild flavour, finely chopped for more heat)
Mushrooms – cut into segments/slices (oyster mushrooms
3 Snake Beans or a handful of long beans – cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves Garlic – crushed (optional)
1 Spring onion – sliced into diagonal chunks
5 Kaffir lime leaves – remove the stalk and tear roughly
Thai sweet basil – handful of leaves, roughly torn (optional)
Coriander – 1 small bunch, finely chop the root and stalk, roughly chop the leaves
Juice of 1 lime (to taste)
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce

Method:

  1. Shake the tins of coconut milk to mix, add 1 tin to the stock and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the mushrooms, ginza and lemongrass and simmer gently for a few minutes.
  3. Add the chillies, garlic (if using) and spring onion to the broth, this part of the broth can be simmered gently for a few minutes or as long as needed, add more coconut milk and/or stock or water to the broth to achieve the desired fluidity.
  4. Add the chicken, cook for 5 minutes on a fairly high heat, stirring as required until the chicken has turned white.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves and fish sauce; simmer gently for 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
  6. Add the chopped coriander stalk and root, bring back to a high boil to combine. Switch off the heat.
  7. Add the basil (if using) and coriander leaves and stir.
  8. Add lime juice to taste.
  9. Garnish with sliced large chillies, basil and coriander leaves.

Serve with fresh steamed thai fragrant rice and raw beansprouts.

Variations:

The dish can be made for vegetarians: use vegetable stock and varieties of mushroom (i.e oyster and shitake), asparagus, baby corn or other seasonal vegetables in place of chicken stock. Use soy instead of fish sauce.
Add the main vegetables to the finished broth (at stage 5) and simmer gently, before adding herbs and garnishing once the vegetables are cooked.

This dish is traditionally served mildly spicy, but spicier versions work really well too.

Italian-Style Variation: Try Tom Kha Gai as a sauce for pasta (e.g. linguine or tagliatelle). You will need to cut back on the liquid (stock and/or coconut milk) and reduce the sauce down or thicken it with a small spoon of cornflour mixed with a dash of water to achieve a creamy consistency. Stir into the cooked pasta and serve with the garnish.
Particularly good served spicy!