Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Spicy Cake and a 20 year Celebration

Normally I had planned to post my Daring bakers post, but I guess that one will have to wait for a week more.
Today I want to post a Special good news.
Today we are celebrating Our 20 th Wedding Anniversary.
Looks like years have just flown.
Ofcourse as most of the marriage we have had Good times and Bad Times. But it is the plenty of Good times that I want to celebrate.

And we indeed are celebrating today with our family with a small party, I was telling hubby dear why did we get married on  this month as there is so many parties in this short time that no one would want to eat anything anymore :-) But I guess we have not trouble in clebrating with good family, food wine and good food.
Now I din't make this cake especially for today.
This is my christmas cake but I thought as it is a celebration I would post this Delicious Spicy Christmas Cake. I made this last year and I loved it so much and this has ended up beeing my sisters and friends favourite recipe and mine too as I made them again this year.
I did add some 150 gm more fruit than the original recipe and soaked the fruits for almost 3 weeks and then made the cake and left it to mature for another 2 weeks. Before wrapping up the cake for maturing poked witha tooth pick on top and poured 2 tabp of Brandy.
I coverd the cake with Marzipaan and the snowman and the snow flakes I did with Royal Icing.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Chocolate Rice Krispie

Today it Has been such a dull weather, but still Hubby and I went to Brugges City for doing frw Christmas Shopping and the worst things was while we were there it started pouring down. And I was saying that it is not a good weather to go nside and out to the shops. The best thing about shopping on a rainy morning is that there is not that much people in the shops and one can look to things without people looking over you.
Now to the recipe, this is not the firs time I makes these delicious Rice Crispies, I have made them before, but didn't get achance to take a picture .
This I made last month and send a box full with Shyama for her friends. And thekids they loved it , S said it was finished in a flash and even a kids who don't like chocolate ate it .
If you want to give home made gifts this would be excelent.
The original recipe is from  What the Fruit Cake here
Chocolate Rice Krispie
45g Unsalted Butter
280g Marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies
400g Dark Chocolate
Wilton pink food color or any color and brand you like.
200 to 250 gm chocolate as mine had a real thick layer of chocolate on top.
Butter a 9"x9" dish or line with parchment paper I used foil and overlapped the sides .
This is her Tip; Tip: I prefer using parchment as it's easier to remove the treats by lifting them out by the parchment overhang which makes it easier to cut into portions once it's out of the dish
In a low heat in a saucepan, melt the butter .
Add the marshmallows and stir until melted
Stir in the food color.
Remove from heat
In a large bowl, combine the Rice Krispies  with the melted marshmallow mixture

Stir until thoroughly combined. I ;ust say this took a bit of stirring as it is stick a bit.

Tip: This is the really sticky part and if you're in a cooler climate it's best to do this with your bowl over simmering water so that the marshmallow stays warm, I agree as i used this tip and it worked for me very well.
Press into your prepared dish
Tip: Her Tip :I found it best to use a small piece of buttered parchment paper to spread and press the mixture a clever tip use it as it really helps.

Leave to set while you prepare the chocolate
Melt the chocolate in a heat resistant bowl over simmering water. I did in the MW.
Pour the chocolate over the Rice Krispies and tilt the dish a little in each direction so that the chocolate moves around and coats the top evenly or spread with a spatula
Allow the chocolate to set.
I have ;ade this twice and i usually am in a hurry so i put the tray in the freezer for a while and the take it out and cut in squqres with a sharp knife.


Monday, 13 December 2010

Gingerbread Men/Woman

Gingerbread dates back to the 15th century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the 16th century.
The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits appearing was in the court of Elizabeth I of Egland.She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the amazing likeness of some of her very important guests
Most gingerbread men share the same roughly humanoid shape, with stubby feet and no fingers.
Many gingerbread men have a face, though whether the features are indentations within the face itself or other candies stuck on with icing or chocolate varies from recipe to recipe.
Other decorations are common; hair, shirt cuffs, and shoes are sometimes applied, but by far the most popular decoration are shirt buttons, which are traditionally represented by gum drops, icing, or raisins.

Information thanks to Wiki
Every year in December I want to make Gingerbread Men/Woman but I never do something happens or I make something else and the reason for not making them just go on and on.
This year I promised myself I will make the for sure.
And as you can see i kept the promise to myself and made them.
Ok I made them and Shyama helped me to Decorate :-)
Yesterday when she went to college I send the whole lot of these cookies with her , ofcourse before packing them in a box, I took one and shared with three as I wanted to know how they tasted and they indeed taste really good.
I love the ginger taste in these cookies.
I made the mix for decorating the cookies after baking them.
Recipe is from Taste.com.au and you can find it here

Makes 20

Melted butter, to grease
125g butter, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
1 egg, separated
375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice ( I didn't have it but I had speculoos spice which I used )
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Plain flour, to dust
150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
8-10 drops red liquid food colouring ( Use any color you like and I used Wilton color so i just only had to add a little bit not so much as in theoriginal recipe)
8-10 drops green liquid food colouring
Smarties, to decorate


Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush 2 baking trays with melted butter to lightly grease.

Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

Meanwhile, place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Divide icing among 3 bowls. Cover 1 bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Add red colouring to 1 bowl and stir until combined.
Add green colouring to remaining bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick. Use a 9cm gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes. Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Place prepared icings in small plastic bags. Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate. Finish with Smarties.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

About Me

I have been thinking to make a special page About Me.But every time I say to myself, there is nothing that special to write about me so that plan just stay like that,
but then as you can see I have done a page :-)

I started Cooking after I got maried, and I discovered I have a passion for Cooking and Baking .
So years ago when I came across some food blogs, I thought why not start one of my own.
I really didn't think that I would keep on blogging for so long, I thought I will start blogging and then after a month or two I will get fed up and give it up.
But as you can see I haven't, it has ended up beeing a passion and something I really enjoy doing.

Photography.Ok now this is something discovered years later after I started blogging. And in the end I bought a medium price DSLR Camera and now I fully enjoy taking pictures , especially food pictures.
Updated. Now I have a 50 mm lens which I love using when I take food pictures.

If you are trying my recipes.Sometimes I think when you cook something you have to feel it.
Like if you make a sauce, even while using a recipe you should feel the way it get thicker, etc....
There are times when I make a recipe I just go with the feeling, like sometimes I might add more water, Cream to a certain dish even though the original recipe has asked less or more.
I always say what ever recipe you try you should make according to your liking and your families.

About My Name

I used Happy Cook when I started the blog as I thought it is a temporary thing this blogging, I never thought it will last  so long, so the name Happy Cook stayed on , untill a year ago I thought I should share my real name Finla with my blog readers, but then lot of my readers wanted me to keep my Happy Cook Name so the name still stays :-)
Edited on 28/11/2012 after all these years of blogging I fully started using my name :-) Finla.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tiramisu With Mangoes and Peach Tea

When ever I ask my niece for dinner she ask me would I make Pannacotta for her as she is really crazy for them and always she ask would you make with mangoes.
And I have been doing that each time that for her and when there was a party here at home she asked me are you going to make Mango pannacotta !!!!!!!
And I so much wanted to try another dessert but didn't want to disapoint her made something with mango but then in Tiramisu.
I know magones are out of season, fortunatley we get Mangoes in the freezer section and as the mango pieces had to be soaked in the peach tea, it didn't matter if it was fresh of frozen mangoes.
Of course if it was season I would have gone for fresh mangoes.

Serves 4
4 coconut Macaroons ( i bought from the bakers) but if you want to make your own there are lot of recipes you can find, like from Ina Garten's)
2 egg yolk ( I added only one)
230 gm sugar ( I added less sugar)
100 ml cream
Grated zest of halg orange
300 gm ripe mangoes slin removed and cut in big cubes
3 gm peach tea ( that is one tea bag)
1/2 vanilla stick
1 star anise seed.
In a pan boil 250 ml water with the rest of the sugar, vanilla stick abd the star anise.
When the water is boiling  off the heat,add the tea , close with a lid and leave it for 4 minutes.
Strain the sauce add the mangoes and cook tgem in a very soft fire for 5 minutes.
Let the mixture get very cold.
In a bowl with a fork combine the mascarpone, egg yolks, 100 gm sugar and the orange zest.
Whipp up the cream and coĆ¹bine with the above ingridients.
In each glass dipp one macaroon with the tea/mango liquid and place them int he bottom.
Add a layer of the mascarpone mixture. Add a layer of the mango pieces, then add another layer of the cream, deocrate with few piees of the mangoes.
Keep in the fridge for at least 3 hours before you serve.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Battenberg Cake

The origin of the name is not clear, but one theory claims that the cake was created in honour of the marriage in 1884 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg , with the four squares representing the four Battenberg princes: Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph.

Battenberg cake is a light sponge cake. When cut in cross section, displays a distinctive two-by-two check pattern alternately coloured pink and yellow. The cake is covered in marzipan and, when sliced, the characteristic checks are exposed to view. These coloured sections are made by dyeing half of the cake mixture pink, and half yellow, then cutting each resultant sponge into two long, uniform cuboids, and joining them together with apricot jam, to form one cake. Established variations are for coconut flavouring to the sponge cake and lemon curd or raspberry jam in place of apricot jam.

You can make this cake without the special pan, but then you just have to slice them .
And me and slicing never go that good, as I know for sure I would not slice properly so I have been waiting to buy this pan for a while.
This time I made Vanilla flavoured cake and colored one half oink, next time I am gonna try diferent flavours like Vanilla and Chocolate too.

I used the recipe which was there together with the pan.
175 gm (60 ozs ) butter
175 gm (60 ozs) sugar I used only 130 gm sugar3 eggs
175 gm (60 ozs ) selfraising flour
2 tsp vanilla essence
Few drops of pink colouring
6 tbsp Apricot jam
350 gm Marzipan
Sugar for dusting

Pre heat the oven to 180° c ( 350 F) Gas mark 6; grease and flour the Battenburg pan.
Cream together the butter and sugar and vanilla untill light and creamy.
Gragually add the beatern eggs.
Fold in the flour.
Divide the mixture into tow equal halves.
Put a few drops of pink color into one of the mixture and gentley mix intill an even colour is achieved.
Spoon the pink mixture into the two section of the tin, and the plain mixture into the other two sections.
Place in the center of the oven and bake for approximatley 30 - 35 minutes or untill evenly coloured and firl to touch.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin.
If the cake has rissen above the tin, use a sereated knife to cut accross the top to remove the excess cake. Remove the cake from the tin.

When completley cold, brush the abpricot jam onto the side and  join one plain and one pink slice together and then one pink and one plain on top creating a chequered pattern.
Now brush the apricot jam over the long sides.

Roll out the marzipan on some sugar making a rectangle approx 20 x 30 cm. Neaten the edges.
Place the cake into the marzipan so the one edge is lined up to the edge of the marzipan and completley wrap the marzipan around the cake.
Trim away any surplus marzipan to make a neat cake, just trim bith ends with a clean knife.
For me covering the marzipan was the most difficult part of making this cake.