Monday, 21 January 2013

Earl Grey Poppy Seed Tea Cakes

I hope everyone is enjoying the snow in London like I do. I am Lithuania after all!

Anyway (change of the subject), around to weeks ago I came across this recipe on SprinkleBakes website that blew my mind. I honestly get excited when I see nontraditional  ingredients matched together. So I made it! I changed the the deco to more "natural" looking and it came out like something really suitable to serve on St. Valentines day (very dainty as my flat mate said). But I could not wait until February... so there you go!

Makes 6

For the cake:

170g cup caster sugar
6 Earl Grey tea bags (removed from the bags)
2 tbsp poppy seeds
4 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp. rapeseed oil
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
icing sugar for dusting

For the Earl Grey syrup:

170g caster sugar
180ml water
4 Earl Grey tea bags

For buttercream:

115g unsalted butter, softened
250g icing sugar
1 tsp orange extract
Juice of 1 small lemon
Zest of 1 small orange
Zest of 1 small lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.  Grease an 11x14-inch pan (I used oven shelve pan) with butter and line with baking paper (grease the paper as well).
  2. In a large bowl beat the eggs, then add sugar, tea leaves (from the tea bags), poppy seeds, oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix well!
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Slowly add to the liquid ingredients.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan and tilt pan to distribute the mixture evenly.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Check at 12 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when pressed with fingers. 
  6. Turn cake out and dust surface with powdered sugar.  Let cool completely.
  7. Use cookie cutter rings to cut out about 18 cake circles.  Set aside.
  8. To make the syrup stir together sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a bubble. Stir to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and place the teabags in the hot sugar syrup to steep.  Infuse for 5-7 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.  Set aside to cool.
  9. To make buttercream cream butter together with sugar. Add orange extract and lemon juice; beat again for another minute until light and fluffy.  Add zests and mix until smooth.  Transfer to a piping bag or zip-top bag with the end snipped (no decorator tip necessary)
  10. To assemble brush each cake circle with the syrup and apply some buttercream on top of 12 of them. Join three together leaving the one for the top without the cream. Dust the tops with icing sugar. I used small heart shaped cookie cutter as a stencil to make poppy seed deco on top.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year's day!... Waffles anyone?

I have finally got an old fashion waffle pan that I have been searching for quite a while now! Luckily my grandma had it in her attic, perfect for my new "culinary" experiments.... So since I came back to London I have been making waffles like mad: starting from basics until I got carried away with the most random ingredients (good combinations however!). The beginning have been quite challenging of course as you would expect. In fact we have a saying in Lithuanian that sounds something like this "first pancake never comes out right", which describes my trial very well. Now when I nailed it I can make waffles (on the old fashioned cast iron waffle pan), while chatting or playing Sims online (really embarrassed by that). So far I made plain waffles, blueberry waffles, bacon cornmeal waffles and rosemary-garlic potato waffles. My friends loved bacon cornmeal waffles that taste like America. However I am voting for the rosemary-garlic potato waffles which reminds me of Lithuanian potato pancakes with the Italian twist. Try it for yourself (regular waffle maker will do)!

Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients: 2 medium sized potatos
                    2 eggs
                    125g plain flour
                    60ml olive oil
                    1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)
                    160ml milk
                    4 garlic cloves (peeled)
                    1/2 tbsp rosemary
                    salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into uniform small pieces. Put potatoes and garlic in a large pot with cold water to cover. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and cook until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork drain, reserving about 60ml of potato/garlic water.

2. While potatoes cook, heat olive oil, rosemary and chopped onion in a small frying pan over low heat just until onion softens a bit. Transfer potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Pour oil and onion over drained potatoes.

3. Add milk to still-warm frying pan - just to take chill off - then pour milk over potatoes. Using a fork, a potato masher or a spatula, mash potatoes with oil and milk.

4. Add potato/garlic water and continue to mash until mixture is smooth.

5. Taste potatoes and season liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Preheat waffle iron and finish batter by beating eggs into potatoes with a whisk or handheld mixer. Combine together flour and potato mixture.

6. Lightly butter or spray waffle iron grids. (You can skip this step with well-seasoned or non-stick materials.) Scrape batter by half-cup measure onto hot iron, smoothing batter evenly almost to edge of grids.

7. Close iron and bake until brown and crisp.

8. I suggest you serve it with cream fresh to make it more Lithuanian-ish ;)