Saturday, February 25, 2017

Chocolate Loaf

It's Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For this week, I've made Tessa Kiros's Chocolate Loaf. This is not a cake, but a chocolate yeasted bread, a recipe from her cookbook, Apples For Jam, of which I did not have the pleasure of owning it yet! This recipe however can be found in another book of Tessa's, "Tessa Kiros - The Recipe Collection", which I bought almost a year ago. This book is a collection of selected recipes from five of her best-selling cookbooks ; Falling Cloudberries, Apples For Jam, Piri Piri Starfish, Venezia and Food From Many Greek Kitchens.

A basic straight forward bread to make. I use the stand mixer to knead the dough. I have used instant yeast to replace fresh yeast, using half the weight of fresh yeast. And since it is instant yeast, I whisk the yeast into the warm milk to dissolve and proceed with the recipe, without having to wait for the yeast to foam, if fresh yeast or active yeast is used. This bread is baked in a 12 x 4-1/2 inch loaf tin. I've used my pullman loaf pan of that size, and the baked bread turns out not really high. To get a taller loaf, I would use a smaller pan the next time.

The loaf turns out wonderful with moist and soft crumbs. Surprisingly, this bread has that bitterness of the cocoa powder, but in a very nice "cocoa-y" taste. You would want to eat slices of these bread , either plain or toasted, with some sweet jam. I had mine, spread with one of my favourite jam, Lemon and Lime Marmalade from Marks & Spencer. Makes a lovely breakfast with a morning cuppa.

Chocolate Loaf
(adapted from Tessa Kiros - The Recipe Collection)
Makes 1 loaf
15gm (1/2 oz) fresh yeast (I use 7gm instant yeast)
40gm (1-1/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
310ml (10-3/4 fl oz/1-1/4 cups) milk
400gm (14 oz) bread (strong) flour or plain (all purpose) flour
40gm (1-1/2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
40gm (1-1/2 oz) butter, melted

Crumble the yeast into a large bowl and add the sugar. Gently heat the milk in a small saucepan until it feels just a bit hotter than your finger, then add it to the yeast. Stir through and leave for 10 minutes or so, until the surface starts to turn spongy. (I added the instant yeast to the milk, stir to dissolve and proceed to add the rest of the ingredients). Add the flour, cocoa powder, butter and a pinch of salt and mix it well. Knead with your hands for about 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic with no lumps. (I use the stand mixer with the dough hook to knead the dough for about 10 minutes). If your dough is very soft, leave it in the bowl and just punch it around and squeeze it with one hand, holding the bowl with the other. Cover the bowl with a heavy tea towel and leave it in a warm and draught-free place for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until it has puffed right up. Butter and flour a 30x11 cm (12x4-1/2 inch) loaf (bar) tin.

Knock the dough down to flatten it and shape it to the size of the tin. Drop it in, cover the tin with the tea towel and leave it again in a warm place for anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, until the dough has puffed up over the rim of the tin. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4).

Remove the tea towel and bake the loaf for about 25 minutes, or until the top is firm and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Tip out onto a rack to cool. Once it has cooled down completely, this loaf can be frozen (even just a chunk of it) in a plastic bag and saved for another moment in time.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
February 2017 Potluck


I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #14 hosted by 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

These Parmesan Chicken Nuggets are a much healthier version, since they are baked and not fried. Super easy to make, and delicious to eat. A green salad on the side, with your favourite dipping sauce for the nuggets, would make a wonderful after school meal or to enjoy with the family during the weekends. 

Chicken breast fillet, cubed and dipped into beaten egg, then rolled in the mixture of breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, dried oregano, salt and pepper.  Tip : I pan-fried one coated piece to check on the seasoning, adjust the seasoning if necessary. Arrange on well-oiled baking tray, (I have omitted the use of foil), and bake, turning halfway through, until cooked, about 20 minutes. At the end of 20 minutes, the nuggets are cooked but still pale, so I have turn on the broiler to brown the crumbs for a couple of minutes on both sides. 

For the dipping sauce, I have used mayonnaise, mixed with some sriracha sauce, stir to combine.

These chicken nuggets are moist and very tasty. Delicious with the dipping sauce. We had this with some green salad on the side. 

Parmesan Chicken Nuggets
(Williams-Sonoma : Chicken Nights by Kate McMillan)
1-1/2 cups (6oz/185gm) panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1 oz/30gm) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried oregano (I use 1 heaped tablespoon)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, about 2 lb (1kg) total, cut into 1-1/2-inch (4-cm) chunks

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, line with aluminium foil, and coat again.
On a large plate, whisk together the panko, Parmesan, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Beat the eggs in a large, shallow bowl.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dip each chicken piece in the eggs, then dredge in the seasoned bread crumbs. Place the nuggets on the prepared pan as you work. Bake the nuggets, turning once about halfway through, until the coating is nicely browned and the chicken is opaque throughout, 15-20 minutes.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #14 hosted by 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Victoria Sponge

This month, at The Cake Slice Bakers, the four recipes selected from the book World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey, which we are currently baking from are ;

Victoria Sponge
Red Velvet Cake
Almond Tart with Honey
Chocolate Cheesecake

Members can choose any of those cakes to bake, and my choice is Victoria Sponge Cake. A very easy and simple cake to make, baked in two pans, then sandwiched together with jam and cream. I've made half a recipe and used two 5" round cake pans to bake the cakes. Batter is easy and quick to prepare, uses self-raising flour and baking powder. I have reduced the sugar slightly to scant 1/3 cup for half a recipe, and the sweetness works out great. For the jam, I've used my own homemade strawberry jam.

The Creme Chantilly is made by whipping heavy cream, confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract. To make the Creme Chantilly, I've used about half a cup of heavy cream with one tablespoon confectioners' sugar with a small amount of vanilla extract. And I've used only half of  the Creme Chantilly to assemble the cake.

Assemble the cake by using one of the two cakes as the base (trim off the top of the cake to level it), spread some strawberry jam and then the Creme Chantilly. Top with the remaining cake and dust generously with confectioners' sugar. 

Cake is deliciously soft, buttery and spongy. I'm glad I've reduced the sugar slightly. The cake is not too sweet, with my not-too-sweet homemade strawberry jam, and the Creme Chantilly, this makes a lovely dessert.


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