Upside-down cake in a ring

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Is it right to mess with a classic? Should the traditional look of a pineapple upside-down cake be altered? Well, I think if I can get more pineapple in every bite, then it's forgiveable. Normally, the cake has full rings on it, but an American chef ~ darn it, I cannot remember who it was other than that it was a lady ~ gave this suggestion of using pineapple ring halves so that the whole surface of the cake would be covered in the fruit. About using a ring pan instead of a round or square one, well, I had to for practical purposes: the middle of my cakes sometimes don't cook because of my wonky oven. One final change to the classic recipe: it's not a sponge cake; it's made with a sour cream pound cake batter. A little heavier, but it still managed to absorb all the lovely brown sugar syrup.

Two-step mushroom lentil ragu

Monday, April 14, 2014

If portobello mushrooms weren't so expensive, I'd cook them three or four times a week. Unlike other fungi, portobellos don't disintegrate so easily or shrink when cooked in dishes like stews. They have such an intense flavour, even being compared to meat; and like meat, benefits from being seared before being added to stew-like dishes. That is what I did when I made this mushroom and lentil ragu: braise green lentils in a chilli tomato-based sauce; separately fry thickly sliced portobellos and flavour with soya sauce; combine the two components and simmer for a bit before tucking in. I served them (to myself!) with potato-cheese pierogies only because I had a stash of those and needed to clear out the freezer. Portobellos play second fiddle to no one.

Vacating the fridge and baking a pumpkin seed sourdough loaf

Monday, April 7, 2014

When Indra wrote a post on making seeded sourdough bread using some of my starter, she graciously pointed her readers to this blog and my post on making a seeded sourdough loaf for the first time using a leaven (both recipes from Dan Lepard) which I had cultivated for a while. I went back to that post and realised how things have changed. I've become more confident in how I use my leaven and I'm not afraid to try making a loaf without referring to a trusted recipe. There's much more to learn, but I'm happy with how far my sourdough loaves have come. A couple of days ago, I made that same loaf from so many posts ago. Wasn't happy that it was slightly undercooked, but here's the thing: I actually know the reason for it (lousy time management) and know what needs to be done to improve. I also know that slice needs a lot more butter spread on it than what's in the picture.