Monday, May 9

Chelsea Buns (not Man. U buns)

I wanted to bake something gorgeous for morning tea for Mothers day, and Chelsea Buns seemed just the thing. Mr PK thought I was baking for him, and declared they had to be excellent with a name like Chelsea. Sadly my buns proved rather more fabulous than his teams on pitch performance, they went down 2-1 to Manchester United this morning. Well that was worth getting up at 5.30 for......and no, your wife wasn't keen on getting up and making coffee since she was "awake anyway'.

This recipe is from the latest NZ Gardener Homegrown, which is chock full of good baking & preserving ideas. I think it is based on the original Edmond's recipe, with a bit of fiddling. I didn't have mixed fruit, so used a few spoons of candied peel, as many raisins as I could find in the box (about 1/2 cup) and some currents because they were the only other dried fruit we had. I have always found currents to be rather mean joyless little fruit, but the Chelsea fan loves them, and they did bulk out the fruit quota.

These may seem like a wee bit of a faff, but they were actually really easy. I made the dough and left it to rise while we had coffee and breakfast, stirred up the filling and cut the buns, then while they were rising put some washing out . The actual baking time is about 20 mins, then just ice with a super simple lemon icing. You will be thrilled with the results, as will the lucky people you share with.......

Iced Chelsea (not Man. U ) Buns

1/4 cup of warm water (about blood temp.)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast ( I use the Tasti brand from the supermarket)
3 cups high grade flour (plus a little more if necessary)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (about blood temp)
3 tbsp melted butter

In a bowl mix together with a wooden spoon
50 gr soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 1/2 cups dried fruit

Mix 1 cup icing sugar with enough boiling water to make a thickish icing (to thin and it will just slide off your buns) adding a squeeze of lemon juice

Mix the warm water with the sugar & yeast and leave in a warm spot for 10 mins to froth up while you get your dry ingredients ready. If it does not froth your yeast is old, so buy a new bottle & start again.
Put your flour in a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid) with the salt & sugar and stir together. Add the milk, butter & yeast mix, and either process in your mixer with a dough hook attachment, or if doing this by hand, mix with a wooden spoon until a rough dough forms. Turn out onto a floured bench, and knead for 8-10 minutes until you have a smooth, springy dough. Kneading isn't tricky, you simply push the dough away from you with the heel of your hand, then pull it back using the other hand, turn & repeat the process. You will quickly get the hang of it, what you are doing is working the gluten in the flour to create a springy elastic dough. It is very relaxing, so no need to stress. If it seems a bit wet add a little more flour, but be sparing, it is easy to add to much and have to keep adjusting till you have enough dough to feed the army. Pop your dough back into the bowl, which you have rubbed with a little oil, then cover with a tea towel & leave back in a warm spot to rise for another hour or so. If you don't have a warm spot, turn your oven to the minimum setting for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat off & pop your bowl in. As long as you can touch the tray and sides of the oven it is not to hot.
After an hour or so, take the dough out & roll into a rectangle about 20cm x30cm. Don't use a ruler, a guesstimate is fine. Spread with your filling, roll up like a sponge roll and slice into buns about 2cm wide.

Pop into a tin & leave to rise covered again for 30 minutes or so, then bake at 190C for 20-25 minutes until golden & smelling like heaven.
Ice while warm, and distribute to waiting fans, footie or foodie

You may remember at school making a scone dough based version of these buns, I think we called them cinnamon twirls. I don't think they are a patch on a yeasted dough, but then I do have a certain ambivalence to scone dough. This perhaps stems for Mrs Bossycow's Form 2 cooking class (I cant actually remember her name, so we shall use a pseudonym) when, paired with Sandra Sporty, I had to make scones. Sandra was a dear, and her skill on the netball court unrivalled (certainly by me, my one and only attribute at sport was being tall for my age) but in the kitchen she was a klutz, bless her. After one misweighed bowl of flour dropped on the floor too many I tactfully (for me) suggested she sit quietly, wash up & not touch anything, while I made her scones & my own. So please explain dear reader why my scones achieved a lowly B, and Sandra's a mighty A??? The same batch!? I know I need to build a bridge, but really, the injustice.....

Tuesday, May 3

It's schniztel Jim, but not as we know it......

Mr PK was a tad perplexed when I served this for the dinner, apparently schnitzel should be crumbed, serving it "naked" was all too unusual. Does he need to get out more? Actually this turned out to be rather delish, quickly fried beef , garlic and herby tomato sauce with gnocchi, a very quick dinner which proved to be extremely satisfying. It is also a useful standby supper as everything you need is likely to be in the pantry.

The original recipe is in the latest Cuisine magazine, I added bay, capers and chilli to the sauce, and instead of bread, served it with gnocchi, surely one of the best store cupboard carbs around.

Beef in tomato sauce

2 large pieces beef schnitzel, cut in half and sprinkled with salt & pepper
Splash of olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup of white wine (or red if that is what you have)
400 ml tin of cherry tomatoes (I use Delmaine, but Mutti are also excellent)
1 tsp of dried oregano
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp capers (I use salted capers, rinsed in water, but use brined if that is what you have)
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Pack of gnocchi
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat your oil over a medium heat in a frying pan big enough to hold your meat in one layer. When hot add the garlic, then your meat, and fry on each side for a couple of minutes. Add the white wine, and let it bubble and reduce for a couple of minutes more.

Add the tin of tomatoes, oregano, chilli, bay leaf and the capers, stir to combine, and cook uncovered for 7-10 minutes, until your sauce has thickened slightly. Add a splash of balsamic and check the seasoning.
While the sauce is cooking, heat a saucepan of water with a good tsp or two of salt. When boiling, add your gnocchi As soon as it floats to the surface, take out with a slotted spoon and add to you tomato sauce, stir to coat and serve with a good grating of Parmesan cheese. You could have a salad with this if you like, although we found it great as is.

I am especially pleased with this supper as it was cooked under some duress. Under my feet was one of our new arrivals. Let me introduce you to Tommy and Tuppence......

These two are best buddies, we met them at the SPCA a week ago and decided we could give them a happy home. Tuppence, the pretty grey miss, has had a bit of a rough start, and was found with her legs duck taped together lying dumped on a busy road. She is much shyer than Hurricane Thomas, but is proving to be a lovely wee girl, and a fantastic jumper. She greeted me from work today sitting in the window sill.
Tommy is curious (aka naughty!) beyond belief (don't let that innocent appearance fool you), and I basically spend my day removing him from cupboards, wardrobes, the fridge........his mission in life appears to be getting to the back of the dishwasher. He is also full of character, and quite delightful with Tuppence. Although when he jumped up on the Chair of Power the other day and plopped himself down on her head I did wonder.........

It is so nice to have a cat around the house again, although kittens are quite a change from sedate Pru. She would be horrified at the running around and general shenanigans.......

I hope you have had a great week, we enjoyed the royal wedding, well I did, Mr PK went to the pub to watch the Breakers. I feel a wee bit sorry for them, what a great achievement, just a shame it was the swallowed up by a rather big wedding! How fab was that dress?
The pressure must be immense, but they did look so very in love. I hope they are as happy as Mr PK and I , 12 years married next week, and we still quite like each other:) Even when I don't crumb the schnitzel.