Category Archives: Food

Sour cherry cocoa infused biscuit cake

SourCherryCake

I might be a geek who likes to fiddle with computers and electronics, but I also like food. And what better way to spend some alone time creating stuff in kitchen. I’ve been cooking “normal” meals for few years without any recipes, just what I’ve eaten in the past and try to extrapolate what ingredients to use and how to prepare it to get that same end result. It’s quite fun figuring out what to use without knowing the ingredients or the whole actual process of making it. But I always had this fear with desserts because they are a lot more unforgiving, especially stuff that involves biscuit batter. Mix it wrong and you’ll get a dense pancake, bake it for too long and you’ll burn it or make it crunchy like a cookie etc. But I’m starting to get a hang of this too. I’ve made it last week and I messed something up and it was too dense, baked it for too long, didn’t use enough fruit and didn’t moist the biscuit enough. But 2 days ago, I’ve done it. With perfection. This will be more as an archive for myself so I can do it in the future again, but if anyone wants to try it out, awesome πŸ™‚

Required ingredients

Ingredients suffice for a baking tray with dimensions of 37 x 28 x 5cm (14.5 x 11 x 2 inches). It’s what I used so predict it appropriately so it won’t overflow when baked.

  • 7 eggs
  • 150g (5.9oz) of flour
  • 150g (5.9oz) of sugar
  • 1 bag of baking powder (12g or 0.42oz)
  • 4 bags of vanilla sugar (each 10g or 0.35oz)
  • 1 bag of lemon sugar (10g or 0.35oz)
  • 1 shot of rum
  • 1400g (~50oz) of pitted sour cherry compote (2x 700g jars in my case)
  • 500ml (17 fl oz) of whipping cream
  • 4 tea spoons of cocoa powder
  • bitter chocolate flakes

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 175Β°C (347Β°F) using both, top and bottom heater (so you won’t have to wait for it later).

Preparing fruits…

Separate all the sour cherries from the compote liquid and place the remaining liquid in the fridge to cool. I’ve added some cold water to it to make total of 1.5L (53 fl oz) of sour cherry juice because it was really strong and I like the biscuit juicy. Leave sour cherry fruit part at room temperature.

Making the batter…

Separate yolk from egg white and start mixing the yolks. While you’re mixing, continue adding 2 bags of vanilla sugar, 1 bag of lemon sugar, 1 baking powder, 150g of normal sugar and a shot (or two of rum). Mix till it becomes nicely smooth and sugar starts dissolving. Add 4 tea spoons of cocoa powder and mix it well. Now mix in 150g of flour and expect the batter to become very dense. I didn’t try, but I guess you could soften it up with a bit of butter, sweet cream or milk. It’ll get smoother again when you mix in whipped egg whites so don’t panic.

Foaming the egg white…

Now clean up the hand mixer whisks and start mixing egg whites at full speed in a separate bowl till it becomes nicely foamy and doesn’t seem to inflate any further. When that happens, dump it in the bowl with the yolky batter and use a large spoon and start mixing with the back of it (so it won’t stick so much inside of it). I made a mistake of using a whisk which just got clotted with dense batter and it was really hard to mix till it got smoother and softer batter again. When it gets a bit smoother, use a whisk to evenly mix it. Don’t use hand mixer, otherwise you’ll destroy the egg white foaminess (you need it for the biscuit to be fluffy in the end). Dump the batter into a baking tray, spread it evenly or shake the tray till it levels nicely.

Finishing the batter…

Take the sour cherry (fruit part) and spread it evenly across the batter. There is no specific rule for this, if you like sour cherry like I do, drop in tons of it, really thick. If you don’t like it that much, you can use less. They’ll sink into a batter so do it progressively across all surface so you’ll know where you dropped them already. Also, it’s fine if they sink, they don’t have to stay on top.

Baking…

Place the tray in a pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes (middle level).

Making that biscuit juicy…

When it’s done baking, place it on your cooking top and leave it to cool. When it has cooled a bit, drizzle it with sour cherry juice. A lot. Make it juicy. Just don’t overdo it, you don’t want your biscuit floating in it. If you don’t like very juicy biscuit, you can use less or none. It’s up to you. Sour cherry fruits will provide some moisture when you bite into it, but I like more so I use the juice too.

Finishing touches…

Now mix the whipping cream with 2 bags of vanilla sugar (you can also use same amount of normal sugar or none of it even but add some vanilla extract) and evenly spread it on top of the biscuit. Evenly sprinkle it with dark chocolate flakes. Place it in fridge till it thoroughly cooled (or if you used cold sour cherry juice you can serve it straight away).

Enjoy!

End result should be a very refreshing cake (or biscuit if you’re European πŸ˜› ) that nicely blends bitter cocoa biscuit with sour cherry and sweet whipped cream on top. It may not look anything particularly fancy, but it tastes soooooooo good and because it’s juicy and fluffy, it’ll easily find it’s place in a tummy even after a substantial dinner. A perfect dessert in my book πŸ™‚

If you decide to make it, let me know what you think of it πŸ™‚

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Double layer tortilla pizza

I know my blog isn’t exactly known for cooking stuff, but I like doing that when I’m not fiddling with computers. I also happen to love pizza. But I’m just too darn lazy to make pizza dough myself. I was doing it for a while, but it’s just too time consuming and unless you follow recipe to the letter, you’ll get dough that is hard to work with, especially since I usually do it using full grain flour which is especially demanding.

I’ve tried everything from frozen pizza’s, frozen dough in blobs as well as pre-shaped frozen dough. And it just never ended up actually good, not to mention anything frozen takes forever to bake. And that’s when innovation happened. πŸ™‚

Tortillas. Instead of bothering with the dough, you simply buy already done tortilla wraps which come in many different types like plain white wheat to corn tortillas and I’ve once even had spicy wheat ones. But I’ve gone even further. In the past I’ve made it using single tortilla and they were a bit to thin. It’s what most online tortilla pizza guides do. So, I’ve made double layered tortilla dough with mozzarella cheese in the middle to get a bit of an extra thickness. And it’s sooooooo gooooooood πŸ™‚

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Double layer tortilla pizza

Ingredients for classic pizza:

  • 2x tortilla wraps (wheat, corn or any other)
  • Gritted mozzarella cheese
  • Ham (or pepperoni)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Oregano or a pizza mix of spices
  • Fresh or canned mushrooms (fresh white champignons in my case)

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In the end, ingredients can be anything you want. Either classic or veggie, maybe you fancy it with tuna, best part of all this is that ingredients don’t have to be thoroughly cooked. Only thing that really needs that are mushrooms and even those are done super fast. You can also replace ham with bacon and replace mushrooms with some onion and then top it up with a bit of a spicy BBQ sauce. Or my other favorite, mushroom pizza with Boletus Edulis mushrooms topped with yogurt, garlic, chili and chives sauce. Combinations are endless.

Preparing the double layer tortilla “dough”

Lay one tortilla flat and spread mozzarella cheese across it in a thin layer and then place second tortilla on top, like so…

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Why stack just two tortillas when you can also use cheese in the middle πŸ™‚

Layering the ingredients

I like ingredients stacked in such order, but you can do it in whatever way you want. You can also use whatever ingredients you prefer really.

But you always start with tomato sauce and if you want, also some spices…

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Then comes a layer of ham…

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And a layer of mozzarella cheese and again some spices…

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Some mushrooms. I prefer the fresh ones because they taste better and take no longer to prepare than opening a can and draining the salted water…

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Baking process

Since all ingredients apart from mushrooms are already edible as is, baking process takes no time at all. You can do it in a frying pan, in a classic oven placed at the very top with a grill mode or like I’ve done it, in a table top convection oven. I like this one because it’s right underneath the heating element and it requires no pre-heating what so ever. You just drop it in for around 5 minutes or until you get a desired level of crunch with the ingredients on top.

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Inside table top convection oven…

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Finished double layer tortilla pizza

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Enjoy!

American pancakes are awesome!

american_pancakeAfter my massive failure with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I’ve decided to try myself at making some American pancakes. Essentially they are the same as European “flat” ones, you just add some baking powder which makes them thick and fluffy. Or so recipes said… They kinda looked the same as on the pictures, so I guess I did something right. πŸ˜€ I still have to work a bit on the presentation, but they at least tasted good πŸ™‚

Ingredients (for ~4 pancakes):

– 150g (5.29 oz) of wheat flour
– 150ml (5 oz) of milk
– 2 eggs
–Β  Half a bag of baking powder (6g – 0.21oz)
– a pinch of salt
– some sugar (optional, I’ve used stevia extract instead)
– 1 bag vanilla sugar (9g – 0.32 oz, also optional)

Basically you mix it all together with a hand mixer until you get a nice smooth liquid batter. Since we don’t use butter, I’ve used some olive oil to grease up the pan. It doesn’t really affect the taste, making it neutral and that’s fine. You have to toss in quite a decent scoop of batter, in my case a full hand sized scoop of it.

Only tricky part is getting them right in the pan. First two were a bit, how should I put it, 50 shades of black (luckily they didn’t taste burned which was surprising). The rest was fine. Basically you have to watch the edges that start to bubble and slowly become slightly solid and that’s when you have to flip it. The other side takes slightly less time so be careful!

I forgot to buy some maple syrup to make them authentic, but the jam used for PB&J did the trick just fine πŸ™‚ And these pancakes are one of the things that are just better than ours. So thumbs up for these America! πŸ™‚

Btw, any hints or recommendations on how to make them better (as far as batter itself goes)?

Can someone explain me peanut butter & jelly thing?

Ok, this one has been bothering me for quite a while and I really need professional help from people living in the USA for this one.

You know, there is hardly any Hollywood movie without mention of peanut butter and jelly (PB&J) sandwiches and since I’m living in Europe, it got me curious what’s all the fuss about it and why Americans eat it so much. So, I got myself some toast bread, some peanut butter and some jelly (we kinda call it jam around here).

I’ve spread both ingredients on the bread, slammed it together and after biting into it, I just couldn’t get it why Americans are so obsessed about it. I’ve even tried different ratios of both ingredients with same outcome. The best one was with no peanut butter at all. I mean, I love peanuts, salty, spicy, in Snickers chocolate bar, in normal chocolate without caramel or even natural one that you have to peel it yourself. It’s good stuff. But when you pair it with jam, it just doesn’t compute. I’ve even watched some stuff on Youtube if I was doing something wrong and apparently I wasn’t.

Where’s the catch? Can someone help me “debug” my PB&J sandwiches please?

Jam / jelly:

The jam that I’ve used was a really high grade stuff with very (really very) high fruit content with really rich flavor. It still tastes sweet though like it should.

Peanut butter:

Peanut butter is the smooth one without any peanut bits in it. There was also version with bits, but I’ve decided for the smooth version. It’s not greasy, it’s kinda pasty, almost like when you chop nuts so hard in the food processor that it turns them into a paste. It’s pasty, non greasy but spreads really easily. And the one that I have is slightly salty. I’ve tried some other and it was salty as well, so I’m guessing that’s how it should be.

I can kinda see jam and peanut butter combined if the later would be either neutral (no salt) or even slightly sugary. But sweet jam and salty peanut butter just don’t go together for me (at all). It just doesn’t work for me and I’ve tried quite some variations.

So, please educate me on what I’m doing so horribly wrong here.

Thx