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Cooking, baking, and other things - The Lyorn's Den

Sun Oct. 14th, 2007

10:52 pm - Cooking, baking, and other things

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Today, I had Snow, Gwydion and Ceridwen over for tea and cake, and tried out a new recipe from my chocolate cookbook:

Chocolate ginger cake

Beat 150g room-temperature butter and 150g brown cane sugar to a cream, add three egg yolks. Melt 150g dark chocolate, when cooled some, add it, then add 120g flour with baking powder, 50g finely ground almonds and one tablespoon dark cocoa powder with no sugar. Finely chop about three cubes of ginger pickled in sugar (chopped, it should be roughly a tablespoon of it) and
two tablespoons of the sugary syrup the ginger was pickled in. [If anyone can tell me the correct English terms for this, please do.] Beat egg whites solid, add the beaten egg whites to the dough with a cooking spoon, in three parts. (First only softens the dough, third gives it some volume. Put into a rectangular form, bake at 190°C (better 180, it seemed to me), for about 40 minutes (make that 50.)

Get out of the form, let cool. You can cut off the rounded part to make it prettier and turn it over for a nice shape. For the icing, melt about 50g of dark chocolate with about 1 tablespoon butter and one table spoon of the ginger syrup. Spoon on cake. If you do not let it get too hot, it's not very fluid and will stay on top nicely. Cut another ginger cube into thin stripes and spread on the icing.

Best on the second or maybe third day (I'll find that out tomorrow).

This turned out to be a more tricky recipe than I would have guessed, mostly because I'm very bad and separating egg yolks and egg whites. (I put every egg into a cup, then used a spoon without sharp edges to get the egg yolk out, and still had to eat scrambled eggs that evening.) Also, I lack the gear for melting chocolate and had to improvise with two pots. The dough got very heavy and getting the beaten egg whites under was hard work. Temperature could have been lower than in the recipe: the top of the cake was too dark. I didn't cut if off just for looks. Also, I managed to use nearly every bowl and spoon in the kitchen and spend half an hour today doing the dishes.

The icing was great. The whole was very chocolate-y and quite heavy. Very good with half-beaten cream.

Another recipe from a few days ago: .

Stuffed wood-mice from Talos VI

OK, as this is not Talos VI (not even V, in fact), and you cannot get decent a wood mouse in this sector of the galaxy (and let's not even talk about the spices...) we had to use a lot of replacements.

Take two pork steaks and beat them until they are about as large and nearly as flat as an old vinyl single disk. Chop up some dates, a tasty apple and one or two garlic cloves, grind walnuts. Mix well (best is kneading it by hand), add a small dash of sweet vinegar to taste, and some red pepper. Salt the steaks, then put two very thin slices of bacon on each, next about 1/3 of the stuffing, and roll. Tie with a thread. Fry in a high pan or low pot from all sides (or from about three), then add a mix of water and dry red wine about one finger high, and the last third of the stuffing. Simmer for about half an hour or a little longer, turn occasionally.

Take out, use some starch to make the sauce thicker. You can serve it cut in slices (pretty), or dress it up with the help of peppercorns (for eyes), cooked spaghetti (for tails), and slices of halved dates (for ears).

Serve with rice spiced with cumin and red pepper, boiled with some chopped dried apricots. Feeds two.

Tiassa and I made that up for some role-playing session. I think I might have forgotten one ingredient for the stuffing, but I don't know what. It was neither ginger nor curry powder.

Best way to flatten the steaks was to put them into a sufficiently large plastic freezer bags and stomp them with the broad end of a thermos.

Non-food stuff

In case you were wondering, yes, I feel a whole lot better. The too-warm and awfully damp weather that made me bad-tempered and clumsy two weeks ago (come on, 20°C, sunshine, and 80% humidity in October? What the heck?) was smashed a few days after my last posting by a good, seasonal cold front, which brought us cold nights (first foggy, now clear) and bright, cool days. I try to find the time to go up into the hills for some walks, but as work is still insane (as it has been for the last year), I'm not too optimistic. Big Cat is well again. The car still needs some work done before the winter.

I wanted to write about my vacation in late September, but I didn't find the time. . To make it short, I visited my mother and got a very belated Christmas present, then visited my father, then Tiassa, where we spend two nights playing role-playing games and two nights watching House, which I actually liked. (Fanfic recs?) Then we drove over to my place together and played more role-playing games, cooked stuffed wood-mice, and went to the opening of the packaging fair, which was strange and hilarious in a lot of ways. We considered how to package empty words for the next few days.

One year and one week since I had gone to California. That was a really short year. And I still miss San Francisco, and the hills, and the bookstores. At least three of my books stayed lost. But I have music and cats now, and I'm making progress regarding chocolate cake.

And as I have been reading until dawn last night, I think I'll just go to bed early today.

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