Note to Self: Sushi Rice

Vegetarian Sushi

I like making sushi (mostly vegetarian, rarely authentic, often pretty),  but I can never remember, what proportion of rice to water to sushi sushi seasoning  you need, and I never remember how many sushi rolls (maki) you get out of a given amount of rice.   So for reference, here are notes from when I made sushi last weekend.

1. Thoroughly rinse your rice with clean cold water to remove extra starch, until water runs clear.

2. Add rice to a saucepan with water (1.5 cups water for every cup of rice), and cover with a lid.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and cook (covered)  until water is absorbed – 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Once cooked, spread rice out in a shallow, non-metallic tray and sprinkle sushi seasoning* over the top – just over 1/2 a cup for 3 cups of cooked rice (3 tablespoons per cup of cooked rice).  Stir in with a non-metallic spoon.  At this point,  you are also supposed to fan the rice to cool, although I didn’t.

4. Once the rice is cool, make sushi!

1 cup uncooked sushi rice makes 3 cups cooked.  I cooked 1.5 cups of rice, hence making 4.5 cups cooked rice.  From this I was able to make  3 ‘big’ sushi maki (i.e. using a whole nori sheet each), and 2 ‘small’ maki, using a half nori sheet. At 8 pieces of sushi per roll, that’s 40 pieces all up.

Protip: Keep a small cup of water close by, to wet your fingers. Wet fingers are the best way to keep the sushi rice from sticking over your fingers.  A bit of water is also very useful for sticking down wayward nori too 🙂

This was my first opportunity to use the sushi mould I was given for Christmas last year, and so I decided to try out heart shaped sushi! I love the idea, but execution still needs work – in particular I think my hearts lost shape because they needed something more solid in the middle than grated carrot  and bean sprouts.  As ever,  I think my most beautiful sushi are the ones with the beautifully green and round asparagus. (They taste good too.)

Vegetarian Sushi

Vegetarian Sushi

*Some people might be asking at this point why I haven’t provided a recipe for the sushi seasoning. This is because I buy it pre-prepared 😛

Easy Yoghurt Cake

Yoghurt Cake with Orange Icing

So yoghurt cake sounds a bit weird, but it’s actually quite tasty – and pretty light too.  And the best thing about this cake?  You don’t need any other measuring device other than a teaspoon!  Everything else it measured out with the pot of yoghurt you used.  I used a plain vanilla flavoured yoghurt in my cake,  but I think it would be interesting to make this cake with a pot of fruit yoghurt too.

Ingredients
1 pot of yoghurt (then use the pot to measure everything)
3 eggs
1 pot of sugar
3 pots of flour
1 pot of oil (or melted butter)
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together, spoon the mixture in to a greased and prepared cake tin, and bake around 20 min at 180°.

For the icing, I decided to go with orange flavoured icing, mixing icing sugar with a tiny bit of orange juice and the zest from an orange, which gave the cake a fresh edge.

Chocolate Ancho Creme Brulee

I was looking for a recipe to complement a Mexican Feast, and this chocolate ancho creme brulee ticked both that box, and the ‘i don’t use my brulee torch nowhere near enough’ box as well. I had planned on taking some photos while we torched them, but in the heat of the moment,  I totally forgot about photographing, and concentrated on eating instead. Still, these brulee were soooo rich,  that there were some leftovers that I got a shot of this morning.

Some comments on the recipe:  I  really don’t think boiling the cream with a cinnamon stick for 5 minutes really imparted any cinnamon  flavour to the cream.  I’m not sure I’d bother next time. The custard is really easy – in that you don’t actually make custard, just mix the egg yolks through the chocolate/cream mix and then bake, and I might try this with other brulees in future as it really does cut down the prep time. I’m not sure if it’s because I just used the chilli powder I had in my cupboard, rather than  ground ancho chile pepper, but I didn’t get much (any?) chilli kick from these – I might add more in future.  Then again,  the recipe does call for ~120 g of chocolate and I decided to just put in the whole 200g block I’d bought, which maybe drowned out the chilli flavour  :-).  I’d probably also prepare more cinnamon sugar for the top next time (maybe 3 tbps worth?) as the sugar layer was relatively thin on top.  How authentically Mexican is it actually?  No idea, but still very tasty 🙂

Chocolate-Ancho Creme Brulee

Carnitas (aka 16 hour slow cooked pork)

CarnitasWe use our slow cooker a lot – mostly for stews and curries.  However, once I saw nomnompaleo’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig recipe,  I had to give it a go (particularly given our Hawaii trip last year!).

Now the Kalua pork was fantastic, but it occured to us that with a slight adjustment of spices,  this recipe would also make a fantastic carnitas for burritos and the like. So we put together a spice rub including coriander, cumin and – most importantly – chipotle chillie, and we have not looked back (although admittedly we’ve eaten a heap of slow cooked pork!).

~*~

The Spice Rub

2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
2 tsp coriander leaves dried
Carnitas Spice Rub

What To Do

This amount of spice rub is good for 2-2.5 kg of pork. We typically buy a boned pork shoulder, take off any webbing or binding and then liberally rub the spice over all surfaces (although less usually ends up on the skin).  If you do this in the early evening, you can put it straights into the slowcooker pot and store in the fridge until later that night.  Just before bed,  I’ll get the pot out and set up with slow cooker with a timer to start at 2-3 am (depending on when you want to eat the next day). It is rather thrilling to be woken up by delicious pork smells in the morning,  though I do recommend cooking this dish on a day you will be mostly out of the house, as otherwise you will be distracted by pork for the rest of the day!   Once you reach 6-7 pm,  you take the pork out (usually in pieces by this time) and place it in a serving dish.  Separate off the skin and fat (which normally comes off very easily),  and then shred the meat using two forks.  You can spoon the juices at the bottom of the  slow cooker, to give an extra bust of flavour to the shredded meat, though be careful not ot make it too salty.  The meat is then good for tacos, burritos or just by itself….

Choux Pastry (+ Gougere)

So I’m working through my food magazines – trying out and keeping recipes that I (we) like or otherwise chucking them (aka leaving them in the tea room for others to read). And because of this,  I decided to try choux pastry.  I’ve not ever attempted choux pastry before, but seemed ideal to try out for B*ke Cl*B*. But what does one make from choux pastry?  Well eclairs and profiteroles both come to mind, but I really wanted something savory as well as sweet.  Enter the Gougere.  Gougeres are (essentially) choux pastry with cheese stirred in. And, while my eclairs suffered from my piping,  but the gougere’s (dolloped using a spoon)  were excellent.

Ingredients:
150 g plain flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
100g unsalted butter
250 mL cold water
4 eggs (I actually used 5 smallish eggs)

Recipe:
Sieve the flour, sugar and salt onto greaseproof paper.  Put the butter and water into a saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then quickly slide the flour off the paper and into the pan.  Stir well.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture off the heat until it forms a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan.  This should take just a few minutes.   Beat the eggs together in a bowl.  Still off the heat, beat the eggs into the mixture, a little at the time until smooth.  At first it will feel like the egg doesn’t want to amalgamate, but keep beating and it will eventually,  Keep beating until you have a paste that is thick and shiny (I added my 5th egg to make  sure it looked like a shiny paste).  The mixture should drop off the spoon when lightly tapped on the side of the pan..  Pip or spoon the mixture onto a greased baking tray and bake at 200 deg C until golden brown.  Ecaires and small profiteroles take 20-25 minutes,.  Large buns take 30-35 mins. Remove from the oven and make a small hole in the underside of each bun to release any steam,   Set a side to cool on a wire rack.

I took about 1/2 the dough to pipe as eclairs (see right for my piping attempts) then I added 20-40 g swiss cheese (gruyere is the authentic cheese to use) and a pinch of powder to the rest of the pastry before spoonign out as buns.  Choux pastry requires a bit more arm work than (though at least different arm work – stirring rather than kneading),  but it is easy and produces very impressive results.  I am saving this recipe!

*I cannot talk about B*ke Cl*B.

 

EDIT 20/10/100: My most recent version this morning included ~75g of sharp vintage cheddar and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper sifted in with the flour.  NOM!

More Recent Baking

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf

Apparently I’ve been doing a bit of entertaining recently (actually it was one afternoon tea at my place, and one at a friends). Here a few things I’ve made in the last few weeks.

This Coconut Raspberry Loaf is moist, delish and diary free ( it does have an egg in it), with coconut milk replacing all milk and butter. Since goign to Hawaii,  I’ve started using a lot more coconut, or at least become more much more aware that I’m using it.  It gives me fond memories  🙂

Guacamole Muffins

A desire to make a baked treat which invovled avocado, lead me to this Guacamole Scones recipe. though I really think their muffins.  I went mini size and easy on the chili because there were kids present (though lets face it – they totally just went for the chocolate!).  I would amp up the chili and perhaps use a sharper cheese (perhaps parmesan?) to give these a bit more bite, but the avocado still worked remarkably well.

Black Forest Cake Cupcakes
And, finally these black forest cake cupcakes ( or muffins), which looked adorable, but to be honest were a little on the dry sides, so I won’t bother typing out the recipe…

Note to Self: Cauliflower Hommous

No picture, alas,  but this link for cauliflower dip has been living in my inbox ever since I made the recipe around Easter.   It’s basically hommous,  but with roasted cauliflower instead of chickpeas.  I  roasted my cauliflower with cumin and some garlic cloves (which were later blended in the dip) . The dip is vegan, gluten free and delicious! Highly recommended.

(Here is some cauliflower I roasted recently.  No hommous here – I just ated it)

Roast Cauliflower