16 June 2012

Fried chicken fingers

The Dutchies are very very nuts about soccer and the last few weeks the streets were decorated with orange flags. Holland has one more chance to go to the next round, but if they lose the next game I’m sure all the orange will disappear soon. I’m not a big fan of soccer. Well I’m not a fan at all, so while my hubby is watching the game I had time to prepare some finger food. I wanted to buy some chicken nuggets at the supermarket, but when I saw that only 80% was chicken and the other 20% something else I decided to make some myself. At least it will have 100% chicken in it.
I used 3 chicken breasts which I rinsed, dried and cut in finger size bits.
Then I set up my batter station.
To my store bought bread crumbs I added some salt, pepper, garlic powder and some freshly minced parsley.
To get a really nice crust on the chicken I covered it first with some plain flour. Then it went in the egg mixture and last in the bread crumbs. I know I could probably bake them in the oven, but since we were all pretty hungry I fried them in some oil.
It only takes a couple of minutes to brown and after they are done I drained them on a piece of paper.
The chicken fingers were so good they disappeared in no time.
The parsley really gave it a nice touch and although I didn’t season the chicken first they were still full of flavor and super moist.
My hubby already said no more KFC for him since these chicken fingers were way better!

Hope you all are enjoying the weekend. I'm going back to the kitchen for a father's day
Black Forest cake or Schwarzwälder Kirsch cake.

10 June 2012

Strawberry cloud birthday cake

Today marks a very special day for one little lady. Although it’s her 22nd birthday in my eyes she’s still little…that is till I realize how old she is. It makes me old thinking about it. In my mind I’m still 25 at most…

Since it’s her special day I’ll tell you a little something about her. You’ll have to know that my family has 4 girls and she is the last in the row. My other sisters and I are 2 and 4 years apart, but since this one was an attempt of having a boy we are 11 years apart. I remembered I had to take care of her when she was a baby because I was the big sister. Even now I’m taking care of her since she lives with me and my husband while she is in college here in The Hague. Our deal is: you pass every year and granulate or you go back to mom and dad. So far so good…she’s still here.
For her birthday she didn’t want to invite any friends over. Instead she’s at home playing on her laptop and chill out. This doesn’t mean that there is no cake. I saw this cake on Annabel Langbein’s show. Again one of those easy to make cakes that I had to give it a try and I followed her recipe to the letter. Well almost to the letter. Click here for her recipe.
The only thing I did different is using about 300 grams of whole grain biscuits and about 300 grams of strawberries.
I like a thicker biscuit layer so I used more biscuits. Here I’m mixing up 300 grams of biscuits, 100 grams of melted butter, 2 cups of shredded coconut and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. 
What I would do different next time is mashing the strawberries first before mixing it. Because I left the strawberries still a bit chunky they went flying everywhere when I started mixing it. I’m mixing 300 grams of strawberries, 2 egg whites, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Also I would mix it on low speed first and then increase it to max till it fluffs up. And I would mix it a bit longer too. This morning when I checked on the cake some of juice was running out of the cake.
This probably means that I haven’t beaten it well enough. I would also reduce the sugar; 1 cup was a bit too sweet, so I’d go for ½ cup next time.
The cake was really fluffy and tasted like cotton candy. Who knew you could make something this easy with just 2 egg whites and some soft fruits.
Apparently you can freeze this cake to so after we all had a slice I put it in the freezer. Hopefully it tastes even better frozen!
Happy birthday baby girl!

07 June 2012

Chocolate Truffles

I used some of my ganache as a topping for my chocolate cakes (also a recipe by Annabel and will follow soon) and I still had so much left. I only used 250 ml whipping cream and 250 grams of chocolate, but it was still more then plenty to coat a big cake. 
So I used part of it for some chocolate truffles, just like Annabel. She said whenever she made ganache she always have to make truffles. They were easier to make then I thought.

I poured some warm ganache in a bowl and added some butter. Depending on how much ganache you have, I’d use a tablespoon of butter or a teaspoon. A little bit goes a long way, but if you don’t put enough butter in it won’t get hard. That’s not a problem since the flavour will still be good; it’s just difficult to roll it into little balls. I also added a bit of liquor. I had Amaretto at hand so I used that, but I know some like Cointreau.
After it’s all mixed it went in the fridge so it could harden.
In a different bowl I mixed the ganache with some shredded coconut and some butter so I could have 2 flavour truffles.
I used a teaspoon to form little balls and roll them between my hands. After that I dropped them in coco powder and swirl the bowl around so the truffle gets a nice coco layer. I found out that it’s less messy if you just scoop a table spoon of ganache straight in the coco powder and form them into balls after they are coated.
As you can see I didn’t make too much…Have you noticed the little chocolate cupcake in the back?
This is all we have...thank god, because they were so good I could eat them all in one time!

Chocolate Ganache

Have you ever heard of Annabel Langbein aka the Free Range Cook? She’s this Australian lady who pretty much grows everything in her garden and who makes fantastic food using whatever she grows. Of course you can’t grow a cow or a pig so she gets her protein from farmers markets and friends. If you watch her show her food looks so easy to make, you can easily copy after watching the show.

What she has, is considered one of my dreams…to have a great big garden with all kinds of fruits, veggies and herbs.

I love to see her disapear in her garden and come out with all kinds of veggies and fruits. So far I’ve been able to grow is some viges, blueberries, grapes and a couple of herbs; nothing comparing to what she gets out, but it’s a start.

This year my peony bush finally bloom! I bought this tiny little sprig and finally after 2 years it gave me 7 flowers in total.
Isn’t it pretty?
It’s overpowering my grapetree right now so I’ll have to do something about it this weekend. I grow it right in front of the house so it’s the first thing I see when I leave the house. One of my neigbours even complement me on it. She loves passing by and see the flowers blossem a bit day by day.

Anyway the other day she made chocolate ganache in her show. Her recipe was just too easy: equal parts of whipping cream and dark chocolate. She used 500 ml cream and 500 grams of chocolate. And she always uses the best chocolate she can find. Since I don’t really taste the difference between high quality chocolate and cheap stuff, I go for the cheap stuff. Maybe when my taste buttons develops more I’d switch to the high end stuff.
All you’ll have to do is cook the cream till you see little bubbles form on the edge of the pot. Then take it off the fire and put all the chocolate in.
Let it sit for a couple of seconds and then mix it all together till it’s one smooth and shiny mixture.
Pour it in a jar and store it in the fridge. How simple is that?

This ganache is a great base for chocolate truffles which I, just like Annabel, also ended up making.