Hey dear readers!

I bagged my first job! It’s been 5 days now since I joined J.Nehru Hospital as Pre-Registration House Officer. My posting for the coming 5 months will be in the surgical department and I’m trying [hard] to get acclimatised to my new surroundings and duties with the help and guidance of my RMO and Sp.

It kinda saddens me to be no longer able to cook lunch and dinner for myself and the family as I used to everyday. I will keep posting recipes and pics of bakes and meals whenever I’m off call as often as I can. Btw did my first call yesterday. Was not so bad 🙂

For now I’ll write about a couple of birthdays – mine [30th Apr] and my father’s [15th Apr]. We spent a great day on the beach at Blue Bay on my father’s bday blessed with awesome weather, fun activities and of course a fine picnic spread with a nutella filled swiss roll to end the birthday party.

I had intended to ice my swiss roll with some vanilla buttercream which got left behind in the fridge in the rush to set out early.  Some fancy candles helped to give the plain roll a festive look but failed to light up coz of the strong land breeze blowing against us. Here are a few pics of the birthday at Blue Bay.

Blue Bay – Famous public beach in the South of the island

Fishermen trying their luck at low tide

Close up of bits of broken coral and pebbles

Majestic sand castle built by a team of youngsters for fun

Enjoying quality time with the family

The classic swiss roll requires basic ingredients and has a pretty short baking time. If you are used to working with the airy batter, you should find no difficulty with this. It is however much easier to mess up the sponge than getting it right. The key is to keep the batter from deflating till you are ready to pop it in the oven. Not an easy job, right?
 
I usually have no problems till it comes to rolling up the sponge. I always end up with a few cracks no matter how long I leave it to cool or how careful I try to be. While I do a pretty good job at covering them up with buttercream, the larger cracks stand out strikingly on an uniced roll [as you can see on the pics]. Any tips on how to shape the sponge layer into a smooth log?
 
The recipe for Swiss Roll adapted from happyhomebaking should give you a moist flavourful sponge that you can fill with nutella, jam or whipping cream.
  
NUTELLA SWISS ROLL
Ingredients:

3 eggs, room temperature

2/5 cup icing sugar

1/2 cake flour

1 tbs unsalted butter, melted

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3-4 tbs nutella spread

Method:

  • Line a 23×30 cm swiss roll tray with parchment paper.
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 oC. Sift cake flour into a large bowl.
  • Whisk eggs and sugar on high speed for about 5- 7 mins, until the batter double in volume and is ribbon-like.
  • Whisk for another 1- 2 mins on low speed to stabilise air bubbles in batter. Add sifted flour to batter in 3 separate additions.
  • Gently fold in flour with a rubber spatula until well blended.
  • Take care not to deflate the batter.
  • Add melted butter and vanilla extract. Fold with spatula.
  • Pour batter into prepared tray and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 10-15 mins until the surface turns golden brown.
  • Remove tray from oven, then remove the sponge from tray. Leave the parchment paper still  sticking to it.
  • Cover the sponge layer with another tray or plastic wrap.
  • Allow to cool to room temp, then remove parchment paper.
  • Turn the sponge layer with the ‘skin’ side down.
  • Drizzle lightly with 1-2 tsp coffee or liquor to keep moist.
  • Spread with nutella or any other filling right upto edges.
  • Roll up sponge layer tightly and place it seam side down.
  • Slice evenly to serve. Makes 8-10 pieces.

It does seem kinda funny that I did not manage to bake any fancy stuff on my own birthday. I only had time [and energy] for a very straight forward vanilla bean cake. Mixed the ingredients, poured the batter into a 9″ springform pan, stowed it into the oven before collapsing in bed.

My timer woke me up 1 1/2 hours later. Got up to switch the oven off but was too drained to make any icing of any sort. Another birthday cake that got served plain. Recipe adapted from Taste – Everyday Easy Recipes.

VANILLA BEAN CAKE

 Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup self raising flour

1/2 cup plain flour

1 cup caster sugar

150g unsalted butter, at room temperature

155ml milk or 1/2 cup + 1tbs plain yoghurt

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 140°C.
  • Position a rack on the second lowest shelf of the oven.
  • Brush a round 9″ pan with melted butter to lightly grease.
  • Line base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
  • Split vanilla bean into half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds. 
  • Bring the butter at room temperature, soft enough to beat, but not melted. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  • Add flours alternating with milk till it forms a smooth mixture. Add vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract to batter.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Turn onto a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cooled.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! 

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