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I readily admit that I am easily grossed out by canned food and try to avoid the canned stuff section of supermarkets, if I can help it. My medical mind keeps linking food tins with the myriad of bacteria lying dormant inside and the number of allergic reactions and food poisoning cases I see on a daily basis does not help. This pasta bake was largely a result of leftover corned mutton from mum’s lunch salad and I used the recipe from Fuss Free Flavours to convert this last bit of processed meat into something more edible by masking it with lots of sharp cheddar cheese and arrabiata sauce.

CORNED MUTTON PASTA BAKE

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

1/2 teaspoon dried chili

1 can chopped tomatoes

340g corned mutton, diced

250g pasta, any small shape

100g mature cheddar, grated

Method:

  • Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic. Fry for a few minutes until golden.

  • Add the pepper, season with pepper and salt and fry until soft. Add the canned tomatoes and chilli.

  • Cook for 5 minutes. Once sauce has thickened, add corned mutton. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • Simmer until you have a rich and thick corned mutton sauce. Bring a large pan of water to the boil.

  • Add pasta and cook for a few minutes less than the time on the packet instructions. Season lightly.

  • Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, return it to the cooking pan and stir in sauce.

  • Add a few spoons of the cooking water to loosen the mixture. Transfer to a shallow oven proof dish.

  • Sprinkle the cheese over and bake at 160C fan/Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes until golden and piping hot.

Corned Mutton Pasta Bake

While I love to experiment with different cake textures and flavors, the recurrent request in my house, especially when it comes to birthday requests, remains the ubiquitous butter cake. And though I suspect it must have something to do with the yummy melt-in-the-mouth factor, homemade butter cakes seem to charmingly convey the message “I made it myself” without actually having to say the words.

One step ahead of your regular vanilla butter cake, this stunning Almond cake, baked in a Bundt pan, has all the makings of a perfect birthday cake. It was my first and only choice when I started planning my mum’s birthday. “With almonds, almond extract, and almond liqueur all working together in this cake, there’s plenty of almond flavor for even the biggest almond fan.” I cannot help agreeing here with Jennifer from Bake or Break, even if I made the switch from liqueur to more extract. Other than the simple sugar glaze, this beauty needs nothing more a handful of toasted almonds on top to look pretty. My mum loved it so much that she did not want to share her cake with anyone 😛

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons almond-flavored liqueur

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup full cream milk

For the Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan. Whisk together the flours.

  • Add salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. Using electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter.

  • Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beat well until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time.

  • Mix well after each addition. Add liqueur, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Reduce mixer speed to low.

  • Add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of milk. Mix it just until combined.

  • Transfer the batter to the pan and spread evenly. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the cake is golden brown.

  • A pick inserted into the center should come out clean. Cool the cake in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes.

  • Flip cake onto a serving plate and leave it to cool completely. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze.

  • Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons of the cream, and the almond extract in a bowl.

  • Add more cream, a teaspoonful at a time, until the glaze has the desired consistency, thick but pourable.

  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and garnish with toasted sliced almonds. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Happy Birthday Mama!

Like any recipe with a great name, this Blueberry Boy Bait taken from Smitten Kitchen, also has a great story. In 1954, a 15-year-old girl stole the show (but only won second prize) in the junior division of an early Pillbury Bake-Off with a variation of this recipe, named, she said, after the effect it had on boys. Cook’s Country magazine dusted this recipe off from the Pillsbury Bake-Off Dessert Cookbook and made a few tweaks to bring it more deliciously into the modern age. Butter was swapped for shortening, the quantity of blueberries was doubled and some plain sugar was replaced with brown sugar. The result? Let’s just say you don’t need to be a boy to be lured in.

BLUEBERRY BOY BAIT

Ingredients:

For the Blueberry Cake

2 cups (250g) plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon table salt or kosher salt

16 tablespoons unsalted butter (225g), softened

3/4 cup (145g) packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup (235 ml) whole milk

1/2 cup (85g) blueberries, fresh

For the Topping

1/2 cup (about 85g) blueberries, fresh

1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13″x 9″ baking pan.

  • Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed.

  • Beat till fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated, scraping down bowl.

  • Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk.

  • Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally add the remaining flour mixture.

  • Toss the blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries.

  • Spread batter into prepared pan. Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together.

  • Sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, for 45 to 50 minutes.

  • Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

  • Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. Makes 12 generous servings.

Blueberry Boy Bait

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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