Category: Tips & Hints

Tips & Hints – Greaseproof vs baking parchment

What’s the difference between greaseproof paper and baking parchment?

PickofTheWeekDonutsBaking parchment has been treated with silicone, so it’s non-stick, moisture-resistant and can handle high temperatures, which makes it great for baking. Greaseproof paper, on the other hand, isn’t non-stick or heat-resistant, but is fat-resistant, making it best for wrapping greasy foods such as baked goods and cheese.
Pick of the Week

It’s easy to get snowed under when browsing Pinterest by the hundreds of breads, cakes, and carefully styled homes shots, but Mel’s (The Faux Martha) doughnut board most definitely stands out among the white noise, and shows that the doughnut trend hasn’t passed quite yet.

 

Tips & Hints – Using leftover rice

TipoftheweekIt’s a well-known fact that it’s almost impossible to cook the right amount of rice. It’s also pretty well-known that reheating those mountains of rice leftovers should be avoided, since it can give you food poisoning.

I’m pretty sure the boys I lived with at uni flouted that rule, but I’m also certain they’ve eaten so many technically non-consumable things that they’re now invincible. Good job, guys.

However, for us mere mortals, it’s necessary to take precautions.

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How to bake a flat-topped cake

We’ve all been there: desperately trying to level your latest cake creation with a bread knife before stepping back and realising that, if anything, it’s more wonky than it was before, and now you’re going to have to battle with crumbs to frost the damn thing.

Or worse, attempting to stack domed cakes and fill the gaps with frosting, leading to an inevitable sponge landslide. There’s a plethora of gadgets and recommended methods for making your cake layers flat-topped and ready for stacking…but really, all you need is a bit of thread or some safety pins, and an old flannel, to create a wrap, like a headband, for your cake tin. Then, simply wet it and wring it out, wrap it around your cake tin, and cook as normal for a perfectly flat-topped cake.

How does it work? The wet towel stops the sides of the cake from getting hot, so it doesn’t bake early on – instead, the whole cake bakes at the same time, and so rises to the same height.

You might be able to buy strips for this purpose from a cookshop – but it’s worth spending a few minutes cutting and sewing, or pinning, to make something that will cost you pennies and last for ages. If you plan on making a few – for different-sized tins, for example – you may be better off cutting up a hand towel.

To make the wrap, cut your (clean!) flannel into strips as wide as the depth of your cake tin, then sew or pin them together end to end, creating a long strip of towel. Run this strip through your hands a few times to remove any fluff or loose bits of towel. Wrap this around your tin, then pin or sew it closed so it’s firmly wrapped around but loose enough to wiggle off when the cake’s done cooking. Each time you want to use it, simply wet it again – and rejoice in never having wonky layer cakes again.

Cooking with Poach Pods {or how to make a perfectly rounded poached egg}

Also alternatively titled, “How to make poached eggs that look a little bit like boobs”.

This post has been updated! Click HERE for wayyyy more info.

Poached eggs have a special place in my heart. I have loved them, with the kind of wistful adoration usually reserved for distant lovers, since my first taste, as part of eggs Benedict at Patisserie Valerie. But I’ve struggled to cook them, always being left with a weirdly gelatinous mermaid’s tale of egg white and never quite getting that perfect yolk.

So on one of my regular escapes from London, I couldn’t help but nip into a Lakeland to get some Poach Pods. And although they’ve been around for years, they were a bit of a revelation – no more trailing egg whites, and I get that elusive beautiful yolk every time. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though – the Pods’ packaging was devoid of usage tips, so on the first time I didn’t put a lid on the saucepan, so after 12 minutes cooking all I got was a half raw, half rubbery egg. Parts of the egg were stuck onto the pod too, as I didn’t realise they needed greasing before use.

But once you take these steps, the Pods are easy to use and deliver excellent results.

Poach

Tips for use

* Lightly grease the pods before use.

* Only half fill the pan you’re poaching in – any more and the water may go over the side of the Pod.

* Cook for 4-5 minutes with the lid on.

* Run a knife around the edge of the egg when cooked to ease it out.

You can buy Poach Pods from Waitrose, Lakeland, and Sainsbury’s.

Image: Poached egg in a toasted English muffin, 5 Weight Watchers ProPoints!