With the UK experiencing a flour shortage, it’s time we got to grips with what exactly we’re using. For self-raising flour, it’s easy: it’s just plain flour with a raising agent added.Continue reading
There’s one super easy tip that’ll stop chunks of chocolate flying everywhere when you chop it – it’s not just me, right?
Instead of using a straight knife, use a bread knife, particularly when cutting through large blocks. The serrated edge reduces resistance, making the cut less jerky and difficult. Keep the tip of the knife on your chopping board using your spare hand as you cut down. No more three-second-rule-floor chocolate. (Sorry. Ew.)
Seizing – or, to you and I, “Oh balls, the chocolate’s gone grainy” – happens when chocolate overheats or the cocoa powder in it absorbs water. You can bring it back for use in brownies or puddings by gently reheating it in a bain marie and adding 1 tsbp of vegetable oil, boiling water, or hot cream for every 175g of chocolate. No more sadly spooning gritty Green & Blacks into your mouth before dashing to the shops again.
Baking 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.
I didn’t get nervous about the Swiss meringue until I saw the polyester sleeve of my mother’s dressing gown dangling perilously close to the flame flying out of the blowtorch.
Let me start at the beginning. When we decided to make cakes for my mother’s birthday, I went with my usual method of imagining something and deciding to leap in without being fully sure of my method. It sounds like a reckless process when I write it down like that, but “Eh, I’ll learn by trying” has served me pretty well so far.
What I didn’t realise when I pictured a cake topped with fluffy meringue, piped tips torched golden, is that Swiss meringue is notoriously finicky. Thanks to reactions between proteins that I don’t completely understand and definitely can’t pronounce, Swiss meringue can be both unstable and less fluffy than you’d hope. It can weep. It can collapse. If I’d known this, I might have been nervous earlier than when I had visions of my hand flying off to the left and setting the kitchen on fire.
Thankfully, using this method, the meringue – and I – did not weep or collapse. Instead, it came out glossier than a show horse, and once I’d moved that pesky sleeve out of the way, turned the most glorious golden colour after being kissed by a blowtorch.
That’s right, perfect poached eggs. It’s time, I think, to pull together *dramatic movie dun-dun-DUUHNN* a definitive guide to poaching eggs, beyond the pods.
Since I started writing this blog, through its evolution from pure baking to a more rounded focus, one thing has been a constant. The typefaces have changed, my home has changed, and the URL has changed, but this one thing has, for almost three years, remained the same.
I have consistently been haunted by poach pods.
A little how-to on silicone poach pods has been my most popular post for a long time, and by a huge margin. They’re there 11 months of the year, hanging out at the top of blog stats. Tripping me up when I’m looking at actual recipes. Because, let’s face it, we can do better.