Category Archives: Desserts

The Mykivity

Tis the season for telling baby birthing stories…

Jurassic Jesus

Jurassic Jesus

Sit yourself down, grab a mince pie…actually lets start again… Get your ass to the kitchen, make some mince pies, now sit down with a pie and glass o’ port as we begin…

sprinkle with cocoa and icing sugar before baking and top with a gold dusted fondant leaf...delightful!

Sprinkle with cocoa and icing sugar before baking and top with a gold dusted fondant leaf…delightful!

  It was a cold, dark night when the virgin (ha!) Linda pissed on a stick.

The plastic, urine soaked rod glowed a heavenly blue as it told her “you’re going to have a baby”.

“Dave! Dave! I have been told that in 9 months we are to have a baby!”

“So November? I knew I gave you a proper good one on Valentines” proclaimed an ecstatic David.

So, later that year, Dave and Linda made the 10 minute journey across Widnes, riding on a Ford Capri.

They arrived at Highfield Hospice where the midwife told Linda she would soon be with child.

“He will be called the Baby Michael!” Announced Linda. “Michael, after some hot guy from a TV show as I’ve realised naming him Marc after Marc Bowlan may not auger well.”

But, the joyous night did not last long…

After many uncomfortable hours a midwife approached Linda to tell her “There is no room in the vagina!”.

A new light appeared in the night sky. It was the flashing of an ambulance which had come to carry Linda and the partially crowned Baby Mykie to a manager in Whiston Hospital.

Doctors bearing gifts of gas, forceps and air paid their respects to the half-born Baby and delivered him into his mothers arms via C-section.

“All hail the new Baby Michael!”

“I know he is a special baby” said Linda. “He has a pointy head and is a bit yellow!”

“That’s because he got stuck in your lady tunnel and is half Chinese” barked the slightly racist nurse.

After treatment for jaundice, Linda and David took their cone-headed prince home to Widnes.

After that delightful tale you may have gone off your pies…but if you still want a gobble, here’s our recipe for sweet short crust pastry as a variation on our previous pies.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 40g vegetable fat (trex)
  • 25g caster sugar
  • pinch o’ salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • splash of milk if needed
  1. Rub fats into flour
  2. Stir through salt and sugar
  3. Cut through egg, ancillary and milk (if needed) with a butter knife until mixture comes together
  4. Press into a smooth ball, flatten and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes

This pastry is so easy to work with and rolls nice and thinly.  It has a beautiful crunch yet melts in the mouth…perfection!

This pastry is really easy to work with, it rolls crazy thin and melts in the mouth...num!

We will refrain from making comments about being rammed full of meat.

Have a very merry Christmas!!! Love Wondercat!

Logo christmas

photo 1

Wondercat Christmas: Mo Farah Mince Pies

Hello! It’s totally Christmas time!

Here at Wondercat we’ve been fabulizing the tree and decking the halls…the season has us in its tinselly grasp!
This weekend called for a bit of festive munchables, but, to be honest, we were more about the eating than the baking…time to whip up some lightening fast mincemeat and turn it into pies…so bloody scrumptious they’ll make you throw your arms wide and pull the “Farah face”!

Yes Mo, they're that good.

Yes Mo, they’re that good.

Mo Farah Mince Pies

Pretty shot huh? We were simultaneously holding the plate in front of the tree and photographing...life behind the curtain ain't so glamorous!

Pretty shot huh? We were simultaneously holding the plate in front of the tree and photographing…life behind the curtain ain’t so glamorous!

Mincemeat

equal weights of:

  • Dried fruits of various kinds-Plump raisins? A sour cherry perhaps? Christmas craisins? How about some candied peel? Throw caution to the wind, live on the edge, do it for Baby Jesus!
  • Cooking apples-peeled and chopped into little bits…not the cores, dumbass!

quarter weight of:

  • Brown sugar
  • Ginger beer
  • Butter
  • Almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Brandy, or some other delightful booze
  • Lemon zest
  • Orange zest

So, the equation for mincemeat is as follows (food algebra, brain food):
(4x(fruit+apple)+x(sugar+beer+butter+almonds)+spice+zest+booze)-bakers scoffing privileges

Just call me (P)Einstein! *We know, we know, total cracker joke right? Speaking of cracker jokes we heard THE BEST today…ready for this??! “How does King Wenceslas’ like his pizza?” We’ll pop the answer at the bottom of the post…worth every second of scrolling, we promise you!*

Back to the mince meat…

  • Just throw everything in a big ol’ pan (except the brandy and nuts) and boil away until the apples have turned mushy.
  • Let it cool for a while then stir in the almonds and as much booze as you can without making it a big sloppy mess…we got a good few glugs in let me tell you! *we had also been drinking the booze so were dancing around in just our pants singing Nicky Minaj…sometimes life calls for a semi-nekkid Minaj moment*.
  • Throw it into sterilised jars or as we did, a big lock ‘n’ lock tub and store it in the fridge.

Pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter-cut into cubes
  • couple of tbsp of lemon juice
  • pinch o’ salt
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • Rub butter into flour and salt until breadcrumby
  • Cut in lemon juice and vanilla extract with a butter knife until it starts to come together…and a bit of water if needed but not too much…if it’s a big wet mess then you have fooked it up.
  • Bring it together into a ball, squish it flat, wrap in cling-film and whack in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. *We used this time to go at the mincemeat with a spoon*
IMG_0402

Roll out pastry to 2mm…get a Joseph and Joseph adjustable rolling pin http://www.josephjoseph.com/kitchen-tools/adjustable-rolling-pin as they are AWESOME! Cut out little frilly circles just a little bigger than the pie holes *pie hole *sniggers**

Use some sort of blunt poking device...a little rolling pin, a spatula handle, a dildo... to push the circles down.

Use some sort of blunt poking device…a little rolling pin, a spatula handle, a dildo… to push the circles down.

Mince them up!

Mince them up!

Cut stars the size of the pie holes out of the pastry scraps...DON'T RE-ROLL...it'll taste like shit!

Cut stars the size of the pie holes out of the pastry scraps…DON’T RE-ROLL…it’ll taste like shit!

Plop on a star...oh and I know I totally need a manicure so pipe down Judgey McJudgerson!

Plop on a star…oh and I know I totally need a manicure so pipe down Judgey McJudgerson!

  • Bake at 175C for 20 minutes until the mincemeat is bubbling and the oven stink o’ Christmas.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar then enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

These pies are tiny, hardly a pie at all. They are actually closer to mini tarts but who has a mince tart? It would be like renaming the iPad mini the iPhone big. Any who, they are a perfect little morsel for a mouthful of Christmas cheer; like Mo Farah and gold medals you can have them all! *Mo probably didn’t eat his gold medals with a glass of wine watching Strictly…but maybe he did? Who knows?*
That’s right kids, go on! Eat all the pies…then bake more and eat them too!

It’s Christmas time!!!!

The moody ambience of a fragrance ad..."Smell like dessert, drive the chubby kids wild...Pie the new fragrance from Wondercat."

The moody ambience of a fragrance ad…”Smell like dessert, drive the chubby kids wild…Pie the new fragrance from Wondercat.”

Oh yeah, the joke…”Deep pan, crisp and even!” We laughed until snot shot from our nose…It doesn’t take much to tickle a Wondercat.

Wondercat is back baking! Chocolate Peanut Popcorn Cake

Well hello, long time no see!

Where exactly have we been for a year you may be asking…or not.

We thought we’d play it safe for a good few months and hole up in the Wondercat Apocalypse Bunker-just in case the world turned to shit or something…luckily, Obama is still president…bazinga!

OK, that may have been a lie.  Baking and then writing about baking takes a fair bit of time and dedication…after not hearing from the Great British Bake Off we got a little bit meh about the baking thing…did you watch it BTW??! OMG we were soooooo Team Brendan! If that man doesn’t do drag cabaret at the weekend I’ll eat my litter tray. In the end, the best gay won I suppose.  The closest  we’ve come to baking recently has been making these Halloween delights…

secret 5-a-day

It was Mr Whitworth’s birthday so Team Chadong decided to cook for him…the boys asked me to whip up a little something for dessert.  The concept is based upon an after dinner truffle the Chadongs had at the Lucullo Terrace – a dark chocolate truffle with finely ground popcorn in it…fucking amazing!  Oh, and after dinner the boys ran into our baking idol Eric Lanlard in the hotel! Maybe Mykie was a little tipsy and a touch starstruck and perhaps pestered the poor man for an autograph (whilst pulling out a camera?! replace tipsy with ridiculously shit-faced)…the shame! Hang your head boy!

Eric must have been able to smell the dozen vanilla Martinis Mykie had guzzled…Mykie has the face of someone desperately trying to appear less drunk than they are…comedy.

Anyways, enough chatter…

CHOCOLATE PEANUT POPCORN CAKE

so that’s why horizontal stripes make you look fat.

Sponge

  • 240g SR Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 105g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 105g whole nut peanut butter
  • 340g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 185ml buttermilk
  1. Line a 6 inch *winks* round cake tin and whack the oven on to 170ºC
  2. Beat the butters and sugar together
  3. Add the eggs one at a time
  4. Alternate between folding in 1/3 of the dry ingredients then 1/3 of the buttermilk with the vanilla extract in it
  5. Bake for about 1 hour until a pokey stick comes out clean (you know the cake testing drill by now)

Ganache

  • 150g 70% dark chocolate
  • 150ml double cream
  • 50g peanut butter
  1. Ok we were totally lazy and just stuck the lot in a bowl, microwaved it for 40 seconds until the chocolate had started to melt and whisked the shit out of it as it cooled…job done.

Icing (not frosting, Rule Britannia!)

  • 50g popping corn
  • 50g butter, room temp
  • good pinch o’ sea salt
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • the left over ganache from the filling
  1. Pop the popcorn (sooo much fun!) then blitz it to a powder and toast the powder in the oven until erm, toasted?!
  2. Beat the butter, sugar salt and popcorn powder until smooth
  3. Whip the cream to soft peaks
  4. Re-whip the ganache until lighter and fluffier
  5. Fold the ganache into the butter stuff and then fold in the cream

Decoration

  • Popcorn
  • Peanuts
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • pinch o’ sea salt
  1. Toast the peanuts and pop the corn
  2. Make a caramel by heating the sugar and water
  3. Pour caramel over nuts and corn and swish it all about…careful, the caramel is hot (We may have burned ourself by stuffing it into our pie hole before it cooled)

Assembly

  1. Slice top off cake to level (cake spoils! munch away!)
  2. Cut remaining cake into 3 equal layers
  3. Spread a layer of the ganache in each layer then chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes
  4. Cover cake with icing and smooth sides
  5. Pipe remaining icing around top and bottom edges
  6. Pile up popcorn/nut/caramel mix into a mountain of deliciousness in the centre of the cake
  7. Sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt

The cake went down well with Team Whitworth!  The mixture of squishy cake and crunchy popcorn was delightful…It tasted like the bastard child born from the erotic encounters of a gateaux and a chocolate bar. The Vanilla Duck could indulge as we’d used lactose free dairy ingredients…Wondercat is sooo very considerate of dietary needs (apart from those fucking vegans…oh and we’ll throw vegetarians under the bus as well).

Not the most refined looking thing we’ve baked but it was fucking tasty!

rotating the cake makes vertical stripes…which we all know are slimming.

So that’s it for now folks…I think we’re going to try for a regular bake schedule…possibly every two weeks? Our old schedule of twice weekly was frankly, fucking insane…cake lying around everywhere, cake coming out of peoples noses, hiding cake down the back of the sofa…

See you soon!

Cats in boxes and chocolatey superposition…

Well that is as near (or far) from any sort of physics we’ll be getting…

This weekend was all about different types of chocolate cakey things with pistachio ice cream…ok, only two things…and we bought the pistachio ice cream  *hangs head*

Chocolate Fondants

Simon asked for these for dessert on Saturday…and we all know the best way into a man’s pants is through his stomach…

fondant for a fondle

  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 40g dark chocolate
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30g plain flour
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • dash o’ vanilla extract
  1. melt the butter and chocolate together
  2. whisk the egg and yolk, sugr and vanilla until light and moussey
  3. fold the brown goo into the creamy goo
  4. fold in the flour and cocoa
  5. pour into greased and cocoa dusted moulds…or just use silicone ones
  6. bake at 200ºC until set outside but liquid inside…it’s best to under bake and let them cool a little to strengthen the outside…we are talking about 8 minutes 
The thing about cooking fondants is to get a gooey middle; but, they need to be set enough to survive un-moulding without exploding like the last Graboid in Tremors.

still gooey...just

This is especially difficult if you’ve baked them in a muffin tin so you have six of the little bitches to turn out at once.

jiggly little whores

Chococo Crepes

Sunday brunch…oh yeah!

crepes...no real way of making them look pretty

  • 50g plain flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • pinch o’ salt
  • 1 egg
  • tsp caster sugar
  • 20g melted budder
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 50ml coconut milk
  • dash o’ vanilla extract
  1. sift the dry stuff
  2. whisk in the wet stuff until nice and smooth
  3. leave to rest for 30 minutes
  4. oil a pan and get flippin’!

This amount makes about five crepes which is enough for one serving (maybe…probably not).

We dolloped (gross word) with pistachio ice cream and sprinkled with crushed peanuts…then drizzled with sweetened coconut milk…yummers!

drizzled coconut milk looks a lot like erm...some other nut milk

So that was the weekend, very similar ingredients, very different outcomes!

Oh yeah, and a cat in a box…

this is my box, I am king of the whole box

cardboard-robot-cat

Well, I do declare! A hazelnut éclair!

Well it’s been a tough week at the bakery…real life work has been taking over our lives leading to many tears, tantrums and feet stomping…

We did manage to escape for an evening and visit some friends for food, crafts and gossip…all delicious and juicy.

Wondercat couldn’t possibly attend empty handed…well we could, but we didn’t…

Bring on the Choux!

Hazelnut Éclairs

Choux Pastry

  • 33ml water
  • 33ml cream
  • 27g unsalted budder
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • pinch o’ salt
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  1. heat the water, cream, budder, salt and sugar in a pan until boiling
  2. take off the heat and chuck in the flour quickly and stir like bejesus!
  3. put back on the heat for about a minute, stirring until it starts to come away from the sides in a blob (this always looks slightly erotic…we really don’t know why!  maybe it’s the glistening oiliness looking like a greased up buttock…maybe we are just perverts).
  4. take off the heat again and whisk in the eggs slowly (oh yeah, beat the eggs).
  5. whack in a piping bag, leave to cool for a few minutes then pipe into little sausages…we like to pipe a sausage sat on another sausage…go crazy.
  6. bake in a pre-heated oven (oh yeah, pre-heat the oven) for about 20 minutes at 190ºC…it helps to throw some water into the bottom of the oven to get it nice and misty and help the rising.
  7. when looking nice and bronzed turn the oven down to 170ºC, turn each eclair upside down and jab it with a skewer (that word really makes us feel icky inside) or a toothpick to let out any moisture.
  8. bake for another 15 minutes or so until crisp and dry.

Hazelnut Cream

  • 30g Hazelnut butter
  • 200ml Double cream
  • 50g icing sugar

whisk it all up until light and soft and billowy…DO NOT OVER WHISK!  Over whisked cream in a desert is like opening a nice big gift to have a midget pop out the box and kick you in the groin…stop whisking before you think you’ve whisked enough to be on the safe side (we said whisk along then, and also “midget” which I think may be a bad word these days?!)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 part chocolate (the good shit)
  • 1 part cream

I will give no quantities as we like to have a pile left over to gorge on and rub all over ourselves like a piggy in shit (sorry), I’d say about 75ml/g of each should do if you are a normal person.

  1. melt the chocolate
  2. heat the cream until just bubbling
  3. stir the two together
  4. leave to cool and thicken for about 10 minutes then give a quick whisk to lighten it a bit

Assembly

Not very difficult…

  1. cut the tops off the éclairs 
  2. pipe the cream in using a large star tip
  3. pop the top back on
  4. pipe the ganache on using a basket weave nozzle going back on yourself every inch or so to create a shell pattern (fancy)

And you’re done!  Munch away!

we do love a creamy bulge

 

These are actually very nice and light enough that you can eat about three and still tell yourself you’ve eaten mostly air.

the side boob shot

 

The hazelnut filling is delicately flavoured and light…not claggy like peanut butter.

They went down well with our friends and Simon enjoyed a couple as well…despite his assertion he wasn’t going to eat any.

ready to transport...energize Mr O'Brian

 

ripple...another disgusting word

 

Now back to the dull work of working at the weekend…

Laters kids!

新年快樂 Wondercat rides the dragon

Gong Hei Fat Choi!  It is the start of the Chinese Spring Festival!  Chinese New Year!

Mykie is half Chinese.  Usually he doesn’t give a monkeys about his heritage…but if there’s food involved…

Wondercat was hosting “Come Dine With Me” so we decided to combine this with New Year and cook a FEAST!

Here’s a run down of what we made:

  • Char siu bao
  • Nai wong bao
  • Dou sha bao
  • Nian gao
  • Char Siu Pork
  • Crispy Belly Pork
  • Honey Chili Ribs
  • Sweet Ribs
  • Kung Pao Chicken
  • Garlic ginger broccoli
  • Rice
  • Noodles

and we cheated a bit and bought…

  • Siu mai
  • Har gau
  • Crispy duck
  • Duck spring rolls

It’s fair to say we were busy all day!

All the savoury stuff turned out fine…better than fine, the char siu pork and belly pork were delightful!

Maybe we made too much food for five people?

We had a bit of an issue with the bao! Used far, far, faaaaaaaar too much dough and ended up with space hoppers!  They were nowhere near as good as shop bought ones…back to the drawing board!

bao wow!

The nian gao was good…we didn’t have glutinous rice flour in so ground our own out of arborio rice (how’s that for ingenuity)!  We added home made red bean paste and dusted with gold dust.

We made little sweet versions

always remember to shake out the air bubbles...we forgot

and “lucky coins”

penny pincher

Here’s to a prosperous year of the dragon! Grrrrr! (that was a dragon noise BTW)

Wondercat Detectives: The case of the vanishing sugar

Over the weekend we baked a cake, a hazelnut and honey cake topped with spun sugar…or did we?

So, D & D were coming over for dinner and Wondercat was in charge of dessert.  We had a few ideas in mind, after fingering through a few of the new books than Santa brought us, he Maple and Pecan Cake from the Hummingbird Bakery “Cake Days” caught our eye; As we’ve been wanting to investigate their sponge recipe (it includes less budder more milk) for a while it seamed as good a time as any…(oh yeah, we say “budder” now…sounds tastier)

Hazelnut Honey Cake

we do enjoy a sticky nut

So we used the Hummingbird sponge recipe with a nut change, a maple/honey switcharoo and a splash of vanilla extract

  • 120g soft budder (mmm…budder)
  • 400g caster sugar (yes, this seamed a lot to us too)
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 360ml whole milk
  • 40ml honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (the good shit)
  1. mix budder, sugar, flour, bp and salt until crumby
  2. separately mix milk, honey, vanilla and eggs
  3. stir the two bowls of stuff together
  4. stir through the nutty nut nuts
  5. the book splits the batter into three 8 inch layers at 170ºC for 20-25 minutes…we whacked everything into a deep 8 inch tin and baked at 160ºC for just over an hour (until our cake probulator reached 210ºf (for some reason we always cook in Celsius but set the probe in Fahrenheit, dunno why, it’s a mystery (well not really))) *Wondercat: master of bracket craft* (but we don’t know what these ones [] or {} are all about)

So cake done, time to throw the book down and free style!

We filled the cake with a loose textured budder-cream *giggles* made with this stuff in place of budder (so is it really a budder-cream after all? *still giggling…no one else probably is*), icing sugar and a bit of whipped double cream to lighten.  We don’t have measurements, we just winged it until it tasted and felt right…there was a lot of tasting.

We covered the cake in a honey cream Chantilly which was pretty much just whipped double cream sweetened with honey and a little icing sugar to stabilise.

a cake with stuff on the inside and different stuff on the outside

Right, the basic cake scaffolding was in place, time for a bit of decoration! Some smashed up hazelnuts to cover the top, a flurry of piped cream around the edges and to finish, a nest of spun sugar (with a touch of honey) encasing caramelised hazelnuts…

like angel hair...if angels had sticky grossness on their heads...and were real

The sugar work was easy enough; we made a ridiculous amount of mess in the kitchen and managed to get a few sugar splinters (whoever thought an injury could be sooooo delicious?) and burns, and hot caramel in our ear????!?!?!!! We put the cake in the fridge as we went about the rest of our day (which is code for “play Skyrim”).  A few hours before dinner we realised a few blog pics should be taken…”That’s funny? I’m sure the sugar work was taller and more impressive before?”.  Snappy snap snap, pics taken, but we were puzzled by the shrinking sugar.  Just before dinner we checked again…IT WAS ALL GONE! GONE!  There was no sign of it! Not even a sticky puddle of remains (oh God! We’ve gone to our bad “The Snowman” place again).

see! all gone! and not even a hat, scarf and nose tangerine left behind

It’s not really a mystery, We bet you all know what actually happened to the sugar in the slightly moist fridge atmosphere… That’s right, it was aliens.  Aliens came down from the sky, got in the kitchen window whilst we were playing Skyrim and stole all our sugar…how fucking rude.

Alien abducted sugar aside, the cake was quite nice.  The sponge was lovely and moist (we think we may run a head to head “Vicky Sponge” vs “Hummingbird Milk Sponge” in the next few weeks), the filing and topping worked well, maybe they were a little on the sweet side TBH.  Slight concern with the crushed un-skinned hazelnuts on top giving a slight bitter taste…next time we’ll use blanched nuts.

hazelnut skins...our flavour nemesis...or maybe that was also extraterrestrial

So that’s the mystery of the vanishing sugar…the strands were demonstrably sharp enough to pierce human skin (splinter ouchies), the aliens saw this and decided to steal them for their nefarious human probing experiments…

the big gash wasn't the aliens, that was us

In your face Benedict Cumberbatch…in. your. face.

Choco-berry Tart: or, what can we throw together with stuff in the kitchen?

Another belated holiday post…we could have gotten away with this one using selective, none festive photos…but no; we will be honest and use the pic with the big ole Christmas tree…

oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how belated are your branches

So let’s set the scene *screen goes wavy, twinkly music*

  1. Mr Adam and Mr Jon where coming over for dinner and games (yes, we’re those sort of people)
  2. We are in charge of a dessert (Simon is making tuna meatballs for main)
  3. The kitchen is stuffed so full of holiday food it would make a turkey blush
  4. We were sure we could throw something together with what we had in already (and if we had to endure one more trip to a ridiculously crowded Waitrose, we’d have vomited on the Quick-Scan machine)

Say hello to Choco-berry Tart!

here's something we just threw together *strikes best domestic goddess pose*

For the crust, we had some cookie dough (from the reindeer biscuits) in the freezer. We thawed it,rolled it, baked it, cooled it…then smashed the fuck out of it with a rolling pin…then mixed the crumbs with melted butter and squished it into a tart tin (coffee ground tamper from coffee machine is awesome for this!)

crusty, a bit thick? was actually good balance of crunch to squadge

For the filling, we had been given a jar of “M&S Blackcurrant and Cassis Mousse Base” in a hamper from Granny Dot and Grandpa Mike (such a good hamper! bottle of Quady’s Elysiumin there too!) which you just stirred into whipped cream…Yes, this did fill us with shame and guilt at the thought of using shop bought stuff and passing it off as home baking has us weak at the knee and hyperventilating into a paper bag *gives a sharp look in Lorraine Pascale’s direction*.  It was fine though, better than fine actually, and we would have stopped there, but the guilt, OH THE GUILT! It gnawed at our soul! So we took some port, blackcurrant jam (homemade from the hamper, told you it was an awesome hamper!) and leaf gelatine and ran up a jelly/glaze for the top.

Finally, we shaved some white chocolate over the top, piped some left over cream from the mousse (grabs paper bag) and threw on some blackberries that we dusted with a deep red luster dust and black glitter (another guilt relieving extra step -OUT DAMN SPOT).

guilt numbing decoration

 

This was going to be a smug “baking just takes a bit of thought and you can find everything you need in the kitchen” post; but who are we trying to kid? It was bloody Christmas! If we couldn’t find shit to throw together some kind of dessert, it would be more surprising!

Tart tasted good through, and the M&S Mousse Base was actually *gags, sits down, swigs gin* damn gorgeous (much to our chagrin…and you still ain’t off the hook Ms. Pascale).

our knife always fooks up the pretty layering *googles "home laser cutter"*

What we will say is that baking doesn’t take a lot of effort or planning. It is something you can do on a whim…keep some butter, flour, sugar, eggs around and you are pretty much good to go!

We think this is the last Christmas post but we’ve seen Creme Eggs and hot cross buns for sale already so we’re not going to make any apologies if a tree pops into a shot in the next few entries.

TTFN love,

The slow boat…

Hello!
It’s be like forever since we’ve posted because The Wondercat Bakery went to China!

We have so many new baking ideas and inspirations for major baking experiments…China is totally stingy with their internets so I’ve not been able to do anything! We are currently on the plane home so I thought I’d write up a tart we baked the week before we left.

The was massive oriental anticipatory excitement going on in the bakery and we had Mr Adam and Mr Jon over for a luncheon so we created a black sesame and coconut tart with bitter chocolate peanut pastry!

tart art

ready for om nomming

 

So, this was an absolute made up recipe from different whosits and whatsits galore (you want thingymabobs? I’ve got 20). The annoying thing about it was everything turned out so great (there will be more in-depth self back-patting to follow) until the last minute when we decided to pipe some rando flourishes with black royal icing that was hanging around; the black bled into the beautiful translucent white top…it soooo brought back University memories of gel electrophoresis…but  frustratingly devastating…curse my lilly gilding! Curse it!!!

black rivers of despair...like a delicious Jeremy Kyle paternity testing.

 

Apart from the rivers of grey ombre grossness it was a pretty looking thing!
The pastry was crisp, nutty and buttery and as bitter as Arlene Phillips when Alesha Dixon stole her seat next to Len (are you watching Strictly BTW?! Love the Grant! Love him!).

crisp, bitter and a bit nutty...we could be talking Arlene Phillips after all.

The sesame filling was smooth and set to a lovely consistency. Smooth and creamy, held into slices without resembling cut up rubber (I had mild panic about over-setting the fillings and creating something fit for the A La Carte Kitchen (if there were any doubts about my 30 years, that reference should put a stop to them)). The sesame gives a divine, nutty, slightly smoky flavour that is defined yet subtle. The one down side of using black sesame?…It makes things grey! Who really wants grey food? It is probably the least desireable colour for munchables…I have grey food here people, anyone for grey food?!?!

grey...delicious

Luckily, this was accounted for. To add some lighter, sweeter notes to the tart and hide the strange alien greyness we made the coconut layer to give a beautiful glassy surface resembling the purest white marble (I know you are thinking WTF with the douchey descriptions, me too, but we’re 9 hours into a 14 hour flight so the springs in my brain have unwound themselves).
Again really happy with the set on the coconut, smooth, firm, but not like chewing on bathtub sealant!
The flowers turned out quite well. We will admit to smooshing a few in the making process and we did try smaller ones but they broke like a hymen during step aerobics (that’s a thing right? I blame the plane for the vulgarity).

We were so very pleased with the results as sometimes a DIY recipe can got totally breasts skywards…we had given this one a lot of thought so it was great not to throw it in the “never make again” pile along with the Orange Bolognese (that one was truly the worst thing EVER!). Creamy, nutty, mellow sesame giving way to the dark, bitter crunch of pastry then wrapped up in the light, sweet, richness of coconut and rounded by the richness of peanut!?!…PARP that will be the sound of my own horn.

even wonky grey filling can be disguised by coconut

 

Anyways, we are going now as the iPad is on 12% and we have numb arses!
I think the plan for the next few weeks is a write up of China, mainly so we down forget any of it but also to document the inspirations for future baking (it’ll be long and probably dull but this is our blog so you’ll just have to deal…or not read it, I’m not holding a gun to your head or anything); then, when we have recovered from 2 weeks of indulgence (and trousers once again can be buttoned up) we will start up the baking again!

Oh, forgot to say we have made up and baked a Christmas cake recipe so that’ll get a mention sometime…it is currently having a nice spa session in a bath of apricot brandy!

Laters people…we are going for a leg stretch!

ps.  Yes this didn’t get posted on the plane…as there are plane rules that I’m sure need to be obeyed.  That small flick of the index finger sliding flight-mode from off to on could have been the death of us all.

So, since we’re back and still jet lagged (5 days later! WTF) we can’t be arsed posting up the recipe for the tart.  If you are interested I will do so leave a request in the comments.

Good to be home people!

A fumble with a crumble

Don’t worry, we’re not doing a crumble recipe fully…because seriously, who can’t make a crumble?

Crumble by Candlelight...A scent for men*. New, from House of Wondercat (*fat men)

What we are doing is sharing a few tips to get a great crumble, an interesting crumble, the sitting on the washing machine of crumbles…

Most crumbles are good if not great.  The squishy filling the buttery, sweet top, that middle section where the layers embrace each other and create the warm stodgy gloop of wonder.  So, how can we improve?  Texture, texture people! Texture, texture, texture!!!

What we want out of a crumble is all of the above, plus, an interesting nugget of something here, a crunch of joy there…something to literally get our teeth into!  Because, let’s face it, crumbles may be a comforting delight but you could gum your way through most of them (and there’ll be plenty of time for than in our twilight years sat by the window in the nursing home).

So here’s how we make our crumble a bit more stimulating…

Crumble Top Wondercat Style

  • 100g butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 50g hazelnuts
  • pinch o’ salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • seeds from a vanilla pod
  • splash of cream or milk
  • bit of brown sugar
  1. rub butter into flour until breadcrumby
  2. stir in salt, sugar, bp, vanilla seeds
  3. cut through a splash of cream just to get it sticking to inself
  4. grab dough, give it a squeeze (like honking on a boob possibly?) then plonk onto a baking tray
  5. it should be crumby in places, doughy in places, thick in bits, sandy in others

    uncooked...yet delicious...I am an uncooked dough eater

  6. bake at 170ºC until some bits are golden and crisp but others are still uncooked and stodgy

    partly cooked...yet delicious...I am a partly-cooked dough eater

  7. leave to cool (ok, eat a little bit…it’s fucking scrummy)
  8. crunch up about 2/3rds (oh a fraction, I feel so 1970’s cookbook) of the hazelnuts roughly with a rolling pin
  9. take a zip-lock bag and put in the crushed nuts, the oats and snap up the biscuit stuff and throw that in too.
  10. take out anger with rolling pin on bag of stuff…don’t go too crazy as you want, no, REQUIRE boulders and nuggets of biscuit greatness
  11. pour onto your crumble filling, if it is very stir in a bit of melted butter to get it a little sticky
  12. scatter or arrange the intact hazelnuts on top
  13. sprinkle on a bit of brown sugar

    unbaked but I would...I did

  14. bake as your recipe says
We made little individual apple, cinnamon and golden raisin crumbles and they were much improved with the crunchy extras…total om nom time.

ooooh, toasted hazelnuts...this is Simon's; there were a few less hazelnuts when he got it

The hazelnuts on top toast up perfectly so you get a few different nutty flavours and shapes and sizes as well as the biscuity rubble.  Whist adding some greatness to the top you still retain that magical dividing layer of sticky, gooey, wonderful sexycrumbletimes (I’m imagining a planet of crumble, we are talking delicious mantle I think).

So, Autumn is here, there is fruit a plenty and nipple-bitingly cold weather approaching!  Go and make crumble!

p.s. Don’t dance semi-nekkid around the kitchen with an ipod tucked into your underwear *sobs*

poor pod, squished between my arse cheek and my tighty whities then dropped to it's death