Saturday, February 28, 2009

Macarons. Love 'em... or Hate 'em

The relationship I have with macarons is a love/hate one. Love them cos they're really oh so gorgeous to look at with their smooth dome tops and frilly "feet". But, they're also oh so annoying to make. Baking macarons is a task of acute detail and delayed gratification, definitely not a confection to try when in a lackadaisical mood. Yet, each time I feel an almost obligatory attraction towards baking the perfect macaron.

Well, this time it shall be lemon flavoured ones. I still have lemon curd left over from the earlier cheesecake session you see...why leave it to waste.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Carrot Cake... It's a Classic

Carrots are an old world food. If you ask a food historian, they'd tell you that sweet cakes such as this date back to the medival period, though it probably took the form of a pudding instead. You'd also find out that this was a cake that grew in popularity from its ability to fill a lack. Back then, sweetners were scarce and costly. Carrots which contain more sugar than any vegetable became the natural ingredient of choice.

I wonder who first decided to top it with cream cheese frosting though...Heavenly.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lemon Cheesecake

One of the joys of baking lemon cheesecake is in grating the lemon rind. I simply love the fresh, zesty fragrance it gives.
The more tedious part though is in making the lemon curd, having to stand over the stove, constantly whisking the mixture to ensure it doesn't curdle. But it even then, it lasts all but 10mins, and definitely worth every second of the effort once you've tasted homemade lemon curd. Traditionally, a old english spread for scones, lemon curd is used today to fill tarts, pies and triffles. And of course, to top cheesecakes. Its amazing how simple ingredients - eggs, sugar, lemons and butter, can bring about such a wonderful tart, yet sweet flavour.
For the base, I used ginger snaps. In most instances I would have gone for the usual McVities Digestives biscuits but a case of forgetfulness let me walk out of the supermarket without buying them. Well, good that it happened actually; I realised that I much prefer the added flavour from the snaps. Certainly adds dimension to the cheescake without being over-powering. I'm gonna be baking this version from now on.