12 March 2012

Brunch is best.

Today I celebrated the arrival of my friends' teeny tiny little girl into the world, in the best way I know how, with a full Sunday brunch spread in tow. I've decided to make or bake most gifts from here on out; it gives me a thoughtful excuse to preheat my oven. I had to fight the urge to make a quiche; it's my token brunch recipe, but I wanted to play with a recipe for arancini on the BBC's fabulous food site.

Coffee cake and cookies, balanced out (sort of) by the big, beautiful salad
This is what we ate (recipes below):
-Truffled mushroom and caramelized onion arancini
-Pomegranate, quinoa, and herb salad
-Raspberry dark chocolate coffee cake with cinnamon ginger streusel
-Lemon cardamom cookies

Each of these recipes is so worth making and is low-maintenance but impressive. Mr. liked the arancini best, and Mrs. couldn't stop raving about the coffee cake. And I was smitten with their new little girl. Everybody won, through and through.

The newest addition!

I will put up an outfit post tomorrow; today the sun in shining, so Julian and I are going for a bike ride. He turned 11 months yesterday... let the party planning begin!

Truffled Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Arancini 
adapted from BBC Good Food
  • 50g mixed mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions - or 1 medium onion (see this helpful tutorial)
  • 100g risotto (arborio) rice
  • 25g butter
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp truffle oil
  • flour seasoned to taste with salt and pepper, for rolling
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs mixed with 1/8 cup grated parmesan, for rolling 
  • sunflower oil , for frying
  • freshly grated parmesan, to serve 
  1. Chop and fry the mushrooms and risotto rice in butter for a few minutes. 
  2. Add the red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and vegetable stock, a ladle at a time, stirring until absorbed each time. 
  3. Cook until the rice is tender, then stir in caramelized onions, truffle oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Chill in refrigerator until firm, or about 2 hours. 
  5. Shape rounded tbsps into balls, then roll in seasoned flour, beaten egg, and finally, dried breadcrumb mixture. Cover and chill for 1 hour to firm. 
  6. To cook, heat a deep pan filled one-third full with sunflower oil until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Fry a few balls at a time until golden and crisp. Lift onto kitchen paper, dust with freshly grated parmesan, and serve.


Quinoa, Herb, and Pomegranate Salad
adapted from BBC Good Food
  • 150g quinoa
  • 1⁄2 vegetable stock cube
  • dash of soy sauce
  • 75g pine nuts
  • pinch of salt
  • Seeds from one pomegranate
  • a small handful glad-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • a small handful coriander, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 lime , juiced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions adding the vegetable stock cube to the cooking water. Leave to cool, then break up with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts with a pinch of salt in a dry frying pan until lightly golden. Mix the pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, herbs, lime juice and 4 tbsp oil through the quinoa and serve. 


Raspberry Dark Chocolate Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Ginger Streusel
adapted from Martha Stewart

For the streusel topping:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
For the filling:
  • 2 Tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
For the cake:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Make the streusel topping: Mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small to medium clumps form. Fold in pecans. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Make the filling: Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and pecans. 
  3. Toss raspberries in flour and shake off excess. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  5. Make the cake: Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt into a small/medium bowl. 
  6. Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, between 2-4 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until well combined.
  7. Spoon half the batter into 9-inch springform pan and smooth into an even surface. Sprinkle filling mixture evenly over batter. Sprinkle raspberries over filling. Top with remaining batter, and spread evenly. Sprinkle streusel topping mixture evenly over batter.
  8. Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. (You might see some raspberry residue, but no batter should be visible.) Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Run knife around the edges, remove cake from pan, and transfer to parchment.
Cook's Note: Coffee cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. 


Cardamom Lemon Cookies
adapted from The Not So Humble Pie
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of three large lemons
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup golden caster sugar or sanding sugar for rolling
  1. Zest your lemons over your mixing bowl to capture any of the oils released. Be careful to remove only the lemon's zest and not the bitter white pith. A microplane makes easy work of this and produces very fine zest.
  2. Cream the butter, lemon zest and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Add the cream of tartar, cardamom, and baking soda then the flour, mixing until it forms a uniform dough.
  3. Turn out the moist dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a rough rectangle and wrap in plastic. Place the dough into the refrigerator and allow to chill for several hours or over night (or for 30 minutes in the freezer if you're hurrying [read: procrastinating], as I often am). This will make the dough easier to handle and will prevent the cookies from melting too quickly (resulting in flat crinkly edges) when you put them into the oven.
  4. When you're ready to roll and bake, pre-heat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Roll your dough into one inch balls and then roll each in a bowl of sanding or coarse sugar. 
  6. Arrange balls on baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inches apart, giving them room to spread.
  7. Bake on middle rack for 10-12 minutes, or until the wet spot in the center of each cookie has disappeared.