Feb. 28th, 2014

kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
Something I've cooked recently: I haven't done a lot of cooking over the last week because I've had a cold. Not a bad cold, but my energy levels have still taken a hit, and I'm not a terrifically energetic person to start with. Mostly I've relied on leftovers and bread.

Last Friday, when the cold was just starting, I did bake a lemon syrup loaf cake from a recipe in Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. It's not bad but something about it doesn't quite work for me. The cake is fairly eggy, and I have weird issues with egginess. I like eggs themselves, but I don't want things like cakes and breads to taste of eggs. And there's something about the combination of the quite eggy cake with the very lemony syrup that puts me off. I like the syrup but I want to try it on a different cake.

Last week's semolina bread experiment turned out okay but not great, as the bread was pretty dense. My semolina has been in the cupboard a while (how long? I'm not sure) which no doubt didn't help the texture or the flavor.

Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: Today I'm going to make some chicken soup, which as we all know magically conquers the cold virus. It'll be a vaguely Mexican-style soup using the rest of the dried posole I had on hand, plus tomatoes, chiles, green beans, zucchini/courgettes, maybe a potato, lots of garlic, and some cilantro at the end. If you're thinking "that's more of a stew" you're right. I like a soup with presence; I don't bother cooking thin delicate brothy things.

And I'm going back to first principles with this week's bread. I'll be baking Jim Lahey's basic no-knead bread (although using Lahey's later, modified recipe that calls for a little less water) because I want to remind myself what the texture of that bread is like, and then in the coming weeks I'll see if I can keep that texture as much as possible while using more interesting flours and combinations of flours. Essentially I want to see if I can merge the best aspects of Lahey's bread with the best aspects of Nancy Baggett's Kneadlessly Simple breads, and then start developing more variations. I did add a stage to Lahey's recipe: I mixed the dough yesterday morning and let it pre-ferment in the fridge for about 10 hours before removing it to the counter for the first rise. I think the pre-fermentation is largely responsible for the superior flavor of Baggett's breads, whereas the larger quantity of water and the higher oven temperature are probably behind the better texture of Lahey's. Yes, it seems I am planning to do science for GREAT BAKING JUSTICE.

Something I idly plan to cook someday: I'm still longing for the lemon-polenta-almond cake and the semolina-cardamom-rosewater cake I've been talking about. I think that, considering I live at a high altitude, don't have a great oven, and don't own a mixer, I'll have more success with cakes like those that are supposed to be flatter and denser rather than with American-style light layer cakes. Also, the flavors are so much more interesting.


kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)

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