Japanese Pancakes

Well damn. The day is finally here. I finally got the pancakes right! Through much trial and error I got the right consistency and made the much anticipated Japanese Pancakes.

Based on my experience I will share a few things to look out for and some suggestions when making these beautiful pancakes.

  1. Use your favourite original pancake recipe as a base. I used my trusted pancake recipe and let me tell you it was amazing. I will try my carrot cake pancake recipe and see what happens…I am a bit doubtful that one will work.
  2. Sift your dry ingredients (including your sugar). This makes your pancakes much lighter and for these pancakes in particular you need them to be light.
  3. Use room temperature eggs and beat them until they are foamy before adding to your mixture. Using room temperature eggs will ensure you get maximum  volume.
  4. Generously butter your pan (if using non-stick) and the inside of your ring mold. If you don’t butter your ring molds properly then the pancakes will stick to the sides and you will have a lot of difficulty taking them out.
  5. Cook for 8-10 mins on one side and then about 5 on the other. Please don’t take out your pancake prematurely because they will not cook through properly. I made one with a beautiful golden crust on top and when I cut it open it was still very runny. You can insert a toothpick in the center to check.
  6. Use low heat. Since you will have your pancakes in your frying pan for an extended period ensure the heat is low so you don’t burn the bottom and the insides aren’t cooked through.
  7. Use tongs to flip the ring mold as it will be very hot.
  8. Cover your pan so that the top isn’t very runny before you flip. This is probably the most important one. If you don’t cover the top it stands a chance of being runny at the top and it is much harder to flip as it will spill…trust me I would know.

Those are my recommendations for making the pancakes. Now you might find them intimidating and you may fail on your first attempt but keep on trying!

 

Pancakes! Carrotcake Edition

Guys, guys….GUYSSSS! My life changed today. I saw the light!

I was never a huge pancake fan. They always tasted rubbery or oily. Guys…I just had bad experiences which I guess was a result of them being box pancake mixes. I had almost given up on pancakes until a few weeks ago when my friend gave me a recipe. It was incredible; there was no turning back. The pancakes were light and fluffy; not too sweet and the best part, they kept me full.

I have been addicted to pancakes since then and of course knowing me I had to mess around with the recipe. I went on my online foodie search and happened across a video for carrotcake pancakes. Listen, I absolutely love carrot cake, it is in my top 5 favorite cakes. Nothing really compares to a good carrot cake in my opinion so I knew I had to try this pancake.

The recipe was slightly different from my original recipe and honestly I wasn’t about to change this tried, tested and proven recipe. Thus, I simply incorporated the carrots and spices to my original solid pancake recipe and well let’s just say we have a winner. The pancakes were light, sweet and mouthwatering. I added a dollop of cream cheese frosting and topped it off with a drizzle of maple syrup. All I can say is, it’s an amazing occurrence when dessert meets breakfast!

Pancake 2

Cream Puffs

Hi guys!!! It has been a while. I got so caught up I am sorry! As my apology I will post this really simple and delicious recipe for a cream puff. You will love it!

Cream puffs are a type of choux pastry that originated in Europe. They are very simple to make and they are versatile. I am sure you can make one today as all the ingredients are more than likely in your pantry.

The thing I love the most about choux pastries in general is that you can fill them with anything from fruits to mousses. They are also very light and if done well people will think that you are some kind of world renowned French Chef.

Let’s Go!

I have put a slight twist on the traditional cream puff recipe by adding a nice sugary crust to go on top called a Craquelin. I got this idea from a youtuber that I follow “Home Cooking Adventures”. This gives the puffs a nice crunch and adds a bit of sweetness. So lets get started on the Craquelin. You will need to do this part first as it needs to go in the freezer for about 20/30 minutes.

Ingredients

Craquelin

  • 1/4 cup  butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour, I used all purpose
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Choux Pastry (This makes about 9 palm size puffs)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 50ml milk (you can subsitute for 50ml of water if you don’t have milk)
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 whole eggs

Method

Craquelin

  1. In a bowl, mix together the butter, flour and sugar until combines. Divide the mixture in two and add cocoa powder to half.
  2. Put the dough(s) between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper wax/parchment paper and roll the dough until it is around 3 mm thick. Guys each dough is to go between their own pair of wax paper.
  3. Freeze for about 20-30 mins.

Choux Pastry

  1. In a saucepan bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add flour all at once. Mix in the flour until fully combined.
  3. Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 1-2 minutes). (You will notice that some of the dough will stick to the bottom of the pan)
  4. Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or use a hand mixer, and beat on low speed to release the steam from the dough (about a minute). You can omit this step and simply set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the eggs one at a time. Mix well. Don’t be alarmed as the dough will separate and then come together.
  6. Continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste that holds its shape.
  7. Fit a pastry bag with a large ½ inch (1cm) round tip and pipe the dough into 1 inch circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Give them enough space. You may also use a ziplock bag and cut a hole at one of the corners.
  8. Remove the craquelin dough from the freezer cut 1 inch squares using your knife. You could also used your piping tip/cookie cutter to cut 1 inch discs.
  9. Place the squares (or discs) on top of the choux, pressing slightly.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and puffed. Guys take a look in your oven at different intervals when they are baking its pretty cool to see them puff up.
  11. Once they are done baking allow them to cool slightly and you can fill them with pastry cream, whipped cream, mousse, fruits, ganache etc. I filled mine with vanilla and matcha mousse.

I will share the recipe for my mousse soon! It is super light and fluffy and a wonderful addition to the cream-puffs. Also guys if you didn’t make the craquelin you could dip the top of the creampuff in melted chocolate. That would also be divine! Like I said these are very versatile and what you can do with them ends with your imagination.

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#Win or #EpicFail Japanese Cheesecake Edition (Part 2)

So yesterday I told you I was going to attempt to make a Japanese Cheesecake for the first time. I looked online for a few recipes and found three simple ones which I combined. All three recipes were fairly similar. The main differences were the ingredient portions and the usage of heavy/whipping cream v/s milk.

I am a huge fan of cheesecake, in fact my Baileys Chocolate Cheesecake is second to none. I will award myself that hat. I was also comfortable with making sponge cakes and coincidentally I made one last week. What I was not familiar with was combining the two. I was also a little nervous since I was not strictly following one recipe.

Now on to the task at hand, (are your sweating as much as I am?). These are my ingredients and portions: (Note: you can use whichever brands you like)

  • 1/2 cup baking flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 2/3 cups whole milk

I would recommend that you add a tbsp of lemon/lime juice and the zest of one lemon or lime. I love when regular cheesecake has a zingy taste. Whenever I make mine I usually add sour cream, lime juice and lime zest. I didn’t add it to this cake as I couldn’t find fresh limes in the supermarket when I was gathering my ingredients. One of the recipes I looked at didn’t call for lime so I was not too worried about omitting it. The cake will still taste amazing without it but I highly recommend that you add.

Now let’s get cracking!

Method

All your ingredients are to be brought to room temperature. This is very important in particular for your eggs. This will assist the whites to reach peak volume when beaten.

When baking/cooking I usually ensure I have the right portions of each ingredient before I begin. This reduces my chances of making mistakes or forgetting ingredients. I would advise you to do the same as it will be much easier to follow the steps below.

Preheat your oven to 320°F/160°C

Use parchment paper (I used wax paper) and line the bottom and sides of two 7 x 3-inch round baking tins. I believe you can line just one 9 x 3-inch round.

  1. Separate your eggs (it is easier to separate cold eggs, so if you took your eggs from your fridge separate them and let them sit for a bit until they are at room temperature).eggs.jpg
  2. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk the milk, cream cheese, and butter until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.pot.jpg
  3. Whisk the egg yolks until smooth, then slowly pour in the cream cheese mixture, stirring until evenly combined. Please be careful not to pour the hot mixture over the eggs as you might end up cooking/scrambling the eggs.
  4. Sift in the flour and the cornstarch (you could add a pinch of salt here), whisking to make sure there are no lumps.
  5. Put on a kettle full or water to boil (you will need this later as we will be baking the cakes in a water bath).
  6. Add cream of tartar to your egg whites (this will ensure maximum volume, you can substitute cream of tartar for a tsp vinegar/lime juice).
  7. Use your hand/stand mixture to beat egg whites until a soft peak forms. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat the whites until stiff peaks form. Don’t be alarmed as the whites will triple in volume.peaks.jpg
  8. Take about ¼ of the egg whites and GENTLY  fold them into the egg yolk mixture, then repeat with the remaining egg whites until the batter is evenly combined. Listen….FOLD GENTLY and try not to over fold. Your batter will deflate slightly which is fine, however, if your over fold or don’t fold properly your batter may deflate entirely. As far as I know, there is no coming back from that (chefs out there lemme know!!)
  9. Pour the batter into the lined pans and shake slightly to release any large air bubbles.
  10. Place the filled pans into a larger baking pan or dish (I used a large baking for one cake pan and a deep metal frying pan for the other don’t judge me).  Fill the larger pan with about 1 inch of hot water. (I usually put the pans in the oven first and pour in the water then).
  11. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes until the cake has risen to almost double its height. (I baked for just 1 hour so the top of my cheesecake wasn’t as brown)
  12. Remove from oven, and carefully invert the cake onto your hand and peel off the paper. Be extremely careful, as the cake will be hot. The cake is very light so there won’t be much pressure on your hand.
  13. You can add powdered sugar to the top (this is very popular) and eat with a side of your favorite fruits.

One recipe recommended eating the cake while still warm however, I personally didn’t  quite like it. I cooled the cake in the fridge over night and had a slice in the morning. It was divine. The cake was exactly what I had imagined. Light and fluffy with a creamy texture. Trust me it was worth the wait. I am planning on trying it with a dark chocolate ganache!

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Spicy Chickpea Wrap…is this heaven?

Something New

Yesterday for lunch I decided that I wanted to try something new. I was completely and utterly tired of the age old rice and peas and chicken. For those who are not from Jamaica, a little background… in Jamaica we “claim” that our national dish is Ackee and Saltfish, however, I can safely say this is definitely not the case…well it is…you know what I mean.

Every…EVERY single Jamaican can attest to destroying a nice box food i.e. rice and peas and fried chicken with of course a little curry gravy at lunch time. This is our pride and joy. I was, however, tired of it. YES I said it! I was flipping T.I.R.E.D. so I went on my way to try something new.

Walking into Eden Gardens Resort and Spa, I was immediately captivated by the breathtaking scenery. No joke, this place looks damn good. As I walked over a tiny bridge with bright orange Koi fish swimming below I looked over to see a busy young man by what I guessed was the Juice Bar. I went over and looked on the menu and saw “Chickpea Wrap”. Now, I am familiar with the chickpeas, I know quite a number of people who eat them, mostly vegetarians, but I never indulged before. I was about to change that today.

Without even asking the young man for customer reviews, I ordered the chickpea wrap and was told it would be ready in 10 minutes. I simply sat by the bar, which was located beside a small pool and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

The WRAP

My wrap was finally ready after 10 minutes (I was pleasantly surprised at the exact timing). It was served in a large styrofoam lunch box.

Behold the beauty:

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Now, now, now….Let me break it down for you so you understand the amount of delicious flavor this baby has! You are presented with a large wrap, jam packed with chickpeas and blackbeans. Both are soft but with a decent crunch, pair that with fresh sweetpeppers, thinly sliced carrots, spring onions and a lightly grilled tortilla wrap and you have a winner. I could go to my bed at night happy with just that…but…THERE’s MORE! A fresh fruit/vegetable salad is added as a beautiful complement to this spicy wrap. Cold juicy tomatoes, sweet yellow pineapples, crunchy lettuce and a secret dressing… trust me you get your money’s worth.

I am sure I missed out on some of the ingredients but no worries I will recreate this beast at home just for you! In the mean time take a visit to Eden and try the wrap! When you do comment below on your experience as we take this Foodie Journey together.