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Thursday 30 October 2014

Breakfast and Multicookers

Breakfast does not get better than this!

I love this time of year for so much more besides the pumpkins and associated spiced lattes (pfft… whatever). Autumn is the time of year when breakfast gets interesting, and I start to fancy something other than the Bircher muesli my friend Clare has caused me to become slightly more than healthily addicted to. She calls it the 'summer porridge, breakfast of champions.' On the whole, I'd go along with that, except that compared to regular porridge, Bircher is like a bowl of nothing.

I love hot breakfasts! Or anything that isn't just plain cereal, which, though I love it, Bircher muesli kind of is. The only problem is that I don't always have time to make proper porridge in the morning, and even if I do, I can't always be bothered with the stirring. This is one of the reasons I have been loving tinkering with my newest bit of kitchen booty - the multicooker.

Whereas it looks like a rice cooker, the Redmond RMC-RM4502 actually does more than that. It bakes bread and cakes, fries, deep fries, stews and steams. Oh, and makes porridge - from oats, cornmeal, buckwheat, you name it, the Remond will cook it. I have really enjoyed using it in the kitchen because it has a time delay function, which means that I can go to bed knowing I'll wake up to a warming, healthy breakfast with no early morning prep. Doing my hair takes long enough, to be honest. As if I would be feasting on cornmeal and maple porridge of a morning if I had to actually cook it myself when I woke up!

(If only I had had one of these as a student! You know, I basically didn't eat breakfast for four years when I was at university. When you get up late and have to be in language lab for 9am, breakfast doesn't really feature in the day.)

I have also been baking in the Redmond. And eating the cakes for breakfast. I have found it makes really light and airy, yet moist, sponge cakes, like the ones Italians call 'pan di Spagna'. Perfect with a cup of coffee and a piece of fruit. Or just the coffee.

In fact, as you can see, the multicooker has basically been my breakfast saviour for the past few weeks. I think it's a great machine and am planning on trying some bread in it this weekend. I gave our breadmaker away years ago, as a single function machine that takes up so much room just didn't seem worthwhile. The multicooker is here for keeps though!

Cake can be a breakfast food too!

If you have a Redmond multicooker as well, give my breakfast recipes a try (as well as some of the 100 recipes that come with it!). They will make autumn and winter that little bit more delicious!

Creamy Maple Cornmeal Porridge with Brazil Nuts and Sultanas

You will need:

75g cornmeal (polenta - I always buy the coarse ground one)
500ml full fat milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
a handful of Brazil nuts, chopped
a handful of sultanas
soft brown sugar (optional)

  1. Place the cornmeal, milk and maple syrup in the machine bowl and stir well. Cook for 35 minutes on the oatmeal setting. Stir well and serve topped with nuts, sultanas and a sprinkle of soft brown sugar. Gorgeous. 
  • You could also top with cinnamon and walnuts, or some frozen berries.

Pan di Spagna (Breakfast Sponge Cake), my way

You will need:

200g self raising flour
6 eggs
175g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. First, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and moussey. This will take ages, and you will feel like your arm is going to fall off, unless you have the common sense to use an electric whisk. 
  2. Still beating, add the lemon zest and vanilla, then gradually the flour.
  3. Pour into the greased machine bowl (I used vegetable oil - a baking spray would be fine, or butter). Bake for 40 minutes on cake setting.
  4. Cool on a rack as you would a regularly baked cake. 
  • I have made this twice so far in the multicooker. Once with plain flour, and once with self raising. I know everyone says that you should always use plain flour when there's no butter in the recipe, but honestly, with the self raising you get a much higher rise. Don't listen to the books, listen to me! :)

Delicious Delicious Delicious received a sample multicooker courtesy of Redmond and was commissioned to write a recipe. My opinions are, as always, my own.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Pumpkin Spice Cake

It's that time of year again. Everybody has started screaming about #PSLs being available at that coffee chain that we keep supporting even though they don't pay their corporation taxes. I'm so over it.

Don't get me wrong: I love pumpkin more than you could ever understand. When I first found out about pumpkin spice latte, my heart skipped a beat (though I did think the idea of pumpkin and coffee sounded rather on the not delicious side of delicious). But here's the thing…

THERE'S NO PUMPKIN IN THE DAMN THINGS! It's pumpkin spice in the sense of 'spices that you might put into a pumpkin pie', not actual pumpkin-infused coffee drink.

I thought it was awful. Misleading. Wrong. And then it dawned on me last week that I could use the widely accepted deceit to my advantage, since I didn't actually have any pumpkin in the house and I wanted to bust out the Nordic Ware pumpkin loaf pan. (And why wouldn't I? Have you seen how beautiful this cake is?)

So there we go: pumpkin spice cake, without an ounce of pumpkin in it. Well, if Starbucks can do it with their lattes…

Try it. I'm not saying don't cook with pumpkin at all, but if you have this tin, it's a shame not to use it at this time of year. (I actually also use it for lemon drizzle year-round, but don't tell anyone.)

By the way, the almond extract is optional, but I have been tinkering about with my bottle of it ever since Fuss Free Helen turned me onto the stuff made by Steenberg's. I love the extra marzipanny depth it gives everything, but I know that not everyone is an almond lover, so you might just want the vanilla. Your choice.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

You will need:

200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
225g soft butter
4 egg whites (or 2 whole eggs, I just had whites to use!)
75ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a standard sized loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, or a stand mixer (which is what I used), mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the butter and milk and mix until well combined. Beat for two minutes.
  3. Add the egg whites and extracts and beat until smooth (about another minute).
  4. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes. Rest for ten minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Delicious Delicious Delicious received three samples of extracts from Steenberg's Organic. No money changed hands, and my opinions are, as always, my own.
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