March 21, 2010

Hot buns, hot knobs, & mini burgers...



So, Miss Rose passed her confirmation this week, which meant not only is she well on track for her PhD, but that she could finally make her long-awaited return to kitchen TPB, and what better way to celebrate than with a plethora of hot buns?  Yep, things were going to get hot and sticky in the kitchen, but first, lunch...

One thing we're not so good at here at TPB is lunch.  Not so much the making of, but rather, when we're baking, we tend to get a little preoccupied with our endeavours and so will often forget to eat for ourselves.  This time, though, I came prepared, and with a little something for which Miss Rose had a hankering.  Enter the meatball slider...






What constitutes a meatball slider is a miniature roast garlic-embellished roll which is graced with a tender meatball that has been stewed in a luscious tomato sauce; and is thus served as the ultimate tiny burger snack...




Cute yes, but also incredibly tasty, and while I should warn that the sauce is one of those flesh-seeking, kitchen-redecorating, lava-like bringers of extreme pain, they're otherwise quite delightful.  And since we were also due for some serious pork over-indulgence the following evening, I figured some salads were also in order...





As for those buns... well...  We started with the gift of divine spice from an especially lovely gentleman, and from there, things only got better.  There was many a bun joke, oodles of sexual innuendo, and a great deal of inappropriate behaviour by a certain someone, so obviously, life was returning to normal...







The buns were exquisitely dense and beautifully weighted, tasted divine, gave a heavenly aroma, and while I personally would happily opt for simply hot buns as the piping endeavours for the cross made me exactly that, traditions do seem rather hard to break.  All up we managed 54 pairs of hot buns, and as we packaged our 104 little bundles of joy away, I couldn't help but think, it was so nice to be back...




March 14, 2010

An icy pick-me-up...

I was trying ever so hard not to post this week. Miss Rose's return to the kitchen was imminent, and I have feared that the frequency of posting of late has put me at risk of becoming one of those irritating blogger's who writes about practically everything they cook. But I'd been feeling a little mopey this week after some minor afflictions left me irritatingly impeded, and the failure of random chance meant I missed out on something I'd been rather looking forward to.  Naturally, any good sulk calls for ice cream, and although I almost managed to quietly wallow in my own self pity, these were just too good not to share...

The week started with an orange sorbet.  This was nothing particularly new, a mere reiteration of previous sensations, but it was gorgeously refreshing, and I am becoming increasingly happy with the texture I'm achieving, so big-ups there...


Orange sorbet


This was followed by a rather delightful apricot pistachio number.  I would have liked to do this with fresh apricots, but the wine-soaked dried ones still came through, and an additional dash of brandy managed to bring it all together quite nicely...


  Apricot pistachio ice cream


For something completely different, I finally got around to trying out olive oil and pine nut ice cream, and well, my goodness!  The grassy tones of the olive oil work surprisingly well in the creaminess and affected a wondrously luscious texture.  If you never thought toasted pine nuts would work well with sweet, just try this and then you will understand. Glorious! (Which is good, because if you give it a few days it's practically all nuts, so do find yourself a punchy olive oil to keep it coming through.)


Olive oil & pine nut ice cream


For the pièce de résistance I tried my hand at a creation of my very own.  I had been rather intrigued by a recipe for bourbon and cigar ice cream, but wussed out by virtue of the fact that (i) most cigar smoke makes me gag, so the thought of gag-flavoured ice cream wasn't particularly appetising; and (ii) can you imagine me trying to buy a cigar? Ha!  Instead, I decided it might be nice to stud a rather scrumptious maple ice cream with chopped pecans and muscat-soaked dried figs.  Turns out it was quite a good idea indeed...


 Maple ice cream with pecans & muscat-soaked figs


So all things considered, I would hazard that there are worse ways by which one could alleviate a self-induced case of melancholy. Cheers!



March 4, 2010

If you like...



If you like pretentious cocktails and impromptu wet t-shirt competitions; have an aversion to group stretching; haven’t had a lobotomy recently; and like getting your groove on in sandy places, then these are for you…




Coconut sorbet, Roast pineapple gelato, and Lime & mint sorbet





If, on the other hand, you are presently applying an ice pick to your ear in an attempt to remove the subliminally planted escape from your mind, then you may be in need of this…




Turkish delight ice cream with pistachios & Persian fairy floss





And if, after all of that, you do happen to make it through to the morning, then I highly recommend this for breakfast…





Coffee granita




To be honest, this week was in fact a little bit whelming. Maybe I’ve been overdoing it? Maybe it’s just been one of those flat weeks? Or maybe I was left a little distracted after sharing lunch with a certain kitchen god for whom I have the utmost respect? Whatever it was, I’ve been left with the impression of nice. Just nice.

The roast pineapple gelato was reasonably delicious, but I’m not sure how big a difference the roasting process made. Perhaps I was a little impatient and needed to keep going until they began to caramelise? It’s just that it's a little hard to judge when you’ve never roasted a whole pineapple before…

The coconut sorbet was also lovely and refreshing, but was perhaps a little tainted with distain. Those brown hairy balls are hard to conquer at the best of times, but after you finally crack the first one only to discover it’s rancid, and then spend a lot of time and effort grating the second, it’s hard to keep feeling the love. I think this is one that will grow on me though, and I suspect that while it does feel a little pale on the palate, it probably has the right amount of oomph if you were to eat more than a spoonful.

What I was most disappointed with was the lime mint sorbet. I am yet to be convinced that using glucose syrup/liquid glucose is a good thing, and I can only assume that the recipes I have encountered have come from regions where glucose syrup is rather different to what we have here. Its inclusion is designed to soften the sorbet, but so far all I have succeeded in doing is produce a texture akin to a sticky, syrupy slushy. This is not always a bad thing, but I like to eat my sorbet with a spoon, not drink it through a straw, something which made this lime mint sorbet especially disappointing, because the flavour itself was spectacular. It was punchy and delicious and would have been wonderful as a smack of icy crunch, I just felt its kick got a little lost in the syrupy sweetness of the slush.

But things weren’t all bad (and remember, as far as we’re concerned, bad is also quite a relative term), as the pistachio-studded Turkish delight ice cream was positively plush, and the coffee granita featuring a vibrant and tangy Kenyan Ndimaini from Market Lane was pretty close to absolute heaven.

_______________


So I guess this week you gained a little insight into how we work, and saw that, rather unsurprisingly, a large part of what we do is experimentation. To my mind, you have to give everything a go at least once. After all, how will you discover those perfect recipes, those combinations of things that work (and equally those that don’t), if you never try anything new? 


 To many happy hours indeed...