Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cumin Seed and Cayenne Crackers *updated*

Making your own crackers is not all that difficult. If you are a person who does your own baking all the time *cough, cough Rachel* then these'll be very easy.

And you can change around the seasonings too! Nothing wrong with experimenting around with flavours as Naturelady certainly knows all about that.

I got the idea for these from a cookbook (I have a whole bookshelf of those darned things), but I'm not going to tell you which one as not only were there numerous typos throughout all the recipes, but the crackers (which didn't include cumin seeds or chili or SALT or turmeric) tasted HORRIBLE! I also had to change around the amounts of dry stuff.

Kinda tells you about the editing prowess of the folks at Newscorp, eh?

Anyways, here's a fairly simple recipe for making your own crackers and not having to worry about pronouncing all the unpronounceable chemicals in the commercial crackers.

What you need:

1 cup of flour
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp baking powder (I know it seems low, but we are making crackers, not bread)
1/2 tsp raw sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne powder OR 1/4 tsp chili flakes (double it if you really like spicy stuff)

1/4 cup of milk
2 tbsp olive oil

What you do:

Mix all the dry ingredients together --that'd be the first 7 of the above list. Add the milk and olive oil and stir lightly, then knead a few times.


Now let's roll this out! Grab off about half or a third of the dough, plop it on your counter, and start rolling! You want to get it to betwixt 1mm and 2mm thick. I like to err on the thin side personally.

Once you have it rolled out, you then get to cut the dough into cracker sized pieces. Before you do that though, you can prick the thin rolled dough with a fork if you so desire. Cookie cutter, kitchen knife, pizza cutter... whatever you want to use to cut the dough into whatever sized crackers you prefer. Your choice!

Then, of course, roll out and cut the rest of the dough.

Sprinkle some sea salt on a baking tray, put the crackers on it (you can crowd them, no worries) and sprinkle a bit of salt on the top.

Bake for about 10 minutes in a 350-400 F oven. Once the bottoms are slightly browned, then turn em over and bake for about 3 or 4 more minutes.

LET THEM COOL! They are *ok* when hot, but soooooo very tasty once they've cooled. They're also strong enough to scoop up any amount (or type) of dip you care to use.

Making your own crackers is an easy thing to do, and you get to stay away from all the chemical crud in the store-bought crackers.


Feel free to play around with the flavourings, please let me know if you find a really great spice/herb/seed combo, thanks for that.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Easy chocolate sauce

Yes I know I've written quite a few posts that involve chocolate (food of the Gods) sauce, but I thought I'd sorta consolidate them. Maybe give some tips, tricks, what goes well in it, etc.

The basic chocolate sauce has just three things: dark chocolate, butter, and cream. The less cream and butter, the thicker the sauce will be and if you only use a tiny amount of each then it'll harden upon cooling --great for things like chocolate coated strawberries. Or pretty much ANYTHING you want to chocolate coat (^_^)!

And the best thing is that you DO NOT NEED A DOUBLE BOILER! And it's quick too. You will need a thick-bottomed saucepan though so if you don't have one then go run out to the shops right now and get one.

I'll start with the basic sauce, and then talk about the various additions you can, ummm, add.

The basic chocolate sauce (this makes A LOT):

What you need:
One bar (375 grams or 12 ounces) of dark cooking chocolate
3 tbsp butter
1 cup cream

This'll make a sauce that is liquid at room temp, but thicker than motor oil. If you want a thicker sauce, just use less cream and less butter.

What you do:

Break the chocolate bar into pieces and put them all into your saucepan. Add the butter and the cream. Turn on the heat to low. Give it a stir to mix things well. Once the chocolate starts to melt, then take out a whisk and start whisking it. Almost continuously, in fact.

Once all the chocolate is melted and everything is thoroughly incorporated together, turn the heat off and continue whisking for another 30 seconds or so. Make sure you get to the bottom of the saucepan during the whisking so nothing burns.

Ta-da! Done! The whole process should have taken 2 or 3 minutes.

Now comes the FUN part! What you can add and when you should add it.

Substitute half the cream with a dark red wine like shiraz. Add at the same time as the cream, of course.

1 tsp of cinnamon powder and a half tsp cayenne powder. Add while whisking. Taste it afterwards and add more of either if you wish, no worries.

Cumin powder and cardamom powder go well too!

If you want it slightly tart, add some ground sumac.

Hard to go past ginger powder too.

My point is, the possibilities for flavorings are endless. I can tell you for a fact that the cinnamon and cayenne combo is wonderful! I'm still experimenting with the others to find the best combos that suit my palette.

So have some fun and experiment! Heck, make a batch of standard sauce and then divvy it up into bowls and mix different spices into each. Just make sure you write down which spices went into which bowl. And be sure to let me know what combinations of spices you find that are really good!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Curry Pancakes!

I'm pretty good with leftovers. Very good, in fact. I can feed a family of 4 for 4 nights straight on one 2 kilo chook --and one of those is a full-on roast chook meal that uses half the bird!

I'm always thinking up new ways to use leftovers, and I sometimes purposefully make enough for leftovers to see what I can do with them.

This wasn't one of those times... I just make a huge amount of curry! Chicken, carrot, capsicum, curry. I won't bore you with how I made it as there's at least as many different ways to make a curry as there are people on this earth.

But what to do with the leftover curry?

Why, make pancakes, of course!

Here's what you do: take your leftover curry and mix some water into it so it's fairly thin. Mix in self-raising flour till it's a consistency of thick thick pancake batter.

Crnk up a large hotplate or frypan. Cook em like you would could normal pancakes, except sprinkle both side with a bit of sea salt.

Then you eat them! There were very tasty and I even got BIL (he's a very finicky eater) to try them and he really enjoyed them.

You never know what you'll come up with till you try.