Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Tres Leches Cake

I came across tres leches cake when I was looking for a dessert to serve after mole poblano. However, I decided against it and made a passionfruit cheesecake instead. Because it is a cake, I thought it wouldn’t be puddingy enough. But I was wrong, it’s incredibly sweet, creamy and rich, the best way I feel I can describe it is that it is like condensed milk in cake form. With cream on top. So yeah, pretty pudding-like. I’m glad I did make it in the end, even if it wasn’t for any particular occasion.

It’s an interesting recipe. You make a cake, similar to a chiffon cake, as it is lightened by beaten egg whites. The cake also doesn’t contain any butter or oil, which was a  new thing to me. Once it is cool, you pour over a mixture of condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream, in stages, so it gets a chance to fully sink in, then leave to absorb. Top with softly whipped, sweetened cream and maraschino cherries, and there you have it.  It definitely tasted better after a night in the fridge, it had firmed up somewhat- although it was still good right away.  It also kind of reminds me of Indian desserts- very sweet and milky. Which has lead me to think a version with rosewater and cardamom as flavourings would be delicious, if inauthentic.

There are loads of recipes for this, I used this one (scroll to the bottom for the recipe). I also added the optional splash of rum to the milks, which I liked- I think it stopped it from being too much like nursery food. Some other recipes suggested Triple Sec instead, which might be nice, although I think I would prefer the deeper taste of a spirit. I was a bit concerned about the quantities of evaporated and condensed milk- this recipe just refers to ‘a can’ of each, and as it is an American site, sizes of can could well vary. Doing a bit of research, the quantities of these should be about the same, so I used a 410g tin of evaporated milk, a 397g of condensed milk, and the specified ¼ cup of cream. It made slightly more than my cake would absorb, but it tasted great. 

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Chongqing Hot and Sour Noodles

I've been continuing on my exploration of Asian cookery. Recently I have been cooking a lot more noodle soups, being inspired by reading about David Chang’s ramen restaurant in his Momafuku cookbook. I think I have been put off in the past of making them- even though I order them a lot when I eat out- because of the stock making process. I have a small freezer which limits me from making huge batches of stock which I can use when I need. But as of late, I have managed to get into a happy rhythm of buy chicken, debone, cook meat, make stock from bones, soup... which basically makes up meals for most of a week. I have yet to make David Chang’s ramen, but I have had fun improvising and making dishes I like without a recipe, and trying out other recipes such as this hot and sour noodle soup. (Recipe from, yet again- Sunflower Food Galore)

This recipe has several different elements you make, and assemble at the last minute, but it isn’t difficult. I really like the noodles for it, made from sweet potato starch. They don’t taste of sweet potato, but they have a really satisfying texture- very soft and slippery, but not at all mushy. I was pleased to find them in my local Asian grocers, as well as this dish, I have seen them used in various Korean recipes that I have been meaning to try. The chilli sauce that goes with it is pretty great too, I would consider making it up in a large batch and so I  can get a quick spicy/sour hit on food when I want it. I didn't make my own chilli oil for the base of the sauce, as suggested in the recipe, but I had a lot of chilli oil at home that I really like so it seemed a bit much to make another kind for this.  

This dish is a really satisfying, sinus-clearing bowl of deliciousness. I think better for winter perhaps, but I wouldn't turn it down anytime of year.