Saturday, October 2, 2010

Have you gone baking mad?

Are you baking mad? It seems that in the past few weeks I have been. I bake nearly everyday either on my own or with Marie.

This week has been filled with baking, baking, baking. I seem to alternate between weeks of cooking and weeks of baking. As you know I hate waste, so when I saw 5 apples nearing the end of their life, I decided to do something with them. Now, Marie doesn't like cooked apples so I knew that I would have to be crafty so that I didn't find myself with half a cake going to waste. See, as my neighbour would put it, I'm a 'feeder'. Where I used to work, a feeder was a big big truck. I hope she doesn't mean I look like a truck. Oh dear! No, I think that what she means is that I cook, I bake and all but not really for me, for everybody else. And it's true, I don't really do it for myself and there are times when I don't even eat what I bake. Thank God, otherwise she would use Feeder in the other sense!

Anyway back to my apples. I didn't want to bake a crumble or an apple tart. I haven't broken the pastry key yet. So I decided I would bake something my grand mother used to do: 'Beignets aux pommes'. The translation would be something like Apple Donuts but they are not as big as donuts and the batter is slightly different to that of a donut. They are just apples dipped in batter and deep fried. Great idea considering I don't own a deep fat fryer of any kind, whether electric or not. So I used my wok and half filled it with oil. Now, they came out not looking quite like I remembered it. But they tasted nice and out of the 20 or so beignets I made they were all gone by the next day.

On Thursday, the unknown woman I had let Marie go off with in that first week of school came over to my house for a play date. and a coffee and a chat. I had been to her house 2 weeks ago and, in return, invited her to mine. And that morning, I went baking mad again. I baked for hours. When you don't know somebody well, it is quite difficult to bake or cook for them. I didn't know what she ate, I didn't know what her kids liked for lunch. So I played it quite safe (I thought) and baked some mini lemon cakes (well some... more like 12), some Nutella Muffins (again 12) and some Bacon and Cheese Muffins (yes, you guessed, 12). OK, I didn't know that her daughter (Marie's friend) was a vegetarian (I asked and she made that decision herself at 5 years of age, and the parents are not even vegetarians!). Surely 36 cakes/muffins would be enough for 3 adults and 4 children? Em, yes, that would be more than enough, Foodie. Despite the fact that we all, more or less, had one of each, and that she even took some home with her, I still have about 8 left over! Baking mad. That's me. I made too much again.

I probably won't bake as much this week for various reasons. One is that I baked to much this week and I am running out of baking powder. Yes, I know you can buy it in the shops, but I am a creature of habit and I am used to baking with my French baking powder. So I will have to wait for my mum and dad to get here on Saturday to get some more. Then, I am about to start a distance learning course too so I probably won't have as much time on my hands as I do now (although I need to point out that I only bake when Noelie goes for her nap, before somebody accuses me of neglecting my child in favour of cake tins and flour, although they make as much of a mess, but probably just a little less noise).

So in the meantime, I will leave you with the recipe for the Bacon and Cheese Muffins that I found in a magazine a few weeks ago (yes, I have time to read those too) and thought it would be worth a try. Everybody here loved them, they are incredibly easy to make and if you have any leftover, they are great to put into a lunchbox. The best thing about them is that once you know the ingredients you need to make the batter, you can make as many variations of it as you like! I tried olives, sun dried tomatoes and garlic cheese and that was yummy (although I was the only one who ate them because nobody else likes olives here).

Bacon and Cheese Muffins:

- 5 bacon rashers (I used streaky bacon, you can also use pancetta or even just ham)
- 100 grs of Cheese (I used Cheddar on the first batch and Emmental for the second)
- 140 grs plain flour
- 1 tbsp of baking powder
- 125 ml of milk
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 egg

- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 6 hole muffin tray.
- Grill or fry the bacon, set aside to cool and chop finely.
- Mix the flour, salt and baking powder
- Whisk together the egg, milk and oil
- Add the dry ingredients.
- Add the bacon and cheese.
- Spoon into the muffin tray.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Yummy! Now I'm off to bake some soda bread. If it turns out nice, I'll share the recipe with you, shall I? Or are you sick of ready them? Let me know!

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