Reviewing food-related items...
Welcome back to Elle's Kitchen. I'm sorry it's late this week.
Last week's newsletter challenged you to write a food-themed poem. The winning entry came from Jellyfish . I love the rhythm and sense of fun this poem has. It's very cheerful!
Excerpt: I step in to the garden
And what do I see?
A crowd of tomatoes
Are waving at me!
By my feet
In the fore,
Sprinting up poles
In their scores.
You have to read it. It'll cheer you right up, and (provided you don't have black thumbs like me!) might even encourage you to get in the garden and grow some food of your own. Thanks to all who entered. There's another challenge in this newsletter, so keep reading.
This week, The StoryMaster challenged us to write some product reviews. It was something I'd never done here on WDC, but I like to take on SM's challenges - there's something about getting a merit badge from The StoryMaster that makes me smile. So I set out to do some. As I was browsing Amazon, I had a thought. There are sooooo many cookbooks out there, how do we know which ones are worth buying, without being able to read a review? Okay, so you can buy your favourite celebrity chef's latest book and that's pretty easy. But often it's hit and miss. Sometimes they end up sitting on the shelf gathering dust, because the recipes aren't original, don't work or are too tricky.
I read a review of Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook and it pointed out that she used such expensive, gourmet ingredients that most families couldn't afford to make her meals except for special occasions. And another reviewer said that her dishes were so bland and lacking the 'wow factor' she would never serve them for guests. So I was happy to read those reviews and save myself the price of the book.
On the other hand, although I'm not a fan of Jamie Oliver on TV, I read that his recipes were tasty, easy to make and perfect for family dining or special occasions - I bought the book, and they were right.
I'm taking a leaf from The StoryMaster 's book and I'm asking you to write a cookbook product review. I'll give 1,000 gps to anyone who does it. You have until midnight on June 9th. Email me the link or submit it here: "Elle's Kitchen Newsletter Suggestions" .
Here are some examples of food-themed product reviews:
Q I don't take non-veg food or eggs. I also do not have microwave oven. We get a batter of eggless cooker-cake in market which makes a simple cake by steaming the batter in the pressure cooker.
Do you have any idea about how that batter can be prepared at home? - LostGhost: Seeking & Learning
A Thanks for your question, LostGhost. We don't use pressure cookers to cook cakes, so this was a challenging question. I did some research, and have checked out a variety of cakes cooked this way, but unfortunately we don't own a pressure cooker so I can't test them. It looks like you could use pretty much any eggless cake batter, and it doesn't require any particular changes for it to be suitable to use in the pressure cooker.
There are lots of eggless cake batter recipes on the net, and if you Google 'eggless pressure cooker cake recipe' you'll find plenty that are designed specially for use in the pressure cooker. Below is the one we thought looked best. Also, I've linked to two of our family recipes you can make without using an oven or microwave (or eggs!).
Eggless Vanilla Pressure Cooker Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour/maida
1 cup thick curd
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Grease the vessel with butter and dust with flour. Keep it aside.
Sieve the flour 3 times and keep aside.
Mix the sugar with the curd until the sugar dissolves.
Add the baking powder and baking soda to the above and mix well. Leave it for 5 minutes.You will see bubbles appearing. Now add oil and vanilla essence and mix well.
Add the flour little by little and combine well with the wet ingredients. Mix well until creamy.
Pour the prepared batter in the prepared cooker vessel.
Fill the cooker with sand till 1 1/2 inches and place the plate you get along with the cooker on top of it.
Preheat the cooker for 5 minutes on high flame with the sand.
Now, keep the flame in low and place the vessel with the cake batter carefully inside the cooker.
Close the cooker, and leave for 40 minutes.
Check it after 40 minutes by inserting a wooden toothpick in the center of the cake - if it comes out clean, your cake is done, otherwise cook for longer (may take up to 60 minutes).
Important points to be noted while baking cake in pressure cooker
Do not use the rubber gasket.
Do not use the weight. (weight valves)
Do not pour water inside the cooker as we are not steaming the cake.
It is preferable to use old cooker. Do not heat empty cooker without the sand as your cooker will get damaged.
This recipe is from http://www.padhuskitchen.com/2012/06/eggless-vanilla-cake-eggless-cake.html
"Granny Hancock's Steamed Pudding"
This is a traditional steamed pudding, that Elle's family has been making for years. As her mum says, 'It's too good to make just for Christmas time.' This can probably be made in your pressure cooker (in the normal way so that it's steamed, not the way described above for cooking a regular cake) or you could make it on the stove top in a pot of boiling water.
This is a no-bake shortbread. If you're unfamiliar with shortbread, It's not a cake, but a rich, crumbly biscuit (or cookie). All this one needs is a warm room to rest in.
We'd love to hear what you think of them and how successful they are. Do let us know! - Dodgy Steve
Do you have a question for Steve? Send your queries in to me, and I'll share both questions and answers in these newsletters, so we can all learn together. If you'd rather not have your query shared, we can call you 'anonymous', so don't hesitate to ask.
Thanks for joining me in Elle's Kitchen. If you would like to suggest an item for inclusion in a future newsletter, a topic for me to investigate and discuss, or if you'd like to be a guest editor for an edition, please let me know here: "Elle's Kitchen Newsletter Suggestions" .
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