April 11, 2007

Fish and Quips: English Food is No Joke!

This photo is courtesy of Sam Breach at becksposhnosh.blogspot.com

Yes, that is a statement. There's no such joke about food, anyway for I think that there's always characteristic and uniqueness of any kind of food originated from any countries. Perhaps it's just the personal taste which doesn't agree to some kind of food. Then, you can't say it's a joke, can you?

I have fond moments I can recall when I first made an acquaintance with English food. As both of my parents-in-law's descendants came from Scotland and Ireland, there is always English food on the table. I particularly love English afternoon tea. A batch of scones or ginger gems, still warm and fragrant which are served with butter, butter and jam or jam and clotted cream, how good is that? Now do you say that an afternoon tea ritual a joke? How those people who think it's a joke do their afternoon tea, I wonder.

Anyway, Sam of Becks & Posh is hosting the Fish and Quips to prove that English food is no joke. If you'd like to enter the event and you love English food, it is not too late to send your entry until 20th April the latest.

My entry is a classic Toffee Apple Cup Cakes which are baked in tea cups (feel the slow time ages ago when there was no fancy cake tins like today by using your own tea cups—It's sensational!). The cakes are reasonably springy, moist, and have this burst sensation from the chopped apples with every bite. The cakes are then coated with caramel.

Toffee Apple Cup Cakes

Source: Julie Le Clerc, Cuisine 111, July 2005.

For the cake mixture

100g butter, softened (plus extra for buttering),
flour for dusting,
¾ cup (75g) caster sugar,
2 Tbs golden syrup,
finely grated zest of 1 lemon,
2 eggs,
½ cup (125ml) buttermilk,
1 ¼ cups (185g) self-raising flour,
½ tsp baking soda,
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped (Julie uses Golden Delicious because they hold their shape when cooked)

Preheat the oven to 170C. Butter and dust lightly with flour 8 small (180ml capacity) ceramic teacups. Place butter, sugar, golden syrup and zest in a mixing bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the buttermilk. Stir in the sifted flour and baking soda, then the chopped apples.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cups. Place the cups on a baking tray and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely (you will need to run a knife around the edge of the cups to release the cakes cleanly).

Make the hot toffee mixture then swirl the pan until the bubbles subside. Tilt the pan and dip the cup cakes into the caramel one at a time, to coat no more than halfway up the sides. Take care not to touch the burning hot toffee.

Shake off any excess toffee and return the cakes to the wire rack until the toffee is hardened and the cakes ae ready to serve.

For the caramel toffee topping

500g caster sugar,
60g butter,
2 tsps white wine vinegar (I used white vinegar),
1 Tbs golden syrup,
150ml cold water

Heat the ingredients gently in a large saucepan, swirling it until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil without stirring. Boil steadily until the mixture caramelises, from time to time brushing the sides of the pan with cold water to prevent any sugar crystals forming.

When the mixture reaches 150C on a sugar thermometer (just below crack stage or when the mixture produces large bubbles and turns a light golden caramel color), remove the pan from the heat (remembering that the caramel will continue to darken with the residual heat of the pan). Dip the cup cakes straight away.

Certainly no joke!


Barbara said...

They look wonderful Arfi.

Arfi Binsted said...

thanks, barb. i just wish i could take a better photograph of them.

Willa said...

Oh, my gosh- those look terrific! Toffee and apples together are one of my favorite combinations. I'll be trying those soon- my daughter-in-law loves cupcakes, so next time she is around, we are having those.

tigerfish said...

That's certainly a golden cake :D
Thks for visiting my foodie site.

Arfi Binsted said...

willa-oh children love cupcakes! I believe they'll be a treat for them. Thanks for dropping by!

tigerfish-An honor to have you here as well. Thanks.

Bron said...

Juices are building up in my mouth just looking at these Arfi, they look perfect, they have released so well from the teacups and have the perfect amount of syrup running down the sides! So perfectly made! Wow! How I'd love to dine with you when you make them again! Yum!

Arfi Binsted said...

Bron-hehehehe... Next time you go to Auckland, make sure you have plenty of time to visit us at the farm. Perhaps we should make a day of food with Barbara and Bryan! How does that sound?

Sam said...

great! I think I would like to come for tea at YOUR house! Thanks for taking part and helping me that contrary to popular belief, English food is certainly not a joke!

Arfi Binsted said...

Sam-It would be a pleasure to have fellow blogger dining at our place. And yes, English food is certainly NO joke!

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

These are like shimmering mirrors of sweetness--so pretty!

Arfi Binsted said...

the chocolate lady-thank you and great to have you here.