Saturday, 29 January 2011

Teh Tarik teh easy weh

Condensed milk is a freakish and wartime-type thing, like powdered eggs or own-brand orange juice.  What do they actually do to it?  What is it for?  How old is that can?  Well, none of that matters.  Thanks to the wonders of student visas, I can now tell you why condensed milk was invented, even if they didn't realise it at the time.

My boyfriend's university was and is a happy home from home for Malaysian nerds, and where they go when they want to eat out is Bonda Cafe in London, which prides itself on its traditional cooking (they even have a plaque from the Malaysian government congratulating them for it).  The food is needless to say delicious; what is even more amazing is what they do with their condensed milk: put it in their tea and then make it into tea-a-chinos by tipping the hot liquid from one glass to another very very quickly, sort of like a cross between your gran and a qualified Soho mixologist.  It's called 'teh tarik,' which means 'pulled tea,' because of the tipping back and forth action.  I didn't bother to do that at home, because I feared getting it EVERYWHERE but I did make a nice hot cup of Yorkshire Tea Specially For Hard Water (the only way) and put 2 teaspoonfuls (ok 2 and a half) of condensed milk in it.  Om nom nom.  Now that's what you do with that tin.

If you are actually a Malaysian builder, I fear for your teeth.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Knitted kangas!

This is the first thing I knitted after I decided that I was going to learn to knit again.  I'm very grateful to my friend R for the pattern, which she kindly lent me the original copy of and which you can find a poor scan of in the previous post.  The wool I used for this kanga wasn't particularly snuggly, and I think I got the ears a bit wrong, but it made an excellent birthday present for an Australian stepmother...

Purple Kanga also came with purple baby Roo, who fits nicely in the pouch with a bit of a squeeze.  When I met a very little boy with two favourite kangaroo toys the other day and decided to give him another one, I thought baby might get lost so left him out.

Yellow Kanga was made with a linen mix from Kemps Wool Shop and proper cuddly stuffing (rather than cotton wool) which is why he is bigger and fatter than purple Kanga.  His eyes and nose are stitches of black embroidery thread rather than buttons, as the baby who is to own him is 18months ish and might chew his eyes off and swallow them.  

If you'd like to make your own kangas but can't read the pattern in the previous post, (and I think most will struggle), I make a vow of confidentiality now and promise to email the big scan to anyone who PMs me their address.

Knitted kangaroo pattern

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Basler Brunsli (with thanks to Fleur)

No, not that one!

That's better. Yes, Basler Brunsli, the Swiss Christmas biscuit which I finally got round to making in the New Year, after the kitchen had been done up enough to warrant unpacking all the boxes and therefore finding the whisk.  I'm much obliged to Fleur for this recipe, which is her family's version.  There are as many different ways of making these biscuits it seems as there are people who are aware of them, and I have added a variation this time by using Grand Marnier instead of kirsch, but this - I am assured - is the real deal.

Basler Brunsli
You Will Need:  Large bowl, another largeish bowl, whisk, wooden spoon, cheese grater and patience OR food processor, teaspoon, (mortar and pestle for cloves if whole), greaseproof paper, baking trays, clingfilm, rolling pin.

500g caster sugar
500g ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves, approx. 15 whole ones ground
90-100g quality dark chocolate, grated or processed
4 egg whites
1-2 dashes kirsch/other festive spirit

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in the larger bowl.
2.  Whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak in the largeish bowl and combine carefully with the dry mixture to form a crumbly dough.
3.  Add enough kirsch/whatever using to bring the dough together into a large ball.
4.  Cover the bowl with clingfilm, flip it over and catch the dough in the clingfilm so that you can wrap it.  Chill a while in the fridge.
5.  Preheat the oven to 110 degrees C.
6.  Line baking trays with greaseproof paper, and sprinkle them with caster sugar to stop the cookies from sticking.  Using caster sugar instead of flour on your worksurface and rolling pin, roll out the dough as you would pastry to about 3/4cm thickness and cut into shapes.  I only did squares as the happy shapes are still in the boxes.
7.  Bake the cookies until light brown, crisp on the outside with a squidgy centre - about 20-25 minutes.  Cool well before attempting to pick up, or they will break!

Happy New Year everyone!  Boom Boom!