I’m very much inspired and influenced by Japanese style, even though I haven’t been to Japan myself (I’m planning to go in November to visit my best friend!!). I like the sweet, girly and modest style, and how everything looks so *ideal*. This is something I think about while I bake and I consciously try to achieve. This cookie recipe is inspired from one of my Chinese-translated Japanese cookbooks, and it’s very, very delicious! I packed them all and gave them away to a new friend who bought one of my cakes as a thank-you. Because I try not to post recipes from books even if I’ve adapted it, I’ll give you a hint: butter biscuits, rum swiss buttercream and rum-soaked raisins I keep forgetting how insanely good swiss buttercream is- so silky smooth and lacking the grittiness of icing-sugar based buttercream, just smooth, smooth, smooth… yum..
mise en place all prepped
Damp, almondy, citrus cakes are one of my favourite kinds, I especialy love the ones that are so drenched in syrup that it leaves a sticky film on your fingers and are practically “juicy”. This cake ticks all the right boxes: very, very syrupy, gloriously dense, with the added bonus of a surprise flavour: rosemary! It’s very subtle but it makes quite a difference, and I find myself really liking the pairing of this usually savoury herb with sweet desserts. I was first and foremost motivated to use rosemary in this cake for economic reasons- I had already bought a bunch for the apricot jam I made a few days back and didn’t want to waste it! Being frugal has its rewards I suppose. Also, I’d first encountered rosemary in a cake in Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Lemon Rosemary pound cake back in 2005 (!!) then again at a café across LCB which serves their version of orange-rosemary cake (which is awfully expensive!) so I thought it’s about time I made a cake with rosemary in it. I was very specific about what I wanted: 1) it needs to be made with olive oil 2) flourless 3) very orangey 4) drenched in syrup so it took me well over an hour to find a recipe that seemed right.. and found it on BBC Good Food.. doh!! I just replaced the saffron with rosemary, but next time I’d replace one of the oranges with lemon, I think it’d be better slightly more tart. I ate mine with double cream but it’s very lovely with raspberry coulis too, like how they do it at the café.
My sister and I redid the kitchen last week- it looks much better and a lot more spacious! I replaced the old table with a kitchen island and we hung up my beautiful le creuset pots and pans which saves a lot of space and displays them beautifully.
And I got a 2nd hand Le Creuset casserole from eBay last week. It needed a lot of cleaning but looks beautiful now. One more for the collection!
This tart is quite possibly the best thing I’ve made all year, I couldn’t stop eating it! It has a bold, sweet-savoury flavour which I find super addictive. The whole composition of the tart- the olive oil wholewheat crust, apricot-rosemary jam and goats’ cheese is just so bizzarre and new to me, but so clever! The apricot-rosemary jam is seriously the best jam I’ve ever had- sweet, slightly tart and a touch herbal from the rosemary which helps balance the sweetness. And I’ve never made a crust like this, it’s completely different from the pâte sucrée and pâte brisee we make in school, there’s no butter or egg in it, the entire thing is bound together with olive oil and lemon juice! Totally weird, but so good. It’s crunchy and crumbly, with nubbly bits of oatmeal and oat bran. The recipe is from one of my favourite French blogs, 543 pages avant la fin du monde.
This weekend was full of yeasty experiments, I made a black sesame braided loaf, a plain milk loaf and croissants. My intention for making croissants was to use my newly discovered ingredient, a jar of rose petal jam that I had chanced upon in a Middle Eastern grocery shop in Edgware road. It’s very floral, rose-y but assertively sweet, so I thought a buttery, flakey croissant would be the perfect blank canvas for the flavour of the jam to shine but not overwhelm. I’d only ended up making two croissants with jam in the middle as I was worried the jam would leak terribly and make the croissants stick to the baking sheet. I needn’t worry though as even though it did leak slightly it was perfectly ok and in fact it was so delicious! I had only spread a smidge of jam in the middle and it was the perfect amount, enough to perfume the croissant delicately and make it just a touch sweet.
I still have half of the croissant dough in the fridge, I’ll probably bake the rest of it with jam, and when I’m done with that I’m thinking of making little brioches filled with rose jam.. Or maybe mixing some of the jam with berries and making a galette, or spooning it over vanilla rice pudding.. or semolina? Or making little rose doughnuts.. hell yea definitely doughnuts! Maybe I should fill the doughnuts with rose crème diplomat instead of just jam? Or a rose bakewell tart? Rose linzer cookie? Rose pound cake?