Monday, 19 October 2009


God I love them - Nigella Lawson
Well, high praise indeed - if Nigella "loves" them, then they truly must be good good good! And decadent and naughty and truly luscious. A friend recommended them to me a long time ago and the only regret I have about making them is that it too me too long to actually do it!

The verdict: OMG THESE ARE AMAZING!! I think this is my favourite recipe so far! Both to cook and especially to eat. Oh my.
You have the fun of making dough (I love seeing it go from a shaggy mess to a smooth springy ball, and then watching it rise).
And then the syrup, which looked to me to be more of a butter mix - until I microwaved it for 30 seconds and it was definitely a syrup then!
I don't think this is a necessary step, but it does make it easier to put the syrup into the muffin tins!
Then the fun of rolling out the dough - actually, that part wasn't a heap of fun, the dough was really springy and I thought it would never roll out to the required size (60x30cm/24x12") but it got there eventually - or close enough anyway!
Then you sprinkle the dough with the sugar and cinnamon mix, roll it up into a lengthwise sausage, and slice it into 12 pieces. These go into the syrup/nut filled muffin tin holes, and are left to rise for a while before baking!
Unusual or substituted ingredients: None - all are easy to obtain (unless you live in the US, which bizarrely doesn't seem to have golden syrup easily obtainable - let me tell you, you guys are missing out! Get it if you can! Light corn syrup is NOT an acceptable substitute!! I did have to buy demerara sugar, as I don't keep it in my pantry, but that was no hassle.

Special utensils or cookware: Just a muffin tin. Preferably one with nice DEEP muffin holes. Mine does not have deep holes, and even while the dough was rising (the second rise, once it's in the muffin tin) the syrup overflowed out of the holes!
It was even worse during the baking!! I had to put a tray under the muffin tin to catch the overflowing syrup. Let me tell you, it smokes up in the oven and makes a sticky sticky mess!
Repeatability: Oh yes! In case you didn't get it before, this stuff is GOOOOOOOD! I will definitely make these again. Preferably when I've got a crowd to feed, because they really are very rich. But they also go very well the next day, especially after a little bit in the microwave. Oh yes, they were just as good the next day!
Sauciness: See above re sauciness!! Nigella's final instruction is "Leave to cool, then apply to face - as if you needed my encouragement". Schnecken is saucy, sticky and oh so satisfying!
Overall pleasure level: If I could give these 11/10, I would! Heck, since I can make the rules, I'm going to - 11/10 for these!! Fantastic!! Make them, you won't regret it! Next time, I might try them with pistachios, rather than walnuts. Or maybe cashews. I don't think you can lose!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Maple-Pecan Bread

this is a bread that comes into its own with cheese - Nigella Lawson
The verdict: Look, pretty much any bread eaten warm out of the oven is going to be good. It smells good and it tastes good (especially with lots of butter!). But I don't know about this particular bread. Maybe I need to make it again - I'm not entirely sure I cooked it enough this time, it seemed a little doughy in the very middle.

Unusual or substituted ingredients: Nothing particularly unusual, although you don't often put maple syrup in a bread mix! I also used walnuts rather than pecans (a substitution which, despite the name of the recipe, Nigella suggests!).
Special utensils or cookware: None! Bread really is very very simple to make!

Repeatability: I think I should make this again to try and do a better job. I think next time I would mix the nuts in at the same time as mixing the dry ingredients - Nigella suggests you "sprinkle" them in while kneading, but I found this very difficult. The recipe uses mostly wholemeal flour, and I find it far denser than white flour. I felt I didn't get the nuts mixed in to the middle of the dough very well at all. I think the kitchenaid would have done a far better job of mixing them in!
Once the bread was cooked, a lot of nuts seemed to "fall off" when I was cutting it. But it still was very nutty!

Sauciness: As Bells has earlier said, bread is earthy rather than saucy! This wasn't too bad, and it was good with cheese. It'd be good to serve at a party! I've found warm bread is always a crowd pleaser!
Overall pleasure level: Hmmm, I think I'd give this 6/10.