Butter Tart Squares

this is officially the most rapid way to inhale calories that does not involve consuming pure saturated fat

butter tart squares

Butter Tart Squares: “Square” (ie. tray-bake) version of Butter Tarts, a “quintessentially Canadian” dessert, shortbread-type base, with the topping/ filling a combo of sugar/ eggs/ butter and raisins/ walnuts.

Similar to: pecan pie (with raisins added/ substituted) or ecclefechan

Best eaten on Vancouver Island, sitting on a beach, chilling with sea lions n otters n such, but also delicious in shitty cities (ie. London).

Based on this recipe from CD Kitchen (minus the oats)

175C, 9″ square cake tin (lined)

Ingredients
base
1 cup/ 200g plain flour
1/2 cup/ 100g butter
1/4 cup/ 50g sugar (white or brown, doesn’t matter)

topping
1/4 cup/50g melted butter
1 cup/200g brown sugar
1/4 cup/ 2tbsp honey
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins/ walnuts (some combination thereof)

Method
base
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles crumbs, then stir in the sugar.
Press into the lined cake tin and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven to cool and prepare filling

topping
Stir together topping ingredients, pour onto base.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping has set (it won’t wobble when you take it out of the oven)
Cool completely, slice and eat.

CNY Pineapple Mango Tarts aka Greedy Tarts

pineapple mango tarts

Confession: I’m not the massive-est fan of pineapple tarts, but baked these in some attempt to appease family/ ancestral guilt
Confession 2: I altered the recipe to be the opposite of what pineapple tarts are supposed to be like. ie. pastry shell: less crumbly and more solid, jam: less sweet

Makes approximately 20 tarts – 10g filling, 12-15 g cookie layer

Pineapple “Jam” filling

1 can pineapple, drained
2 tbsp/ 40g sugar
50-100g dried mango, chopped
1-1.5 tbsp cornflour
plain/ all purpose flour – dusting, optional

Blend or grate the pineapple until almost pureed
In a small saucepan, simmer pineapple with sugar and dried mango until liquid has dried up and the pineapple is golden
Add cornflour and cook for another few more minutes
Cool pineapple completely, then form into 10g balls. Lightly dust hands with plain flour if the filling is sticky.

“Pastry”
Almond cookie dough used for the tart “shell”
Use 1/3 quantity of the almond cookie recipe, omitting the baking powder (if you remember) instructions here (based on an awesome almond cookie recipe from Everybody Eats Well in Flanders).
Plus: glaze: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1-2tsp water

Method
Form the pineapple filling into 10g balls, using a light dusting of plain flour if the filling is too sticky.
Form the almond cookie dough into 12-15g balls.

Roll each cookie dough ball out to a circle big enough to wrap the pineapple balls.
It may be helpful to roll the cookie dough between sheets of cling film, to avoid it getting too sticky/ crumbly.
If you’re having trouble wrapping the tarts, you can also use the cling film to form the tarts by placing a ball of filling onto a circle of cookie dough, then gathering the cling film up and twisting, which will gradually press it all into a round wrapped ball.

“Mend” any cracks in the tarts by gently smoothing them over with a flat edge eg. butter knife.

Glaze the tarts with egg yolk and bake at 150C for about 15 minutes (until golden brown)

baking pineapple tarts

If you have any leftover almond cookie dough, bake some almond cookies :)

CNY (tardy) Almond Cookies

Almond Cookies

Recipe adapted from the Everybody Eats Well in Flanders’ almond cookie recipe

I used all butter, omitted the vanilla essence, and used caster sugar (icing sugar had run out, I prefer a slightly less crumbly cookie, and it’s so much more manageable). Reduced the amount of baking powder to almost nothing as I don’t want the cookies to spread too much and lose their shape. Also, shaped the cookies to a smaller size using a mould so cooking time is adjusted accordingly. And baked it at my usual “cookie” temperature/ time as I like to bake cookies at a lower temperature to get (my preferred) crispy vs melty texture. No glaze.

This makes about 60 teeny tiny cookies. I bake about 1/3 of the dough at a time, storing the rest in the fridge/ freezer.

Ingredients
125g butter (room temperature/ soft)
100g sugar (icing, caster, granulated, it doesn’t matter really)
1 egg yolk
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 (very light sprinkle) salt
75g ground almonds

Method
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the egg yolk
Fold/ stir in the flour/ salt/ baking powder
Stir in the ground almonds. Combine with your hands if necessary.

Divide the dough into 3, and either bake right away or form into logs, wrap in cling film and store in the fridge/ freezer as required.

Shape the cookies into 9g balls, and bake at 140C for about 15 minutes.

unbaked almond cookies

Baked BBQ Chicken bao

bbq chicken bao

I used this recipe from an incredible blog, using boneless chicken thighs. I used about 200g, half a 450g pack, cooked the whole pack with char-siu marinade, use the rest for snacking…

The recipe is very easy to make as it’s just a standard yeasted dough, no tang zhong method or anything vaguely intuitive.

BBQ the chicken and make the filling the night before so it can cool. Let the dough first rise over night somewhere v v cool, then finish it the next morning, so you have fresh buns for breakfast! (after a long lie-in)

Char siu recipe to follow….

Makes about 12 (small buns) and the universal response was “must eat more”

Roti King – hot, fresh and flaky!

If Roti King were a man, he would be Takeshi Kaneshiro in the next installment of Magic Mike

Roti Canai aka roti paratha arrived in Malaysia and Singapore via India and is a light flaky flat “bread” (roti translates as bread although this is more a multi layered pancake), which is flipped/ folder/ layered and then fried in ghee, which is either crazy unhealthy or crazy delicious depending on your personal preference, or both! if you have an iron stomach like me…

Roti King is the only place in London to get these freshly made. With the possible exception of Malaysia Hall (which has closed according to Yelp). The decor itself is typical asian canteen style, but I like this. I don’t trust the shiny “new” places, all hipster beards and no sweat or tastebuds. If they’re spending too much money/ time/ effort on the interiors, that could all be better invested in the food… (or they’re trying to detract from the fact that the whole place is based on an overly drunken gap year “experience”). That’s why I can count on 1 hand (3 fingers, including Roti King…) the number of Malaysian restaurants I actually rate, where I could take family. Family that I like a lot.

roti-king

Savoury rotis are about £5 (more than one per person would be required for a main course). Roti Canai with chicken curry (also available lamb or fish) was delicious, the curry was quite mild, with large chunks of chicken breast. Murtabak (which is roti stuffed or folded around a mildly spiced minced meat), with lamb, came with dahl. For both these dishes, the heat and spiced of the curries were balanced perfectly with the rotis, which themselves were just amazing (I’ve waited so long for you… my beauties…).

The laksa was tasty but the flavour was not quite right, the soup was a little too sweet. Perhaps more lemon grass needed? It was perhaps closer to Curry Mee than Singapore Laksa, but still delicious at £6.50 a bowl. Taste 1 – Menu OCD 0.

Sweet roti canai are £3. Banana roti is roti folded around a banana filling, fried and drizzled with condensed milk. This is the food the human body is biologically programmed to enjoy. Below, see the answer to the question, how much roti canai could be eaten in 30 seconds (the time it takes to “remember” to take a photo).

Banana Roti Canai

I NEED TO GO BACK NOW!!! {For detailed assessment of the noodle menu and rigorous roti experimentation, of course}

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