Poached Eggs (Without the Headache)

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Brussels has been quite gray and cold lately, the kind of weather where it’s pouring down, but too windy to rely on your umbrella not doing that inside out thing umbrellas will do. This morning it’s been raining and hailing, but with super bright light and patches of blue sky all the same.

Today is Saturday, and for some reason I’ve been craving eggs for a few days now. I must be low on vitamin B or something. So I woke up and decided on a whim to try my hand at poaching eggs. Again.

My previous success rate when it comes to poaching eggs is about one in three, which has been very frustrating. I’ve tried all the different recommendations: super fresh eggs, a wide shallow pan, a few inches of water, either a rolling boil or a gentle simmer, swirling the water with a wooden spoon to create a vortex into which you drop the eggs, adding vinegar to the water, using a small bowl to drop the eggs into the water, not using a bowl to drop the eggs into the water, leaving them on the heat, or taking the eggs off the heat and covering with a lid, even a special egg-poaching device (that one was a complete failure let me tell you).

Today I was like, no thank you. So I got out a saucepan, added a few inches of water to said saucepan, put it on the stove top at a high heat with the lid on, and waited for the water to come to a rolling boil.

When the water was boiling, I turned the heat down low so that the water was still gently bubbling, and then cracked two eggs into the pot (about an inch apart to keep them from sticking to each other) and began debating with myself as to whether to swirl the water. I decided to wait, for a minute or so (I’ve found that sometimes the swirling will actually make the egg whites spread and create those straggly bits nobody wants?). Some of the egg white sort of spread out and clouded the pan, and so after about a minute I gently swirled around each egg with the handle of a wooden spoon. All the extra egg white that had clouded the pan wasn’t actually sticking to the eggs, and the whites seemed well distributed around the yolk.. well here goes nothing, I thought to myself. After about 2 minutes I gently fished out one egg with a slotted spoon, to check how done it was, put it back into the pot for about 30 seconds, then fished out both eggs, leaving them to dry on a plate covered in kitchen roll for about 20 seconds while I buttered my toast.

And lo and behold: these are the best looking poached eggs I have ever managed to make. None of those weird straggly bits of egg white, just even, perfectly poached eggs. And I wasn’t stressing about how much to swirl the water, or creating the perfect vortex to drop the eggs into. Just a few inches (more or less) of boiling water, two eggs, a bit of swirling once the eggs have settled into the water, 2-3 minutes (depending on how set you want the whites to be – I am ALLERGIC to gloopy egg whites – just use a slotted spoon to gently fish out the egg and check that the whites are nice and opaque) and a short rest on paper towel once done, just to absorb the water sticking to the egg.

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I shall report back once I’ve tried this again, but I have a really good feeling about it! And it took less time than boiling an egg!

Happy Saturday to all 🙂

Next day update: I’ve now successfully made a second batch, and whilst they were slightly less even-looking (but only very slightly, and I think this is because I attempted four at the same time and got a bit overwhelmed with the swirling), and I slightly overcooked the yolks (they were still yummy and runny though, but one can never have too much runny yolk, and very easily have too little, in my opinion), they still worked out just great! So I’m definitely sticking with this method of poaching eggs 🙂 Happy Sunday!

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Rainy Day Cinnamon Bun Cake (Kanelsneglskage)

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Adapted from Lil’ Luna

It was raining yesterday, and the rain sounds lovely in my apartment, drip-dropping on my roof
(I live on the fourth floor, so some of my walls are made of roof!).

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Rainy Autumn days (even if it is, technically, still Summer? Or at least it was still August on Sunday! September is definitely an Autumn month.. no? I can’t believe September is here already…) always make me crave cinnamon buns. Truth be told, I crave cinnamon buns most of the time; we’re big on cinnamon in Scandinavia. In Denmark, cinnamon buns are called kanelsnegle – ‘cinnamon snails’ – because of their shape (obviously 😉 ), and while I have made them a lot, they take aaaaages, with the rising of the dough, and the rolling out… So I rarely make them these days, even though they really are worth the fuss. Enter: the cinnamon bun cake.

I printed this recipe out to test about a week ago, and a rainy Sunday afternoon seemed the perfect time to make something sweet, rich and cinnamony. Oh and easy!

Although I did have some trouble with the swirling of the cinnamon-sugar-butter gloop – it just wouldn’t swirl for me. So I will have to practice my swirling, because it really does make for a more beautiful-looking cake (I may try adding a tbsp more butter next time, to make the filling a little runnier, or leave out the 2 tbsp flour – I’ll let you know how this goes!). But man, it tastes good just the same – sweet, buttery, cinnamony, just like a cinnamon bun with more of the filling! I’m definitely a fan. If you like cinnamon buns, I’m sure you will be too 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the batter

  • 375 g ~ 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200 g ~ 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 360 ml ~ 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115 g ~ ½ cup butter, melted

For the filling

  • 170 g ~ ¾ cups butter, softened
  • 200 g ~ 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flour

For the glaze

  • 250 g ~ 2 cups icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp just-boiled water

Preheat your oven to 180° Celsius ~ 350° Farhenheit ~ gas mark 4, and grease a baking pan
(more or less 22×34 cm ~ 9×13 inches).

In a large mixing bowl, mix together your flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.

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In another bowl, briefly whisk together the eggs and milk, and poor this into the flour mixture a little at a time, whisking well after each time, until you’ve incorporated all the eggy milk into the flour and the batter is smooth.

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Poor in your melted butter, and gently whisk until the butter has just been absorbed and you have a shiny, thick batter. Poor into your prepared baking tray.

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Make the filling by mixing the ingredients in a bowl.

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Distribute evenly across the batter, using two teaspoons. With a knife, make cinnamon-butter swirls throughout your cake! (Or, if you’re me, try to do this, and end up with something much less dignified-looking, but delicious all the same).

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Bake for about 30 minutes until the cake begins to brown nicely.

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When your cake is out of the oven, prepare the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and just-boiled water until there are no icing sugar lumps (giggle at the words ‘sugar lumps’).

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Drizzle this over your cake while it’s still warm from the oven. Eat some straight away, or wait until it’s cooled down a bit, if you can 🙂 It’s equally good once cooled, and stays super moist because of the filling. I think this would keep well for several days, if kept covered.

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Hope you like it! I’m already planning to make a second (hopefully prettier) batch! I need to practice my swirling.

P.s.: I also tried making this as cupcakes a few days later, and it turned out ok – but I like the ‘cake’ cake version better, this cake wasn’t made to be teeny tiny and fussy… I think for this to work in cupcake form, I would need to get a jumbo muffin tin! Makes for about 36 little cupcakes, baked for approximately 20 minutes. 🙂

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Rhubarb and Blueberry Crumble Cake

 

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I went to a BBQ at some friends’ the other day, and decided last minute to bring a cake. Since I was leaving on holiday the very next morning I hadn’t done a shop, and as such, I didn’t have many things to inspire a cake. But I did have rhubarb in the freezer, so I decided to make one of my very favourite cakes, a rhubarb crumble cake (my recipe is adapted from this here one from the SORTED Food boys).

Since the frozen rhubarb looked a little lackluster in colour, I decided to throw in some frozen blueberries too; I didn’t have very many left in the freezer though,  and I’m definitely going to try adding more next time.

I’ve never tried making this with frozen rhubarb, only fresh, and I was a bit worried that it would release a lot of water when baking, so I added 1 tbsp of flour to the chopped rhubarb pieces. And since, as predicted, the frozen rhubarb did make the cake a whole lot wetter than fresh rhubarb would have, I also ended up baking the cake for 20 mins longer than I normally do. The wetter than usual rhubarb also sort of absorbed most of the crumble topping! But it was still delicious. I do prefer making this with fresh rhubarb though. I may have to forego the rhubarb all together, out of season, and make this with sour apples and berries instead. Even if rhubarb is the bomb.com.

I always make two of these cakes at once, because it tends to disappear fairly quickly, and keeps really well (even if the crumble topping tends to loose some of its ‘oomph’), and also, I’ve found that a bunch of rhubarb will usually be in the 600 g range, which is what you need for two cakes. It stays moist for days, and is very good for breakfast/an afternoon or late night snack (especially if you heat it up in the microwave for ten seconds!). But if you only want to make one, just half the ingredients below 🙂

Anywho! Here’s what you need:

  • 200 g soft butter
  • 200 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  •  2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • 600 g frozen rhubarb, chopped into 2 cm pieces more or less (or fresh rhubarb, if you have that on hand!)
  • 1 tbsp flour, for the rhubarb (omit if using fresh rhubarb)
  • 50 g frozen blueberries
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar for the rhubarb (this sort of depends on how sour the rhubarb I have on hand is)

For the crumble topping:
60 g butter, 100 g plain flour, 80 g sugar, preferably unrefined cane sugar (which is what I use for baking most of the time anyways – it’s a little better for you, tastes a little fruitier and some say it’s sweeter, and I’ve never had trouble substituting this for caster sugar in baking; I wouldn’t use it for caramel though, as it melts a bit differently than refined sugar!).

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius / 375 degrees Fahrenheit / gas mark 5. Line two 20 cm square baking pans with baking parchment, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar, beat in the four eggs and vanilla essence, then finally fold in the flour.

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Divide the batter between the two pans, making sure to spread it out into the corners (it will be a fairly thin layer, about 1-1.5 cm, but it will rise when baking).

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Slice the rhubarb, toss with the 3-4 tbsp sugar (and the 1 tbsp of flour, if using frozen rhubarb). Add the frozen blueberries.

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Make the crumble topping by rubbing together the flour and butter until it resembles bread crumbs (no need to be super precise here), then mixing in the sugar.

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Scatter the rhubarb/blueberry mixture evenly on the batter, followed by the crumble topping.

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Bake for 30 mins if using fresh rhubarb, and 30-50 mins if using frozen (if the cakes still look very wet at the 30 minute mark, leave them in until they begin to brown, checking every 5 minutes).

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Enjoy!

P.s.: keep the cake covered, but make sure what you cover it with doesn’t touch the top of the cake, as this will make the crumble topping disintegrate, which is a shame.

P.p.s.: it also travels well! Here’s me eating some in the car  on the way to France, and a picture of the sun shining though the funny clouds through the roof of the car:

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