From the Kitchen and From the Bar – Cake and Sake

sakeThis weekend we were stuck close to home thanks to my husband being on call. I decided to get a new alcohol to try and finally got around to making the chocolate bundt cake with coconut filling that I mentioned back in November.

The alcohol was Tozai Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori Sake. This sake has not been filtered and is opaque white when mixed up. The scent is pears, asian and regular. The taste is very dry, a touch chalky from the rice pulp, and a bit bitter because of the fairly high alcohol content, 14.5%. This is a sake to drink chilled. It is one of those drinks that I find myself sipping again and again to decide if I actually like it or not. I did like it and would get it again.

cakeThe cake is something I’ve been trying to get right ever since they stopped making Bundt cake mixes for the chocolate coconut version. The cake itself was just a boxed chocolate cake mix. Use whatever brand you like best. The filling was from the King Arthur Flour website for a Lemon Bundt Cake with coconut filling. Make the cake batter as the box says. Make the filling like the website says. Butter and flour your bundt pan, and place enough cake batter to cover the bottom. Then carefully place the white filling on top of this. Spoon the rest of the batter to cover the filling so you don’t displace it. Bake for around 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Check to see if done by sticking a bamboo skewer in to the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. I actually got the filling to be fairly centered this time.

I glazed it with a mix of confectioner’s sugar (the superfine stuff with the cornstarch in it) and milk. Start with a cup of the sugar and put in a tablespoon of milk. Mix and keep adding milk a little at a time (and I do mean a little) until it becomes a thick slurry that you can drizzle over the cake. Very tasty, and just like I think I remember it being.

Eat and drink well!

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From the Kitchen – how things don’t quite work out like you might hope

This weekend we decided we needed to make something new. My husband suggested that we wrap meat around “something”.   We narrowed that down to pork and the something to be a mix of cheeses and various flavorings. So we got a pork loin roast (a little over a kilo), cut it into one long flat piece of meat by “unrolling” it with a nice sharp knife. And then we stuffed it with the cheese mix (recipe to follow).

rolled pork loinNumber one: remember, meat constricts when cooked.

Which sends the cheese mix squirting out each end.

Sigh.

You can see that the end result where the excess cheese mix ended up as a blob separate from the roast. The roast didn’t turn out too bad, and it did retain a nice spiral of stuffing. But it wasn’t pretty.

The cheese mix was:

1 jumbo egg

6 oz. Grand Cru cheese, grated (this is like a Gruyere)

8 oz. Neufchatel cheese

2 dried guajillo peppers, soaked and diced (for some reason ours had no heat whatsoever. They did have an excellent sweet pepper raisin-ish quality).

4 sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped

2 tbsp dried minced onions

1 cup panko bread crumbs

This was mixed and spread on the pork. I tied it into a roll (a leftover skill from working in the meat department) and we seared it in our La Creuset in a bit of oil. After it got a little browning, we poured in a cup of pinot gris and set it to roasting at 350 degrees F for around 1 and a half hours, until it read around 180 degrees F internally.

Very tasty, if ugly. We also had a Riesling with this, a Pacific Rim 2012. A good wine, with the usual honey notes which always go well with the salty richness of pork and cheese.

lemon coconut bundt cakeWe’ve also made a bundt cake. I’m feeling so retro 🙂     It was the King Arthur Flour Co’s Lemon Bundt Cake with Coconut filling.   I’m about 90% sure that this coconut filling is what I’ve been looking for these past years. At one point, there was a chocolate bundt cake mix with coconut filling that my husband I both could remember liking a lot. I tried it a couple of times and I could never get the consistency and flavor right.  This *is* right.  It’s not too sweet and has a nice soft texture. So, next time I make a cake, it’ll be a chocolate version of this.  I would have never thought to use what amounts to a meringue inside a cake. The cake isn’t quite perfect since it’s pretty much inevitable that part of the top will stick and have to be scraped off the pan. But glaze can cover a lot of baking sins. I used about half of the “glaze” in the recipe to moisten the hot cake and added confectioner’s sugar to the rest to make the white glaze. The filling is also not centered but again, that is pretty much up to utter luck where it ends up.

That’s it for today. Eat well!