Sunday, 12 June 2011

Dan, Dan, he's our man!

Dan Lepard is probably not as well known outside the UK as he should be, but I think most people who take an interest in baking bread come across him eventually.

I have become increasingly aware that he is my go-to guy for bread and cake recipes, and his forum is great for getting help when things go wrong (like thinking I killed my sourdough). Very accessible, very detailed, very good results.

His cornmeal muffins made a brilliant eggs benedict. I followed the recipe absolutely as written (I know, so unusual!) and found the technique of starting them in a pan and finishing them in the oven gave a very professional result. As you'd expect from these recipes really.

The more interesting thing about that brunch, to my mind, was that it is the first time I have split a hollandaise and had to rescue it. Very gratifyingly, the classic technique of starting with a fresh yolk and adding the split sauce little by little worked really well. It would have been a crying shame to have an imperfect sauce on those perfect muffins!

I actually poached the eggs as well, but for some reason I couldn't get the white to veil the yolk, and I ended up with eggs that looked fried but had the tender, melting texture of poached eggs.

With the baked upside-down cheesecake, I went a bit off-piste. I used cumquats instead of rhubarb for the base layer (because I'd had them in my veg box). Jude had had reservations about eating it warm, and I decided to take her advice and let it cool before serving. I thought it was brilliant that way - the sweetly acid cumquats, creamy cheese and slighty crunchy ginger biscuit layer worked brilliantly together. Maybe I would have loved the recipe as written, but I really, really loved my variation!

In Sydney I used to buy a gorgeous bread that had cloves of caramelised garlic kneaded into it. Best thing in the world with a runny cheese. I was delighted to find this recipe for something that sounded identical.

Unfortunately I got slightly lazy with this one and missed out one of the folding and turning steps - only later realising that they were all in there for a very good reason. So my garlic was not as perfectly distributed through the bread as it should have been. Beautiful flavour and perfectly textured crumb though!

I've had the recipe for halva flapjacks bookmarked for almost a year, waiting for a good moment and an open jar of tahini. I used apricots as my dried fruit, because I felt the condensed milk and sugar needed a little more zing to balance. I used the whole quantity of oats called for, and I actually think I should have added a bit more. And probably baked them a bit longer. The flavour was wonderful, but they were a bit gooier than I like. I think baking them a bit longer would have given me the chewier texture I prefer.

I thought last year I had found the perfect burger bun recipe (sorry about the music on the link), but when I saw this recipe for poppy seed & onion burger buns, I decided that I had to give them a go.

Turned out I didn't actually have any poppy seeds, so I topped these with sesame and nigella seeds.

My burgers were made from 450g buffalo mince, the grated marrow from a 5" chunk of marrowbone and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Most of the marrow renders out in the cooking, but it leaves the lean buffalo beautifully moist and succulent, with a fairly open texture.

So I think I have a new preferred burger bun. They were really excellent.

28 comments:

C said...

I'm totally with you in that sentiment! Almost everything I make is successful (and when it isn't I'm often the one to blame) and even if they aren't perfect, the recipes taste so good and are so interesting in terms of technique that it doesn't matter. I always feel I've learnt something when I make one of Dan's recipes! Yours all look delicious - I've been doing a lot of Dan-baking recently too!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Love that spread! I want to try everything.

Foodycat said...

C - That's the thing isn't it - I always feel like I have learned something and become a better baker.

Leafy - you should definitely have a go at some of his recipes.

Rachel said...

I'll have to investigate this Dan fellow. All of your baked offerings look splendid!

Jude said...

Reservations is an understatement!

Foodycat said...

Rachel - he has done some gluten free stuff that your Dan might like.

Jude - I was trying to be polite.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

I don't know which looks better, that cheesecake (love the kumquat idea, such an underutilized little fruit!) or the garlic bread. I think I'll have to make everything because it all looks SO good! c

Angie's Recipes said...

Gosh, you are making me droooooooooooool!
Dan Lepard is my favourite baker. I have baked many of his recipes from "Fresh Handmade Loaf". Just great!

azélia said...

Great baking! Well done rescuing the sauce! Interesting to read about the garlic loaf...right now I would use fresh garlic that's available..I'm always thinking how best to use something that only comes around once a year.

Su-Lin said...

From the title, I thought you were going to write about dan dan mien at first! But yes, love Dan Lepard's recipes!

Simona said...

Since reviewing The Handmade Loaf for The Daring Kitchen, I have been a devotee of Lepard's recipes. I have made some of them over and over again. I want to try to cornmeal muffins next: they look irresistible.

Adrian (Food Rehab) said...

Great tip regarding the use of cumquats- I like the sounds of a base that is quite tart.

wildtomato said...

Your spread looks so good! I'll have to incorporate roasted garlic into some of my bread soon - such a good idea.

Foodycat said...

Andrea - the garlic bread really is magic.

Angie - I usually cook from his column in the Guardian, but I may have to buy a book.

Azelia - I had some of the wet garlic the other week, just baked and squidged onto steak. I don't know that it would hold its shape properly of baking.

Su-Lin - dan dan mien is a great idea!

Simona - you will LOVE the muffins!

Adrian - the rhubarb in the original recipe provides the same sort of contrast, but I am such a sucker for citrus.

Wild tomato - caramelising the garlic in balsamic adds so much luscious flavour!

ladyleftfieldlover said...

The strangest Dan Lepard cake I have made so far is his chocolate/stout/oats/sultana cake. It is truly delicious.

Ladyleftfieldlover

highplainsdrifters said...

eggs benedict on homemade cornmeal muffins ... i might have died and gone to heaven. cheers!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Foodiecat, the tomato sauce I used in my kapoma is plain unseasoned tomato sauce in a tin. Thank you for checking out my blog and for your comments! Happy blogging!

Foodycat said...

Ladyleftfieldlover - I will have to try that one, thank you for the recommendation!

HPD - yeah, a good benedict is pretty much my favourite brunch ever. Such a fiddle to make your own though.

Andrea - thanks!

James Brewer - Back to the Chopping Board said...

The caramalised garlic bread and the burger buns both sound immense!

Suelle said...

Another fan of Dan's recipes here, although I haven't got the right mind-set for bread baking. I must try that cheesecake recipe! LOL!

The most unusual cake I've baked is the liqourice one!

A lovely set of successful recipes, Foodycat - it all looks so good!

Foodycat said...

James - the onion in the burger buns was wonderful.

Suelle - licorice, bleurgh! I find baking bread quite relaxing. And I love having a freezer stocked with dough, ready to shape and bake.

Foodjunkie said...

What a great site he has! Thank you for introducing him to us. I have bookmarked the muffins to make soon, as I think eggs benedict is probably one of my favourite dishes of all time. In order to get the white over the yolk you have to first swirl the water and break the egg in the swirl.

Choclette said...

For some reason this wouldn't let me leave a comment yesterday so have rather lost my thread. But Dan is a great man indeed and we all love him dearly. I'm particularly intrigued by the halva flapjacks and the garlic bread, although everything looks delicious.

kat said...

Oh I love a good garlic bread with a runny cheese, heaven

Foodycat said...

Jo - I tried swirling the water!

Choclette - blogger has been a bit painful recently.

Kat - mmm garlic and cheese!

~~louise~~ said...

We're playing the Picnic Game, Foodycat! Won't you come "play?"

Choclette said...

I made those halva flapjacks and although very sweet, I thought they were wonderful. I'm just writing up the post now and hope to publish it tomorrow. Another thumbs of to Dan I reckon.

Foodycat said...

Choclette - the halva flapjacks are wonderful, I look forward to seeing your post!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...